Columbus, OH (March 30, 2006)– Quail Unlimited recently received the prestigious Conservation Partner Award at the 71st North American Wildlife Natural Resources Conference in Columbus, Ohio. This joint US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management award honors an organization for their outstanding leadership in the development and implementation of conservation programs and activities that directly benefit fish, wildlife and/or native plants on public lands.
In his opening remarks, Dwight Fielder, BLM Division Chief: Fish, Wildlife and Rare Plants stated that Quail Unlimited and the USFS and BLM had been partners since 1988. Hundreds of mutually beneficial habitat improvement projects have been accomplished affecting tens of thousands of acres. From 1993 to 2005 alone, over 501 projects have been implemented. For each federal dollar spent, Quail Unlimited matched that dollar with $2.50, mostly from their chapters and members.
Although the primary goal of Quail Unlimited is to improve habitat for wild quail, the organization extended its goal to include habitat enhancement for many upland game bird species. Several species that are Federal candidates for listing as threatened or endangered have benefited through this partnership, including Gunnison sage-grouse and lesser prairie chicken. Moreover, the success of Quail Unlimited is demonstrated by its mountain quail restoration that resulted in the withdrawal of a petition to federally list the species as threatened with extinction.
At the heart of Quail Unlimited programs are its local chapters. Since its inception in 1981, local chapters of Quail Unlimited have strived to make QU known as “America’s Leader in Quail Conservation”. Quail Unlimited has a positive impact at all levels, from local to national, with its habitat projects. Local chapters also host conservation field days to demonstrate conservation practices and workshops to introduce participants to game bird management in their local area. Quail Unlimited has several exceptional youth and volunteer programs aimed at engaging young people and local citizens in quail conservation work.
Fielder concluded his remarks by stating that “the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management were extremely proud to recognize Quail Unlimited for their long-term dedication to conservation.”
The award was presented by Sally Collins, US Forest Service Associate Chief; Kathleen Clarke, Director of the Bureau of Land Management; and Gale Norton, Secretary, US Department of the Interior.