Eastern grassland birds such as Eastern Meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Northern Bobwhite, among others, are experiencing protracted, precipitous population declines due to loss of their grassland habitats. Reversing these declines in the Central Hardwoods will require creating habitat on privately-owned, working grasslands, the majority of which are used for beef cattle production. Across the Central Hardwoods, production grasslands are typically planted to tall fescue, which provides little to no wildlife value. Converting a portion of tall fescue pastureland to native warm-season grasses would benefit livestock producers and increase regional grassland bird habitat. Research has shown that native grasses are profitable cattle forages, and that proper grazing of native grasses provides suitable habitat structure for grassland birds. The CHJV is working with partners to take advantage of this rare win-win scenario for agriculture and wildlife by establishing more native grass pastures to benefit both livestock producers and grassland birds.
Beef, Grass, and Bobwhites – Quail Management in Eastern Native Warm-Season Grass Pastures
Regional Conservation Partnership Program:
Beginning in 2019, CHJV partners in Tennessee and Kentucky were granted a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The CHJV RCPP aims to restore native grasslands and biodiversity on private working lands to benefit Eastern Meadowlark, Henslow’s Sparrow, and Northern Bobwhite. Through the RCPP, landowners are provided with both technical and financial assistance to meet their native grassland goals. Projects range from re-establishing native grasses for livestock production to diverse plantings of native grasses and forbs to benefit both grassland birds and pollinators. The RCPP runs through fiscal year 2023. To participate, please contact our partner biologists, Brittney Viers [email protected], Jeremy French [email protected], or your local NRCS field office.