Conservation Reserve Program Benefits Wild Fowl

USDA announces studies crediting CRP for increasing northern bobwhite quail and sage grouse populations.

Published on: Nov 15, 2006

USDA officials announced two studies Tuesday which explain that conservation practices, including the Conservation Reserve Program, are benefiting populations of northern bobwhite quail throughout its range and sage grouse in eastern Washington.

USDA Farm Service Agency deputy administrator says USDA will use these findings to help establish conservation goals and measure our progress towards meeting these goals."

Mississippi State University researchers studied bobwhites in 2005 and 2006, finding that populations generally increased in CRP areas. In Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, they found almost a 3% increase in quail numbers.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found that sage grouse populations in the eastern part of the state grew 12% from 1992 to 2006, after a 25% decline between 1970 and 1988. Grouse numbers in areas not aided by CRP continued to decline, researchers found, while populations increased as covers matured on CRP acres.