Past Wildlife Commission Efforts

Through time, the NCWRC has initiated numerous projects designed to reverse declining populations of species such as quail and rabbits.  The first began in 1948 and was called the Cooperative Farm Game Habitat Development Project.

Recent efforts include:

               
  • Providing free technical advice to private landowners
  • Demonstration farms
  • Free seed distribution for wildlife plantings (no longer available)
  • Cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies
  • Farm-based research on brood habitat, pesticides, and predator removal

All of these efforts have produced important information, and some have produced success.  Overall, these efforts were too limited to make any improvement in wildlife populations across large landscapes.  It is important to understand that the vast majority of wildlife experts agree we are dealing with a landscape-level problem of deteriorating habitats over the last several decades.

The forces impacting small game and other wildlife are related to land management over the entire state, closely tied to the economics of farming and forestry, and very hard to change.

These forces include:

              
  • An increasing human population and associated encroachment on habitat
  • Loss of early-successional habitat to development
  • Changing farming practices resulting in “cleaner” farms without the brushy and weedy edges many wildlife require
  • Changing composition of pasture and hay lands in favor of fescue and other sod-forming grasses over native grasses and plants
  • Loss of brushy and weedy habitats to forest encroachment
  • Changing forestry practices including: heavier planting rates which result in too much shade for beneficial groundcover to develop, lack of prescribed fire, and use of chemicals to control wildlife-friendly vegetation that competes with trees

Quality Early-Successional Habitat: the brushy, grassy, weedy stage of plant growth.