Bobwhite Quail Initiative

The Board of Natural Resources worked with key members of Georgia's General Assembly and other supporters to develop and fund the Bobwhite Quail Initiative (BQI) in 1999. BQI is implemented by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) and is funded through the sale of vehicle license plates.

BQI is a voluntary program that provides private landowners with technical assistance and, on a competitive basis, financial incentives for habitat improvement. It is primarily directed at increasing the abundance of nesting and brood rearing habitat, factors most commonly limiting quail populations across Georgia's landscape. These practices will improve habitats for certain early successional songbird species that are in serious decline, and also reduce soil erosion and improve water quality. Other beneficial aspects may include economic enhancement to local communities from recreational opportunities associated with improved quail hunting and wildlife viewing.

BQI is being conducted in three focus areas comprised of 15 counties in central Georgia. Focus areas were chosen based on the following considerations:

  1. A prevalence of row crop agriculture.

  2. Soils conducive to quail habitat management.

  3. A distribution of counties that are logistically serviceable and accurately represent Georgia's farm landscape.

Within the focus areas, WRD biologists provide BQI cooperators with detailed technical assistance on quail management. Qualifying cooperators may receive incentive payments for the establishment and maintenance of certain types of early successional habitat.

The process for cooperator participation in BQI is similar to that for federal Farm Bill programs. The sign-ups are announced and habitat plans are competitively ranked for funding. Cooperators conducting multiple habitat practices receive higher scores and increased chances for funding. It is important to note that upon request, habitat management plans are provided to all cooperators, regardless of their participation in the BQI incentives portion of the program. To be eligible for BQI incentive payments, the potential cooperator's property must be in one of the focus counties, must be at least 50 contiguous acres, must include commercial row crop agriculture or must be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program Longleaf Pine Conservation Priority Area. For additional assistance/information on managing for bobwhite quail refer to the sections on CRP CP33 Habitat Buffers For Upland Birds.  Also check out the CP33 brochure

Commercial shooting preserves are not eligible for incentives. Incentives will not be paid for previously established habitat.

Research and monitoring are other important BQI components. Monitoring has shown that bobwhite occurrence and use by certain songbirds is higher on BQI treatment farms than on control farms. Additionally, research by the University of Georgia, Warnell School of Forest Resources found that bobwhites preferred, and benefited from, BQI habitats. In addition to private landowners, a number of conservation organizations work cooperatively with WRD to promote and implement BQI, including: the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Georgia Forestry Commission, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, Quail Unlimited and others. Success of BQI may ultimately lead to restoration of the bobwhite quail, Georgia's state game bird.

Eligibility for Incentive Payments

The Bobwhite Quail Initiative (BQI) is a voluntary and experimental program to restore quality early successional habitat for bobwhite quail, songbirds and other farm wildlife, improve water quality, and reduce soil erosion. BQI counties include: Bleckley, Bulloch, Burke, Colquitt, Crisp, Dodge, Dougherty, Emanuel, Jenkins, Laurens, Lee, Mitchell, Terrell, Screven and Sumter.

Technical assistance is available to everyone, including landowners outside of the focus areas.

Eligibility for BQI Incentive Payments
  • Properties must be located in one of the 15 BQI counties

  • Minimum property size for enrollment is 50 contiguous acres

  • Properties must include commercial row crop agriculture or be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program Longleaf Pine Conservation Priority Area (CPA)

  • Commercial shooting preserves are not eligible for incentive payments

  • Sites predominated by exotic grasses are not eligible for enrollment until the grasses have been substantially controlled

  • Incentive payments will not be provided for previously established habitat


To enroll in the BQI you must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Sign-up is continuous, although ranking and enrollment will be based on the funding cycle

  • Proof of ownership (or owner agreement) is required prior to time of property enrollment

  • Scoring, ranking and enrollment will be for individual crop fields, CPA tracts and adjacent forest stands > 10 acres

  • Contracts will be issued per cooperator(s) for all lands enrolled in a given focus area

  • Annual habitat and compliance evaluations will be conducted by WRD biologists

  • During each enrollment period, WRD biologists will evaluate applications, contact cooperators, assist with developing plans and score proposals

  • Scored proposals will be forwarded to the BQI headquarters office where funding will be approved based on competitive ranking by focus area

  • A minimum score is required for enrollment into the program

  • Proposals which are not funded, but which score above the minimum, will be automatically rolled into the next funding cycle and will be ranked competitively with new applications

BQI applications are available from: the Wildlife Resources Division, Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Georgia Forestry Commission, or Farm Service Agency regional offices. You can also download a BQI application here(requires Adobe Acrobat).


Southwest Office:

Wildlife Resources Division
Bobwhite Quail Initiative
Albany Nursery WMA
601 Tallahassee Road
Albany, GA 31727

East Office:

Wildlife Resources Division
Bobwhite Quail Initiative
Di-Lane WMA
4854 Box D Herndon Road
Waynesboro, GA 30830


Central Office:

Wildlife Resources Division
Bobwhite Quail Initiative
River Bend WMA
1945 Hwy. 199 South
East Dublin, GA 31027

Contact Bobwhite Quail Initiative

Wildlife Resources Division
116 Rum Creek Drive
Bobwhite Quail Initiative
Forsyth, Georgia  31029
Phone: 478/994-7583


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Georgia