Iowa PF State Council kicks off campaign with $100,000 donation
Des Moines, Iowa – February 19, 2009 – Iowa Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) announce an ambitious new campaign to restore the state’s pheasant and quail populations. “Reload Iowa” adopts an aggressive strategy for establishing and improving 1 million acres of wildlife habitat, increasing the number of upland hunters and increasing hunting-related revenue to local communities.
In the early 1970s, Iowa hunters harvested 1.9 million pheasants and 1.1 million quail, which compares with an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 pheasants this past year and 54,000 quail last year. The decline is due to long-term changes in agricultural practices and most recently the loss of over 280,000 acres from the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Recent harsh winters and spring flooding have exacerbated the loss of habitat. “Reload Iowa” is a campaign outlining a three-year statewide plan to improve available wildlife habitat; establish new, high quality nesting cover and brood-rearing habitat; expand wildlife habitat delivery systems and offer increased habitat education and training for landowners. The goal of “Reload Iowa” is to raise $11.5 million to establish and improve 1 million acres of wildlife habitat on private and public land in the state. Not only will these habitat improvements benefit wildlife, they will provide additional benefits such as improving water quality, preventing soil erosion and sequestering carbon which is important in offsetting greenhouse gasses.
The $11.5 million will be raised by the organization’s 105 Iowa PF/QF chapters and through individual and corporate gifts. Approximately $8.5 million will be allocated to establishing 50 wildlife habitat specialist positions, and a $3 million landowner stewardship fund will provide incentives for landowners to establish nesting and brood-rearing habitat. The wildlife habitat specialists will complement the efforts of the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s 10 existing private land biologists.
“We want to make conservation easy and profitable for landowners,” said John Linquist, PF/QF Regional Representative in western Iowa, “We’ve found that many landowners are simply not aware of the conservation programs that are available. These wildlife habitat specialists will act as one-stop-shops for any landowner looking to improve their property for pheasant, quail and other wildlife.” To help put these specialists on the ground as soon as possible, the Iowa PF State Council has made a $100,000 commitment to the “Reload Iowa” campaign, and the first specialists are slated to being work in March.
By improving upland bird habitat and thus improving upland bird populations, the “Reload Iowa” campaign also looks to increase the number of upland bird hunters. Since the early 1970s, the number of Iowa pheasant hunters declined from about 300,000 per year to 100,000 this past fall. “Certainly, the more people we have hunting, the more people we’ll have who care about conserving wildlife and carrying on this grand tradition,” said Tom Fuller, PF/QF Regional Representative in Eastern Iowa, “But in these trying times, we cannot lose sight of the fact that upland hunting in Iowa has a $200 million annual impact on this state’s economy.” To get involved or learn more about “Reload Iowa,” please visit www.IowaPF.org <http://www.iowapf.org/> .
Since 1985, Iowa’s 103 Pheasants Forever and two Quail Forever chapters have raised and spent $33,439,806 on the organization’s wildlife habitat mission. Chapters have planted 500,495 acres of nesting cover, 219,845 acres of food plots, 10,380,955 shrubs and trees for winter cover, and improved 56,062 CRP acres. Additionally, Iowa PF has restored 17,494 acres of wetlands and contributed to 602 land acquisitions that permanently protect 73,694 acres of public wildlife habitat.
Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest – the nation’s largest event for upland hunters, landowners, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists – is coming to Des Moines, Iowa, February 26, 27 & 28 in 2010. The Fest combines a national consumer show, habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. For more information and updates on National Pheasant Fest 2010, log onto www.PheasantFest.org <http://www.pheasantfest.org/> .
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.