Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. - Residents from North and South Carolina's coastal plain have formed the newest chapter of Quail Forever (QF).

The new Coastal Carolina QF Chapter is led by business partners and Ocean Isle Beach residents Joe Liles and Jerry Blanchard. Chapter leaders plan to focus their efforts on improving habitat for bobwhite quail in North Carolina's Brunswick, New Hanover, and Columbus counties and South Carolina's Horry County.

"I've chased Carolina bobwhites since I was 15. I'm now 55 and I've watched the birds get scarcer and scarcer. I didn't feel enough was being done to help quail in this part of the Carolinas, so we decided to do our part by starting this chapter," explained Liles, the chapter's president and Hamlet native. Together, Liles and Blanchard own Sea Land, Properties, & Auctions, LLC.

The U.S.'s quail populations are in trouble. Bobwhite population losses over the past 25 years range from 60 to 90 percent across the country. The reason for the quail population plunge is simple - massive losses of habitat suitable for quail.

"This area is being developed fast, especially along the coast.
However, there are opportunities to create good quality habitat for quail within 30 miles of the Carolina coast," added Liles. "We hope to work with area landowners, farmers, and sportsmen to promote conservation programs available for improving private lands for quail."

The new chapter plans to focus their habitat efforts on land management practices. Of specific interest to the chapter are long leaf pine forest management practices and the benefits of prescribed burning. The chapter would also like to hold farmer/landowner forums to educate private property owners on their conservation options. One option of specific note is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CRP offers financial payments to participants who establish grass, shrub, and/or tree cover on environmentally sensitive lands. These CRP lands have been shown to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and create critical habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including bobwhite quail.

The Coastal Carolina QF Chapter plans to hold their next meeting on January 4th, at 7PM. It will be held at Jerome's Steak House in Shallotte. The public and media are invited to attend. To learn more about the meeting, please contact Liles at (910)616-1074 or via email at ccpllc@atmc.net . Or contact Jerry Blanchard at (910)579-9219 or via email at VJBlanchard@atmc.net . To learn more about starting a QF chapter in North or South Carolina, please contact Andy Edwards at (931)424-3211 or via email at aedwards@quailforever.org .

Pheasants Forever (PF) launched Quail Forever on August 10, 2005 to address the continuing loss of habitat suitable for quail and the subsequent quail population decline. Unlike all other national conservation organizations, QF and PF empower local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent. This local control allows members to see the fruits of their chapter efforts in their own communities, while belonging to a national organization with a voice on federal conservation policy in Washington D.C.