Online Staff Report
Illinois Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently hired three farm bill wildlife biologists (FBWB) in Illinois, bringing the total number of wildlife biologists in the state to five.
The biologist positions are a result of a partnership between Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with the intention of increasing wildlife and conservation awareness in “The Land of Lincoln.”
“Illinois is second only to Iowa in expiring CRP contracts over the next year,” said Aaron Kuehl, Pheasants Forever Illinois director of conservation partnerships. “The expanded farm bill biologist partnership will help provide the necessary wildlife expertise and conservation technical assistance to private landowners to protect and expand upland habitat.”
The farm bill biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those landowners after programs have been implemented. Farm bill biologists add wildlife technical assistance in USDA offices to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and other conservation partners with delivering conservation programs to landowners.
The five farm bill biologists in Illinois are Doug Gass, Bloomington area; Brandon Bleuer, Galesburg area; Brandon Beltz, Effingham area; Jason Bleich, Champaign area; and Brady Wooten, Wayne, Jefferson, Marion, Hamilton and White counties.
Farm bill wildlife biologists are employees of, and supervised by, PF with daily instruction and leadership provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Funding is provided by NRCS, the IDNR and local PF/QF chapters. The farm bill wildlife biologist program began in 2003 with four positions and has grown to more than 100 positions throughout the country.
Illinois is home to 43 Pheasants Forever chapters, 18 Quail Forever chapters and a combined 10,400 PF/QF members. For more about “The Habitat Organization” in Illinois, contact Aaron Kuehl at (217) 341-7171.
Posted June 26, 2013