Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Masked Bobwhite Quail Habitat Enhancement Project
Southwest Region, April 21, 2006
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Aerating masked bobwhite brush pile site
Aerating masked bobwhite brush pile site - Photo Credit: n/a
Creating quail brush piles
Creating quail brush piles - Photo Credit: n/a
Motte site with aeration
Motte site with aeration - Photo Credit: n/a

Thirty-one acres of habitat enhancement work was completed within the core Masked Bobwhite Quail (MBW) area of Buenos Aires NWR.  Using recently developed vegetation GIS data and GPS MBW location data, key areas within the core MBW area were identified for implementation of a habitat enhancement project.  Habitat treatments accomplished included the development of 3-50 foot diameter modified brush piles called mottes, 3-40 foot diameter standard brush piles, 5 linear miles of soil aeration using a Lawson pasture aerator implement pulled with a bulldozer, 3 linear miles of tractor discing/road grader treatments, development of 6 mini-water entrapments called divots, use of chain saws and a bobcat equipped with tree sheers to remove 3 acres of mesquite, and herbicide treatment on mesquite.  The brush piles and 12 acres of pasture aerator work were strategically located to supplement a prime MBW winter food habitat area consisting of mimosa shrubs.  Other treatment areas were located to supplement breeding habitat conditions in proximity to known locations of MBW.  Total acreage of all treatments combined included 3 acres mottes, 1 acre of brush piles, 24 acres of soil aeration, 3 acres of discing/grader work. 


The road grader was deployed to create fire breaks along two drainages within the Hippy burn unit which is scheduled to burn this May.  This resulted in the delineation of smaller sub-burn units call bobwhite management areas (BMA) which are geographically defined based on MBW habitat criteria.   Prescribe fire will be applied to the BMA’s separately based on specific benefits to MBW and existing burn conditions.


The Refuge recently purchased $2500 of native plant seeds to re-seed and supplement vegetation beneficial to MBW within the project area.  The seeds will be applied in June of this year prior to the monsoons to maximize the establishment of native plants.


This project took place over a two week period and involved multiple program areas of Refuge staff including the Biology, Maintenance, Fire Program, Assistant Manager and others.  Several pieces of equipment and a certified pesticide applicator from other Refuges were provided to support this project.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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