The Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation recently funded a $2.0 million dollar study to evaluate the impacts of diseases and parasites on this area's struggling quail population. Research scientists from Texas Tech's Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute were recruited to tackle specific research topics ranging from viruses to parasites. Eight different research projects are being conducted as part of the research effort, dubbed "Operation Idiopathic Decline." Last summer quail were collected from a total of 21 ranches across west Texas and 10 Wildlife Management Areas in western Oklahoma (in conjunction with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation). "Our initial research started in 2009 and we noted high infection rates of eyeworms and cecal worms here on the RPQRR, a 4,700-acre site just west of Roby, but we didn't know at the time how extensive the problem was. Now it appears that the problem extends across the Rolling Plains, at least," Rollins continued.