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Trumpeter Swans Thrive on NRCS Wetlands Projects

Single un-banded swan adopted Goose Pond Complex for the season in 2017. Photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

 

The largest waterfowl in North America, the Trumpeter Swan, is making a home in the Wind River Valley of Wyoming thanks to wetlands habitat made possible through NRCS’ Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), now part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.

In 2013, a starter flock of 5 cygnet (young) swans were introduced on Alkali Lake WRP project located on the Wind River Reservation (WRR) and since that time have now spread to other adjacent wetland projects at WRR. 

  • The Ray Lake East and Blue Sky Highway WRPs were completed in 2000 and 2012 respectively. The contract was with two private landowners, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes, along with the Partners for Wildlife Program through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Prior to restoration, three separate wetlands totaling 50 acres were drained leaving behind significant amounts of alkaline at the surface. The goal of the projects was to restore the land to create fertile shallow wetlands for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

From the original swan release in 2013, a pair was formed setting up a home territory on existing and WRP restored wetlands in the area. The pair, one banded (F37) and un-banded mate are regularly reported since the big white birds have become very visible frequenting wetlands close to roads and farm places.  

Goose Pond Complex is a series of restored drained wetland and dedicated as a tribal wildlife area. After the three projects were completed in 2001 and 2010 totaling 120 acres, it soon became an important waterfowl area on the Reservation.

Known for its number and variety of waterfowl utilizing these wetlands, in 2017 two single swans exploring the area began making the complex home. The USFWS, Tribes and Wyoming Wetland Society are planning to reintroduce additional swans in this wetland complex in the near future.

Goose Pond was a WRP project made possible with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribes, the Partners for Wildlife Program through the USFWS, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Single un-banded swan adopted Goose Pond Complex for the season in 2017.