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Madison Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction
Development, Improvements, and Enhancements - 05/07/2012

The enclosed Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared for the proposed reintroduction of trumpeter swans to the Madison Valley of southwest Montana for a 5-year period (2012-2016). This proposed project has as its primary objective the re-establishment of breeding trumpeters in this portion of their historic range. With the U.S. portion of the Rocky Mountain Population of trumpeters in continual decline, state conservation agencies in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho are increasing efforts to restore these birds to a sustainable level. This proposed restoration would allow FWP to implement the Pacific Flyway Council’s Rocky Mountain Population Trumpeter Swan Implementation Plan (TSIP) that includes a goal to increase the number of breeding pairs of trumpeter swans in suitable habitats. Releases of trumpeters in the middle Madison are expected to result in more trumpeters pioneering wetlands throughout the Madison Valley where suitable nesting areas are available. Ultimately, these releases are expected to result in establishment of a small breeding flock in the Madison Valley. The proposed initial release site is the O’Dell Creek Headwaters wetlands south of Ennis, Madison County, Montana, between Quake and Ennis Lakes. O’Dell Creek Headwaters is an 8,000-acre area with extensive wetlands, spring creeks, streams, and riparian areas on the east side of the Madison River. The proposed release site is currently under perpetual protection by a FWP conservation easement. The O’Dell Creek Headwaters has undergone habitat suitability evaluations by MT Natural Heritage Program ecologists as well as biologists from the University of Montana Avian Science Center for six years. Results of these surveys show large increases in breeding waterfowl in the O’Dell Creek Headwaters since restoration began. In addition, the growth of aquatic vegetation to support breeding swans has been determined to be adequate to support the proposed releases beginning in 2012. The first release of trumpeters would occur in September 2012. FWP would obtain trumpeter swans for release from the Wyoming Wetlands Society facility in Jackson, Wyoming. The reintroduction of captive-reared trumpeter swans into suitable nesting areas is a proven management tool in use in other parts of Montana and neighboring states. Releases would continue until 5 breeding pairs are established in the Madison or until monitoring of the program indicates that the project should be discontinued. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks invites you to comment on the attached proposal. The public comment period will be accepted until 5:00 p.m., May 21, 2012. Comments should be sent to the following:

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Contact Information

Claire Gower FWP Native Species Biologist, Region 3 1400 South 19th Ave, Bozeman, MT, 59718 Or e-mail to cgower@mt.gov