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A sandhill crane in flight.

Conservation > Habitat Migratory Bird Wetland Program

The Migratory Bird Wetland Program is dedicated to conserving wetlands and associated uplands to benefit Montana’s wildlife, especially migratory birds, and enhance hunting and other compatible recreational opportunities. 

Wetlands are a declining resource in Montana; approximately one third of our original wetlands have been lost, primarily to draining and filling. Wetlands provide critical ecosystem functions important for our communities, producers, recreationists, and our wildlife, including water purification, flood control, and groundwater recharge. They provide critical foraging, brood-rearing, and migration habitat for waterfowl and many other wetland-associated wildlife. Associated uplands provide important nesting habitat for waterfowl and contribute to the water quality and function of wetlands.

2024 Montana Migratory Bird Stamp Art Contest

FWP, along with the help of landowners and other conservation partners, is putting a renewed emphasis on wetlands habitat. To highlight the importance of wetland conservation Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is re-launching the Migratory Bird Stamp.  

The complimentary new Migratory Bird Stamp will help raise additional awareness and appreciation for wetlands and the migratory bird species that directly benefit from them. The stamp also signifies a renewed emphasis and focus by FWP on wetland habitat. Promoting the new Migratory Bird Stamp will provide ongoing opportunities to highlight the importance of wetlands to wildlife and working lands.  

The Montana Migratory Bird Stamp will kick off with a contest to select a piece of art to display for the 2024 stamp. 

Program Accomplishments

The Migratory Bird Wetland Program has been conserving Montana’s wetlands since 1985. Program accomplishments between 1985 and 2013 include:

  • Restoration, enhancement, or creation of 633 wetlands (5,162 acres)

  • Management actions to enhance wetland-associated grasslands on 9,807 acres

  • Permanent protection of 3,700 acres of previously unprotected wetlands and associated grasslands

  • Map of Wetlands Project Locations (PDF)

Advisory Council

The Wetlands Protection Advisory Council was established in 1985 through MCA 2-15-3405. The Council is responsible for reviewing and advising FWP on funding proposals for the Montana Migratory Game Bird Hunting License Program. These funds are earmarked for the protection, conservation, and development of wetlands in Montana. Members must include representatives of Montana migratory game bird hunters, nonconsumptive users of wildlife, and the agricultural industry. Council members will also be involved with establishing and periodically updating a plan for implementing the program.


Heather Harris, FWP Grassland/Wetland Coordinator

About the Program


The Migratory Bird Stamp Act, enacted by the Montana Legislature in 1985, authorizes the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to use funds from migratory bird hunting licenses “…for the protection, conservation, and development of wetlands in Montana.” A citizen-based Wetland Protection Advisory Council provides program oversight.