The Successful Restoration of Trumpeter Swans on the Flathead Indian Reservation- Dale Becker
In an effort to restore extirpated native wildlife to the Flathead Indian Reservation (FIR) and aboriginal lands in western Montana, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) commenced reintroduction and restoration efforts for Trumpeter Swans in 1996 with a trial reintroduction. Since then, 268 captive propagated Trumpeter Swans were released on the FIR from 2002 through 2017. By 2004, breeding pairs had formed and the first production of wild cygnets in possibly 100 years or more fledged from local wetlands. During the intervening years, approximately 143 nesting pairs have produced at least 343 fledgling cygnets.
Swans from this project have colonized into wetland habitats throughout northwestern Montana and may soon do the same in southeastern British Columbia. The primary cause of mortality of released swans has been power line collisions. Currently lines are regularly marked with flight diverter installations to minimize potential future collisions. This apparent success story will be monitored for years but an analysis of a recent study of the project indicates that the likelihood of the population persisting was high (approximately 95 - 96%) over both the short-term (30 years) and the long-term (100 years).
Dale Becker has been employed since 1989 as the Wildlife Program Manager for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation in western Montana. He is responsible for program oversight and administration, policy development, environmental impact analysis, personnel supervision and development and overall wildlife program management. He is responsible for the development of the Tribes’ Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Project. Dale has long been involved in conservation organizations including Audubon. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana and has worked as a Wildlife Biologist on wildlife and habitat inventory and research projects for the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Montana, and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and as a private consultant.
To learn the history of and detailed description of strategies and techniques employed to implement this reintroduction project from Dale Becker, JOIN BITTERROOT AUDUBON MONDAY, JANUARY 15TH, 7:00 P.M. AT THE FOREST SERVICE/NATURAL RESOURCES BUILDING, 1801 NORTH 1ST (north end of
Hamilton, west side of HWY 93) Enter the building on the west side. The Public is invited. Contact Kay Fulton for additional information (360-8664).