Managing Chase Lake NWR presents some unique challenges. All but 230 acres of the 4,385 acres are designated as wilderness area, which prevents the use of motorized vehicles and mandates the areas natural beauty and integrity be preserved.
Prescribed fire and biological weed control are the only habitat management tools used on the Refuge. Leafy spurge flea beetles are used to control small leafy spurge infestations inside the wilderness area. Prescribed burning is used to manage the mixed-grass prairie and tame grass fields.
Pelican Banding Program
Banding juvenile pelicans started in 1928 and has continued intermittently to present. Between 1944-1968 young were banded each year. Approximately 2,500 pelicans have been banded each year since 1993. Pelicans are banded to learn more about migrating and wintering patterns. Most of the pelicans that nest at Chase Lake NWR winter along the gulf coast.
American White Pelican Surveys
Each year between May and June, Refuge personnel fly over the Refuge to estimate the number of pelicans nesting on the Refuge. Biologists use aerial photos to count the number of nests and to estimate the breeding population.
History of Pelican population at Chase Lake NWR
|1908||50 pelicans using the Refuge|
|1917||175 adults and 140 nests|
|1932||2000 -3000 pelicans nesting on the Refuge|
|1945||45 adults and 25 young|
|1963||8,000 nesting adults|
|1972||See the American White Pelican Surveys for data since 1972.|
Pelicans, cormorants, and gulls nesting at Chase Lake