Midwest Region


September 2, 2010

Steve Whitson: 660-856-3323
Refuge Manager

New Alternative Developed for Swan Lake NWR Comprehensive Conservation Plan, Comment Period Begins

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a new preferred alternative for future management of Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) as part of the comprehensive conservation plan, or CCP, being developed for the Refuge. A public review and comment period for the new alternative begins Sept. 2, 2010, and closes on Oct. 4.

Located near Sumner, Mo., Swan Lake NWR includes approximately 11,000 acres of bottomland forest, grasslands and wetlands, and includes Silver Lake, a 2,100-acre impoundment.
“Alternative 4 is a good faith effort to address the concerns we heard from area residents,” according to Steve Whitson, Refuge Manager. “We’re trying to balance the community’s interests with what we need to do to increase waterfowl habitat and be consistent with the mission and policies of the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Alternative 4 calls for increasing the amount of aquatic and wetland vegetation in Silver Lake and expanding its role to provide food for waterfowl in addition to the loafing habitat it currently provides. This would be done by seasonally varying water levels. No changes to Silver Lake would occur until the Refuge completes a more detailed habitat management plan, and the habitat management plan would incorporate the results of an ongoing study of wetlands, soils, and water movement within the Lower Grand River watershed. Alternative 4 specifies that management actions would occur in steps and be monitored to measure their success and to learn how to improve future actions.

Alternative 4 also includes retaining 400 acres of cropland. Converting cropland to native habitats provides food and cover for a greater variety of wildlife, including many that find little habitat beyond the Refuge. However, converting cropland takes time and is dependent on a number of factors, including staff and the availability of native seed.

An objective to increase habitat for the state-listed threatened eastern massasauga rattlesnake has been removed from Alternative 4.

The Service announced that a new alternative would be developed to address the community’s concerns shortly after the close of the comment period for the Draft CCP in July. The Service received approximately 500 comments on the Draft CCP both supporting and opposing the proposed plan.

A project update describing how Alternative 4 responds to the issues that drew the most comments has been mailed to individuals on the project mailing list and to local libraries, and it is available at the Refuge.
The project update and a more detailed description of Alternative 4 are available on-line at the Swan Lake NWR planning page:

Comments on Alternative 4 can be e-mailed to the Service at:
Comments can also be mailed to the Refuge at: Swan Lake NWR, 16194 Swan Lake Avenue, Sumner, MO, 64681.

Comprehensive conservation plans are 15-year plans for managing national wildlife refuges that provide continuity in refuge management and clearly communicate the desired future condition of the refuge to area residents and visitors. The CCP establishes refuge goals and identifies objectives and strategies for accomplishing those goals. As long-term plans, CCPs are typically implemented over the course of several years.


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Last updated: June 15, 2016