Resource Management

Grazing along Mortenson Lake

Grazing of local cattle is used as an important management tool to thin the thick stands of rush surrounding Mortenson Lake and improve habitat for the Wyoming toad population.

The Refuge System is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Service is the primary Federal entity responsible for conserving and enhancing the Nation’s fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the Service shares this responsibility with other Federal, State, tribal, local, and private entities, the Service has specific trust resource responsibilities for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, certain anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands, and other special aquatic habitats. The Service also has similar trust responsibilities for the lands and waters it administers to support the conservation and enhancement of all fish and wildlife and their associated habitats.

At Mortenson Lake NWR, management activities center on the recovery of the Wyoming toad and maintaining a healthy habitat for the species. It has been documented that the Wyoming toad needs open areas along the lake shoreline, and grazing has been the habitat tool used to open up the lake edge. Grazing is also used to promote habitat health on the rest of the Refuge. Water management activities include grassland irrigation and water level maintenance of the small wetlands on the eastern portion of the Refuge. Success of the captive breeding efforts at Mortenson Lake has fluctuated over the years. Captive toad releases into Mortenson Lake have occurred since 1995.