Confederated Salish and Kootenai wildlife biologists construct a nest for trumpeter swans at Crow WPA.  NBR photo

The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources. Partnerships with the Refuge System bring innovative approaches to solving land management and water disputes in the most environmentally protective manner. Scientifically-informed and technologically-based stewardship of our public lands, waters, wildlife and special places must be collaborative efforts between the Refuge System, other government agencies, and private organizations if conservation efforts are to succeed.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service works with neighboring land managers, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP) and private land owners to manage the Lake County Units of the Northwest Montana Wildlife Management District as part of a larger wetland and upland vegetation community.  This provides for unsurpassed habitat for fish, wildlife and birds over a much larger area than the Service could manage on its own.  This also provides large contiguous area for hunting, birding and other wildlife dependent recreation.  The public should watch property boundaries so they are aware of where they are at all times.    

CKST manages for wildlife, using farming, grazing, water regimes, and burns to better manage stagnant and overgrown grasses.  The Tribes and the Service cooperated on a spring burn at Kickinghorse Reservoir, covering both “sides of the fence” to better maintain habitat for wildlife.  

Photos BelowLeft photo – Staff with a drip torch starts a prescribed burn along a fence in the Kickinghorse area; Right photo – shows same area after a week’s worth of growth with small bright green grass showing through the blackened vegetation. Photos by Dave Fitzpatrick, Volunteer, NBRC/USFWS

Kickinghorse burn.512x219 IN Partnership

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes successfully introduced Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinators) into the Mission Valley in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and other entities. Nineteen swans were released at Pablo National Wildlife Refuge in 1996 and the swans have are now established in the valley and breed yearly, including pairs at Duck Haven (which can be seen from Highway 93) and Crow WPAs.  Read about the details of the early success at this link.   

Ducks Unlimited provide funds to help maintain wetlands, such as paying for fuel to pump water into potholes when water is available from irrigation.  Pheasants Forever has worked to eradicate weeds and improve habitat conditions by buying seed.