Resource Management

River Otters at Swan Lake

Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed for a diversity of wildlife species, with an emphasis on migratory birds.


The most intensive management takes place on refuge wetlands. The wetlands are disturbed every 3-5 years to maintain an early successional stage, which allows annual plants to dominate. This management scheme creates more seed-producing vegetation, which provides high-energy food for migrating birds.

Refuge grasslands are managed by mowing and using prescribed fire to prevent the encroachment of trees and brush. These management activities allow for more vibrant native grasslands.

The refuge also has a very active visitor services program, which requires management of visitor use facilities and planning visitor programs.

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information.