Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The purposes of the refuge are:
- To act as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife
- For use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds
- To carry out the national migratory bird management program.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began purchasing the 10,795 acres in 1937. Following purchase of the land, the Civilian Conservation Corps began work on the refuge, creating wetlands, constructing roads and buildings, and initiating the refuge farming program.
Since establishment of the refuge, the primary management emphasis has been on ducks and the eastern prairie population of Canada geese. Canada geese were first observed on the refuge in the early 1940s, and numbers increased gradually to peak populations of 150,000 to 200,000 annually during the early 1970s. Today, Canada geese are commonly seen on the refuge, but not in the large concentrations that they were in years past. Currently, the refuge is managed for migratory birds including waterfowl, geese and shorebirds. It also provides natural habitat for many neo-tropical migrating species of birds. Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is designated as an Important Birding Area for Missouri.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
The purpose of Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is to serve as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge also has the purpose of providing an inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds.
February 27, 1937 – The refuge was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife
1938 to 1942 – The Civilian Conservation Corps worked on levees to impound waters flowing into the refuge, leaving behind several thousand acres of freshwater marsh and open water
Other Facilities in this Complex
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Complex. Staff from throughout the complex provide assistance and share resources to accomplish refuge goals.