Lead Surveys and Low Water Levels in Entrance Road Impoundment at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
A lethargic tundra swan sitting on the side of a refuge road in February 2023, possibly due to lead poisoning.

In December 2023, Mattamuskeet NWR conducted surveys for lead in the Entrance Road impoundment. As of early January 2024, lead surveys have been completed and the Entrance Rd. impoundment (MI-4) has been capturing rain water for a few weeks now. The impoundment has excellent habitat over two-thirds of the unit and is attracting large numbers of waterfowl, offering excellent viewing opportunities. Lead survey results are still being analyzed. So far, no swans appear to be negatively impacted this season. We will continue to monitor them. 

Last winter, we experienced a large swan mortality event in this impoundment. All swans submitted to the lab were positive for lead poisoning. The results of the lead surveys will help inform future management decisions to reduce additional impacts to swans. As the water levels rise, we will be monitoring the area for possible reoccurrence and will take steps to dewater the unit if we see higher than normal mortality occurring.