Teton Regional Land Trust is excited to announce that the Community Foundation of Teton Valley, Teton Springs Foundation and the Silver Star Communications’ Caring for Community grant program have all partnered on our project to establish and protect nesting Trumpeter Swans project in Teton Valley. They join other project partners that include Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Intermountain Aquatics, Wyoming Wetlands Society, Trumpeter Swan Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as private landowners. The funding from local foundations will help kick off the project by supporting three specific project goals:
1) Establishing a nesting flock of trumpeter swans in Teton Valley
Teton Regional Land Trust, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Intermountain Aquatics recently completed a Trumpeter Swan Assessment that concluded that Teton Basin wetlands could support nesting trumpeter swans. The study identified specific locations that have permanent protection through conservation easements and willing landowners. This summer, project partners will release captive-raised young swans on the chosen wetland with a surrogate mother. Since the species are traditionalists, these swans will establish an affinity for that site and, once mature, will come back to nest each year. Since nesting swans have never been documented in Teton Valley, this is a great opportunity that adds security to the survival of the Rocky Mountain population.
2) Installing bird diverters to prevent trumpeter swan mortality
In winter, power line collisions are a major source of mortality for trumpeters. To improve survival of trumpeter swans, Teton Regional Land Trust and Fall River Electric will continue to coordinate on a project to add and/or replace bird diverters on power lines in areas frequented by wintering Trumpeter Swans. Bird diverters hang from power lines in areas that are frequented by large birds, making them more visible to birds in flight. Although bird diverters have been installed on several lines throughout Teton Basin, older models of diverters have a tendency to break off during high winds while new bird diverters are built to withstand the valley’s strong winds.
3) Providing educational opportunities about this iconic species.
Teton Regional Land Trust and partners will produce outreach materials, hold a presentation regarding the project, allow the public to assist with the introduction of young swans to their new wetlands, and provide monitoring opportunities for volunteers. Teton Regional Land Trust will purchase a field webcam that will let the public view the project remotely. The camera will assist with monitoring the young swans and foster mother from afar since disturbance of swans can increase the potential of stress-related death.
Community Foundation of Teton Valley and Teton Springs Foundation dollars will specifically fund the webcam while Silver Star Communications’ Caring for Community grant program will fund the bird diverters.
“All three supporters provided critical funds to match federal and state dollars and make this project happen,” said Bonnie Self, Operations Director, “We are extremely grateful to have such generous local businesses and foundations in Teton Valley. Their support to our nonprofit community has been instrumental in making our home a better place.”
The grants and contributions of these generous supporters have initiated one of the most exciting protection and restoration projects the Land Trust has ever undertaken. The project is estimated to take ten years and will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are grateful for this early support and we are excited to get more of the community involved as soon as possible.
Photo by Emily Nichols