Migratory Bird Habitat at Reed’s Slough Conserved
Important migratory bird habitat southeast of Kalispell is now protected with a conservation easement held by Flathead Land Trust. The conservation easement protects over 36 acres owned by Bob Danford including 15 acres of Reed’s Slough and rich farmland adjacent to the slough; the other half of Reed’s Slough is already protected by a conservation easement. The property is also adjacent to 1,300 acres of private land with conservation easements protecting rich farmland and migratory bird habitat containing Wiley Slough, a 200-acre wetland. It is used by 111 species of birds and thousands of migrating waterfowl including tundra swans, snow geese, northern pintail, mallard, and American wigeon. A tagged snow goose that migrated from Wrangel Island, Russia, was observed on the Danford property last spring – it had migrated 2,562 miles to get there.
The conservation easement on the Danford property keeps the land in private ownership managed by the landowner but limits residential subdivision and commercial uses of the property and ensures the rich farmland and migratory bird habitat are protected in perpetuity. The landowner received funding for keeping the land intact in the future with a conservation easement. Most of this funding was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service North American Wetland Conservation Act, a program that protects migratory bird habitat and wetlands to ensure sustainable populations of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species in North America. Other funding for the project was received from the Cinnabar Foundation, Flathead River to Lake Initiative, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Mitigation Program, Flathead Audubon, and Flathead Wildlife.