While the Southeast Idaho Fire Management Officer (FMO) and Refuge Wildlife Biologist were monitoring this post-burn site at Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area (WPA), they sighted trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, mallards, and pintail ducks. Oxford Slough WPA is located on the edge of Oxford in southeast Idaho. It was originally purchased to protect redhead duck nesting habitat, and is the only waterfall production area in the Serviceâs Pacific Region. The area is largely hardstem bulrush marsh, interspersed with open water and surrounded by areas of playa, saltgrass flats, native wet meadow, and some cropland. The Fire Management Officer had conducted a 700-acre prescribed burn at this site last fall to restore marsh habitat, and was happy to see so much wildlife on the monitoring visit post-burn. Prescribed fire is used periodically in the more densely vegetated areas of the marsh. It creates open water ponds in the marsh after re-flooding and recycles nutrients that increase plant growth, resulting in improved habitat and markedly increased use by waterfowl. This is the first time trumpeter swans have been sighted on the WPA. Photo credit: USFWS, Ty Matthews.
April 13, 2014
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