Necedah, Hello White River Marsh
the ultralight-led chicks is moving! Wisconsin's White
River Marsh State Wildlife Area
(WRMSWA) will be the
be the first whoopers to live, train, and return each spring to White
River Marsh SWA instead of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
is the new release site from the old one?
at Necedah NWR has not been as successful as everyone hoped. The cranes
are doing all the right things, but Black flies during nesting season have
tormented many cranes off their nests. The eggs are left alone and
the nests fail. Are Black flies the cause? More evidence is needed,
Team decided not to release any more Whooping cranes
nest abandonment has been identified and managed. It could take a few
more seasons to test the theory that Black flies are causing the problem.
Even if conclusive evidence is found, the long term use of chemical
controls has been ruled out by the refuge. Giving future cranes a new place
to nest may mean the species has a better chance to build the eastern population.
Not Giving Up
"No one within the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP:
say "WEE-sep") is
prepared to give up on these birds just yet," said Joe Duff. Joe has been
lead ultralight pilot for this project since it began in 2001. "We
have accomplished far too much to end it now so all the alternatives were
was to find a new site but it had to be far enough away to be out
the range of Black flies that seem to be concentrated around Necedah,
yet close enough so that the birds we add are still part of the same
flock and not a separate population."
Partners Share the Challenge
Migration carries out the actual ultralight-led migration. But first, other
WCEP partner groups had a big job to do. ICF
researchers surveyed much
of central Wisconsin for the right site conditions. They identified
seven possible sites. Then
the Wisconsin DNR took the lead. They examined variables like public
use, proximity to developed areas, hunting
seasons, and the capacity of the wetlands to accommodate nesting pairs
in the future. The search narrowed to three sites.
After that, ICF and OM visited the sites to see how they would work. White
River Marsh SWA won. It's a new chapter in the quest to bring back
or Discussion Question:
- Why is it
important for the new training site and nesting grounds to be close
enough to the old one at Necedah NWR so that the birds added are still
of the same flock and not a separate population?