It is a well known-fact that the Grass Valley west of Missoula is a place where wildlife, agriculture, water and open space--the four tenants of Five Valleys' mission--come together in scenic harmony. From family farms and ranches to the Clark Fork River-Grass Valley Important Bird Area, the valley has long been a place where Montana's natural legacy lives on.
Recently, Five Valleys conservation easement landowner, Joe Boyer, noted that trumpeter swans were frequenting Roman Creek, which runs through his conservation easement. But they weren't just stopping over, they were nesting! While only two of the original five signets appear to have survived the summer, the fact that swans were not only in the Grass Valley, but nesting in it, is extraordinary.
“This is the first time in any recorded history that swans have been known to nest in this valley or the Bitterroot Valley,” -- Jim Brown, Five Valleys Land Trust board member and Montana Audubon member.
The Boyer family has long been proponents of protecting and stewarding their land. Over the last decade, the Boyers have placed over 1,200 acres of their century-old working ranch into conservation easement with Five Valleys. So it's small wonder that the swans would find the Boyer Ranch an ideal place to raise the next generation.
“When we see the first successful nesting trumpeter swans on a working ranch, its shows the importance of protecting primary habitat and working agricultural producers,” said Vickie Edwards, Five Valleys conservation project manager. “When you protect these working landscapes, you’re protecting wildlife habitat. I think this speaks to the success of that.”
We're excited at the prospect of seeing trumpeter swans in the Grass Valley, in perpetuity.
Photo by Grant Parker