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Tundra swans dying in Idaho, mine waste to blame

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A noticeable amount of dead tundra swans have been reported in the lower Coeur d’Alene River Basin, resulting from what the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is attributing to mine waste contamination. 

According to the Department of Fish and game, around 95 percent of wetland habitat in the lower Coeur d’Alene River Basin contains levels toxic to waterfowl.  

Tundra swans in particular are exposed to these contaminants, due to their feeding and burrowing habits. While approximately 150 swans are reported dead or sick each spring, the Department of Fish and Game has received numerous calls in what has shaped up to be a noticeably bad season.   

In 2018, the Restoration Partnership and Panhandle Region Fish and Game created a restoration plan for waterfowl and other natural resources impacted by historic mine waste. 

Efforts are currently being made to deter swans from landing in heavily contaminated areas. 
Long-term efforts, officials say, are focused on habitat restoration projects to provide clean foraging and nesting areas for the birds. 

To learn more about restoration plans, visit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website


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