Important Bird Areas

Alpine Wetland

Wyoming

The Alpine Wetland is located on the boarder of Idaho and Wyoming, just south of Alpine, Wyoming at the mouth of the Snake River inlet and Palisades Reservoir. The wetland unit consists of numerous constructed ponds and conals that provide productive breeding and staging areas for waterfowl, shorebirds, and Neotropical migrants. A wildlife viewing/observation facility was constructed prior to the development of the wetland complex. The observation area provides excellent viewing of waterfowl and educational opportunities.

Ornithological Summary

The Alpine Wetland complex has become a critical migration staging area for waterfowl and shorebirds. The area was built with a joint agency (BOR,NRCS, USFWS, WGFD) and public effort to provide a mix of open water and willow wetland habitat for a great variety of species from larger waterfowl to songbirds as well as mammals. The WGFD has closed the area to waterfowl hunting to provide a core production area for hunting on the fringes both in Idaho and Wyoming. WGFD owns the water rights and has responsibility for water flow management. Part of the vision is to provide watchable wildlife from US 89 highway view area.

Conservation Issues

Removal of noxious weeds on the islands is needed.

Ownership

The area is designated as Caribou National Forest and withdrawn for the purposes of the Palisades Dam Project by the US Bureau of Reclamation (including the high water mark of Palisades Reservoir and extended above the high water line 200 feet). The Wyoming Game and Fish Department owns the water rights and has the responsibility for water flow management.

Habitat

The wetland unit consists of numerous constructed ponds, islands, dikes and canals that provide productive breeding and staging area for waterfowl, shorebirds and Neotropical migrants. The Palisades Reservoir was filled in 1958, therefore wetland habitats on the lower Salt River were inundated replacing the original vegetation with mud and gravel flats. Fluctuating waterlevels in the shallow flats at the mouth of the Salt River restricted duck and goose nesting and brood rearing in that area. Therefore, in 1969 the Forest Service, Idaho and Wyoming Game and Fish Departments and the US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed upon a waterfowl management plan for the Palisades Reservoir?s south end. In 1992 the Alpine Wetland Project was completed, creating 6 permanent swallow water wetlands, a water supply canal with headgates, and 2 water control structures as well as rehabilitation of a 2400 foot long irrigation ditch system.

Land Use

The area is primarily used for nature viewing and wildlife conervation. The area is closed to hunting however fishing is allowed. A wildlife viewing/observation facility was constructed prior to development of the wetland complex. The facility has consistent use throughout the spring and fall seasons. It continues to provide great viewing and educational opportunities for waterfowl.

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