Important Bird Areas

Flat Creek Marshes and Wetland Complex

Wyoming

The purpose of the Flat Creek March and Wetland Complex IBA is defined by refuge purposes of the National Elk Refuge. These are to provide winter foraging habitat for elk and other big game animals and to provide habitat for migrating birds.

The Flat Creek Marsh and Wetland Complex is located just north of the town of Jackson, Wyoming. Highway 191 bounds the area on the west and the entire complex is located within the National Elk Refuge boundaries. The area is one of the largest calcareous fen in Wyoming and the largest wetland in northwest Wyoming. Flat Creek runs north/south through the marshes with several ponds throughout the area. In 1990 a proposal was introduced in order to create or enhance the wetlands within the National Elk Refuge because of the damage caused by reconstruction of Jackson Lake Dam. The draw down that occurred while repairing the Jackson Lake Dam destroyed aquatic plant beds, important to fish, invertebrates, and migratory birds. Therefore plans were made to improve and expand two ponds (Boucher Pond (8.70 acres) and the Gros Ventre Diversion Pond (19.39 acres)) within the area to mitigation for Jackson Dam repairs.

Ornithological Summary

The area is a critical site for migrating and staging waterfowl and shorebirds. It provides nesting and brood habitat for 4 pairs of Trumpeter Swan (3 of the 4 have produced young). The area also supports nesting Long-billed Curlews.

Ornithological Importance:
Trumpeter Swan B, Yearlong
Long-billed Curlew B
Bald Eagle FM
Marsh Wren B
American Bittern B
White-faced Ibis SM
Bobolink B, SM, FM
Sora B
Virginia Rail B
Yellow Rail B (some years)
Various Waterfowl SM, B, FM

Conservation Issues

Invasive species (noxious weeds) are a long-term concern which could degrade biodiversity and negatively affect birds. High elk and bison numbers have degraded willow habitat and converted them to sedge dominated wet meadow. Control of invasive species (noxious weeds) is essential.

Ownership

The purpose of the Flat Creek March and Wetland Complex IBA is defined by refuge purposes of the National Elk Refuge. These are to provide winter foraging habitat for elk and other big game animals and to provide habitat for migrating birds.

Habitat

Wetlands are the primary habitat type that makes up the Flat Creek IBA, with open water and shore/bank as secondary habitat types. The area is one of the largest calcareous fen in Wyoming and the largest wetland in northwest Wyoming. Flat Creek runs north/south through the marshes with several ponds throughout the area. In 1990 a proposal was introduced in order to create or enhance the wetlands within the National Elk Refuge because of the damage caused by reconstruction of Jackson Lake Dam.

Land Use

A wildlife viewing/observation pullout has been constructed which provides viewing opportunities of waterfowl and educational opportunities. The area is also important foraging habitat for the Jackson elk herd.