A Wildlife Management Area created for waterfowl breeding and migratory habitat, Mud Lake WMA consists of an open water lake surround by bulrush wetlands, willow wetlands, and grass/sagebrush uplands. Mud Lake is used as a water storage reservoir for the local canal company, and has seasonally fluctuating water levels. However, water levels are always sufficient for supporting large numbers of waterbirds throughout the summer.

Ornithological Summary

Mud Lake produces thousands of waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds every year and provides habitat for up to 160,000 migrating waterfowl and waterbirds, including Trumpeter Swans and Common Loons. This site contains one of the largest White-faced Ibis and Franklin?s Gull mixed colonies in Idaho, which also includes nesting Black-crowned Night-herons, Snowy Egrets, Western Grebes, Clark?s Grebes, and Eared Grebes. A rookery of Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants can also be found here. A nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons are on site, and American White Pelicans can be observed spring through fall.

Conservation Issues

There is a serious infestation of Russian knapweed at Mud Lake, which is being controlled as much as possible by the WMA Manager. Increasing public use of the WMA and demands for additional/different recreational activities could increase disturbance to the birds. And there are minor overgrazing/over-browsing issues as well. Both these issues, as well as others, are addressed in the Mud Lake WMA Management Plan.

Habitat

Main plant communities are stands of introduced grasses; sagebrush and native grasses; saltgrass, Baltic, and spike-rush meadows; bulrush wetlands; stands of willows; and aquatic plant communities. The soils vary from clay to sand to organic. Mud Lake sits in a 5.5 million year old caldera, this is a historic sump for Camas Creek, which is now used for water storage. Climate is typical high desert with ice from November until the end of March.

Land Use

Mud Lake's primary purpose is wildlife management and conservation. However, this site is used for a wide variety of outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, water skiing, picnicking, and camping.

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