Safe Harbor Marsh was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1989 and is managed as a preserve. It is an excellent example of a low-elevation freshwater marsh surrounded by coniferous forest. The marsh actually is a small bay connected by a narrow channel to Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.

Ornithological Summary

This IBA was the site of a Breeding Bird Census conducted annually by Marcie Bishop from 1975 to 1994. During this period, Marcie recorded a grand total of 134 species. In addition to several species of ducks, the avifauna includes colonies of Yellow-headed and Red-winged blackbirds and good numbers of Willow Flycatchers, Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroats, and Song Sparrows.

Conservation Issues

Since The Nature Conservancy acquired the preserve, the site has been protected from development and habitat destruction. The habitat is in relatively good shape, albeit with minor problems from invasive weeds. A potential threat is the presence of dogs and cats could disturb nesting birds.


The site is dominated by a bulrush-cattail marsh surrounded by conifer forest (Douglas fir and ponderosa pine). A small meadow, searal shrubs, and some rocky outcrops also ring the marsh.

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