Victory: The City of Montague Protects Mute Swans on White Lake

Victory: The City of Montague Protects Mute Swans on White Lake

For the past ten years, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Mute Swan Management and Control Program has hired sharpshooters to kill dozens of mute swans per year at night on White Lake. With our support, local activists are turning the tide. On August 21, 2023, Montague City Council voted against the annual killing for the next five years!

Mute swans live peaceably and in balance with people and wildlife in communities around the world. Outside the United States, they are generally protected and revered as a symbol of grace and beauty, tranquility, and fidelity. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) proposed a resolution to continue swan killing on White Lake for five more years. However, there is no data to support the agency’s resolution. An environmental impact study has not been conducted on White Lake or anywhere in Michigan to warrant the killing of mute swans!

Fortunately, local advocate Susan Newhof brought her concerns for the swans to Montague City Councilmembers who tabled the vote to review the research materials she presented. During this time, she researched mute swan behavior, wrote a letter to the editor, and gathered resources from swan advocacy groups, including our National Goose Protection Coalition which includes swan experts! This is what she had to say about her experience working with our coalition and others:

“They joined my husband as my supportive and resourceful team! They armed me with facts, verified my concerns, boosted my spirits, and wrote letters that I gave to each council member and distributed at our August 21 City Council meeting when councilmembers rejected the resolution 4 to 3. I am deeply grateful to everyone who reached out to help make this happen,” said Newhof.

For now, the swans in Montague’s jurisdiction on White Lake are safe. White Lake is surrounded by five municipalities including the city of Montague. Next, Susan will contact the board and council members in the other four jurisdictions around the lake urging all of them to reject the resolution from the MDNR and stop the senseless killing of mute swans.   

To protect waterfowl in your area, please contact our National Goose Protection Coalition at [email protected] for resources and support.

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