The Montana Waterfowl Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and propagation of native waterfowl and their habitat. Habitat destruction and predication have caused a serious decline in the numbers of native ducks and swans in western Montana. The Foundation's goal is to secure protected rest and nesting areas for native waterfowl. Also, this wetland ecosystem provides a unique setting for a diverse variety of educational opportunities.
Nestled in the scenic Mission Valley between Flathead Lake and Nine Pipes Wildlife Refuge, the thirty-acre Montana Waterfowl Foundation is on a major migratory path for waterfowl. The Foundation grounds range from dense forest to marshy bottomlands, and include nine ponds of varying sizes.
The land is owned in its entirety by the Foundation. Presently, five acres are predator safe. A Foundation priority is to have the entire property secure in order to provide safely for nesting birds. A portion of the site is located on a reclaimed fish hatchery, and several of the remaining ponds hold crawfish and native rosysided shiners, with one pond being used for the raising of west slope cut-throat trout. The crawfish and shiners provide a natural diet for wild and captive ducks. Pathways through the grounds allow ideal viewing of our varied wildlife habitat and its occupants. Bird watcher's and photographer's blinds offer the opportunity to observe waterfowl in their natural environment. Thirty nest boxes are placed on the Foundation grounds and more are needed. Three aviaries with running water hold ruddy ducks, pintail, cinnamon teal, ringneck ducks, Captive snow geese, trumpeter swans, and hooded mergansers share a large pond with wild mallards, wood ducks, pintail, bufflehead, goldeneyes and other waterfowl that pass through the valley. In keeping with our goal to provide a safe and natural environment for these waterfowl, there is an ongoing effort toward the restoration of native aquatic vegetation which is crucial to their nesting and dietary needs.