North American Crane Working Group


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Hereford, S.G., and L.E. Billodeaux. Mississippi sandhill crane conservation update 2006-2008. In: Hartup, Barry K., ed., Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Crane Workshop, Sep 23-27, 2008, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (Baraboo, WI: North American Crane Working Group, 2010), pp. 189–191.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


The Mississippi sandhill crane (MSC, Grus canadensis pulla) is an endangered non-migratory subspecies found in the wild only on and near the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge (MSCNWR) in Jackson County in southeastern Mississippi (Gee and Hereford 1995). The MSC is adapted to the wet pine savannas and open pinelands of the Southeastern Outer Gulf Coastal Plain. By the 1970s, their numbers had decreased to 30-40 individuals including only 5-6 nesting pairs. The firemaintained savannas, once a dominant feature of the landscape, were converted to pine plantations and human development or had degraded to overgrown pine scrub. The MSCNWR was created in 1975 to protect and recover the nearly extinct subspecies, restore and maintain the savannas, and provide compatible wildlife-oriented recreation. Here we briefly describe continued intensive MSCNWR conservation measures over the past 3 years in support of crane recovery (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1991) and rebuilding of infrastructure after Hurricane Katrina (August 2005). Management activities included protection and law enforcement, prescribed burning, mechanical vegetation removal, pest plant management, hydrological restoration, farming, predator management, supplementation, and public education.