Dale Becker is the Tribal Wildlife Program Manager for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Dale will talk about the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes leading the planning and reintroduction efforts for Trumpeter Swans on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Trumpeter Swans slated for release in the project were captive-reared and released at one year of age. Despite some ups and downs the project has been successful in the development of a viable swan population centered on lands within the Reservation that has also expanded into other adjacent areas in northwestern Montana. In 2016, free-ranging Trumpeter Swans likely associated with this project nested and raised cygnets from the Missoula Valley and throughout the Reservation and northward through the Flathead Valley nearly to Canada and within Glacier. Nesting Trumpeters hatched at least 72 cygnets and raised at least 60 cygnets to fledging. A recent Population Viability Analysis indicated a very high probability of both short-term (30 years) and long-term (100 years) persistence.
Dale was born and raised in farm country in western Iowa where he spent as much time as he could hunting and fishing and observing wildlife. He attended college at Iowa Western Community College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, majoring in Zoology. While in Omaha he worked as the Supervisor for Carnivores and as a Zookeeper for Great Apes and Pachyderms. He also co-founded the Midwest Raptor Conservation Association, an organization involved with raptor rehabilitation and environmental education. He and wife Marilyn moved to Missoula in 1976 and he pursued a B. S. and M. S. in Wildlife Biology. His past research has included a detailed raptor inventory for the Forest Service in southeastern Montana and the Ecology of Richardson’s Merlins there and the impacts of a hydroelectric dam upon Ospreys and Bald Eagles. Since 1989, he has served the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes as the Tribal Wildlife Program Manager. In that capacity, he have been responsible for wildlife and habitat policy development, hydroelectric mitigation planning and oversight, fiscal management, personnel management, Endangered and Threatened Species management, Highway 93 mitigation planning and oversight and restoration of extirpated wildlife species.