Mute Swans in Maryland:
A Statewide Management Plan
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
April 14, 2003
CONCLUSIONS AND MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
The mute swan is an invasive, nonnative species that now inhabits the Bay in large numbers. The mute swan population in Maryland has increased dramatically since 1986. A large mute swan population threatens the protection and restoration of SAV beds in areas of critical importance to the Bay’s living resources. Furthermore, the foraging of mute swans reduces the likelihood of achieving the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement objective of protecting and restoring 114,000 acres of SAV. Mute swans reduce the carrying capacity of habitat for native plant and animal species and can cause conflicts with people.
Adverse ecological effects are being caused by the large mute swan population in the Bay and will increase if the population continues to grow. The DNR believes the mute swan population should be managed at a level that will protect critically important SAV beds and allow for the restoration of SAV, as well as minimize swan impacts to native wildlife and habitats. The management of mute swans in the Bay complements other efforts to protect and restore these habitats and should be viewed as part of a more comprehensive Bay restoration effort.