As graceful as they may appear to those who watch them, mute swans actually cause a great deal of issues to local and state natural environments, including problems with populations of native species and degradation of wetland habitat.
In 2005, the population of mute swans was estimated at 8,000 in Michigan. The population nearly doubled in five years to 15,500. State officials hope to reduce Michigan’s mute swan population to fewer than 2,000 by 2030 and have developed committees to discuss “nonlethal management options.”
While many will oppose the state in this effort, we feel that, as with any species, the mute swan population must be better managed, and the rapid increase in population brought under control.
Unlike the deer that have caused much controversy in Grand Haven, the mute swan is not native to this area and has a negative impact on the local ecosystem.
Basically, these birds use their large size as an advantage to chase the native wetland birds away. This is a real problem that needs to be addressed.
According to local park officials, the mute swan population has not yet become a serious problem here, but we encourage them to work with state officials in a proactive manner so it doesn’t become one.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.