The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees is expected at its Monday, July 16 meeting to consider rescinding a resolution it previously approved to remove mute swans, their nests and eggs from township lakes.
The board originally approved the resolution at its June 18 meeting after Michael Mankvitz, a board member of the Middle Straits Lake Association, and other residents expressed concerns — such as attacks on small boats and people on the water — by aggressive swans in the area.
The resolution applies to the entire township, but lake associations would have the option to opt out if they don’t want the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to come in to remove swans.
However, since the resolution’s approval, the township has received feedback from other residents protesting the removal of the swans, which would be handled by the DNR.
Township Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy said that she has not yet signed the resolution and said that the township board was given some “misinformation.”
Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste said that she recently met with members of the Michigan Human Society, who explained to her that the DNR’s process of swan removal involves euthanasia and that it considers it inhumane.
“I don’t believe it’s the health and safety risk that it was made out to be,” Ureste said. “Mute swans are no different than trumpeter swans.”
The DNR in January created the Mute Swan Management and Control Program Policy with the short-term goal of reducing the statewide mute swan population growth to zero on all lands, and the long-term goal of maintaining a spring population of less than 2,000 mute swans throughout Michigan by 2030.
Those in favor of the swan removal also argued that mute swans are not a native species to the state and that population growth has led to damage to the lakes’ natural habitat and ecosystem. In addition, proponents say, ducks, herons, and other waterfowl species are being chased away by the mute swans.
Mute swans are protected under state law and can only be removed under a DNR-issued permit.
So far this year, Waterford Township has refused to approve the removal of mute swan eggs and nests while Wolverine Lake has agreed to allow the DNR to come in and remove mute swan eggs and nests from village sites.