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Sycan Marsh


Tens of thousands of waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds of dozens of species utilize the marsh, particularly in spring and summer. Up to 10,000 Tundra Swans can be found at the marsh during their northward spring migration. More than 100 Greater Sandhill Cranes nest on the marsh, as do Black terns and Yellow Rails. Ducks breeding at Sycan Marsh include Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser, and Wood Duck. The sedge-dominated marsh is also home to many raptors including Bald Eagle and Goshawk. - Audubon Society

The Nature Conservancy first acquired property at Sycan Marsh in 1980 and today owns over 30,000 acres. Its name comes from a Klamath Indian phrase meaning “level, grassy place.” Surrounded by pine forest in the headwaters of the Klamath Basin, a vast wetland provides habitat to unique and threatened freshwater species. The marsh awakens in early spring to 10,000 tundra swans migrating north along the Pacific Flyway. Many other birds follow, including breeding greater sandhill cranes, black terns, white-faced ibis and yellow rails. Bull trout and redband trout frequent the creeks into the marsh, and recently, new species of mollusks have been discovered. - The Nature Conservancy


Exemplary Ecosystem Services

Maintains ecological connectivity/cohesion

Recreation (birdwatching, ecotourism)

Aquifer recharge

Conservation Status and Threats

  • Conservation status

    Conservation EasementThe Nature Conservancy owned preserve.
  • Adjacent land use

    Ranchland (pasture, grazing)
  • Approximate natural buffer width

    > 100 ft
  • Other Information


  • Approximate size (ha):

    12,140 ha (30,000 acres)
  • General wetland characterization:

    Inland Deep Fresh Marsh
  • Adjacent water bod(ies)

  • Approximate stream order

    4th order
  • Name of body of water

    Sycan River
  • Surficial geology

    Fault-block mountains enclosing basins with internal drainage, made up largely of Miocene and recent flows of basalt, pyroclastics, and alluvial sediments.

  • Soils

    Soil data unavailabe for this section of Fremont-Winema National Forest.

Flora and Fauna

  • Dominant flora

    Sedge (Carex sp.) dominant marsh
  • Unique flora

    sundew (Drosera anglica),
  • Dominant fauna

    wetland and wading birds, migratory waterfowl including species of secretive shorebirds (American bittern, pied-billed grebe, sora, yellow rail, Virginia rail). Others include Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser, and Wood Duck
  • Rare fauna

    tundra swan, sandhill crane, yellow rail, black tern, bull trout, redband trout


  • Sycan_aerial
  • sycanmarsh

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