WCEP: Who We Are
Costumed staff work with juvenile whooping cranes. During October, the cranes will be released using the DAR method.
Photo by Eva Szyszkoski; International Crane Foundation
The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP or “the partnership”) was formally organized in 1999 as a next step in the recovery of the whooping crane in North America. Following the Whooping Crane Recovery Team’s recommendation that a migratory flock be restored to eastern North America, WCEP founding members came together to plan and carry out such a project, eventually forming a partnership consisting of over nine government and private sector organizations and over 70 people.
The mission of the partnership is the restoration of a self-sustaining migratory population of whooping cranes in eastern North America. Achievement of this mission will bring the whooping crane closer to recovery from its current status as a species in danger of extinction.
Founding members included U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), International Crane Foundation (ICF), Operation Migration (OM), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, International Whooping Crane Recovery Team, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRF). The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) have assisted the partnership since its inception. Other states in the flyway and other organizations are important partners in restoration efforts and are welcome and encouraged to participate in WCEP activities as their interests and resources allow.
March 2014 - WCEP
Five Year Strategic Plan 2011–2015: March 2014 Status Report & Updates 14-page PDF
December 2010 - Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership Five Year Strategic Plan - Dec. 2010 14-page PDF
August 2010 - WCEP Partnership Guidance Document
March 2010 - WCEP: External Program Review
WCEP Annual Reports
Operation Migration, Inc. trains the young whooping cranes to follow behind ultralight aircraft. The Operation Migration pilots then lead the whooping cranes on their first fall migration to Florida. Operation Migration's website has daily journals of the spring and summer training work and the fall ultralight-led migration as well as wonderful photos and information about how you can contribute to the project.
International Crane Foundation
Biologists with the International Crane Foundation track wild whooping cranes that were reintroduced during previous years. The ICF website has journal entries from the crane trackers, information on all species of cranes, and lots of pages for kids, educators, interpreters, and naturalists.
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is where the whooping crane chicks are hatched and reared before they are flown to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Patuxent's website provides photos and information about the whooping crane captive rearing process. Video and vocalizations are available on their website.
The USGS National Wildlife Health Center provides health checks and other veterinary services for the project.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is the summer home and training area for each new cohort of whooping cranes. And their Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is the flock's wintering area.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act. They provided the legal framework for the reintroduction by establishing a Nonessential Experimental Population Area and preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on that designation.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources led development and maintains a comprehensive statewide management plan for the eastern migratory whooping crane population. The DNR contributes to the development of monitoring plans and activities, and works with WCEP partners to identify project data needs and priorities. DNR staff - including a full-time biologist who coordinates whooping crane activities - help monitor, collect and manage whooping crane data in Wisconsin. The DNR also coordinates with landowners to protect crane habitat on private, county and state lands; contributes veterinary care for Wisconsin's wild cranes; and helps with other crane health needs by being on the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team.
Partner Fact Sheets
The Power of Partnership
International Crane Foundation (PDF)
International Whooping Crane Recovery Team (PDF)
Operation Migration (PDF)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (PDF)
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (PDF)
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (PDF)
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PDF)
USGS National Wildlife Health Center (PDF)
Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation (PDF)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources(PDF)
Mr. Dewitt (Deke) Clark
Mr. Sam Johnson
Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust Fund
Mr. T. Kohler
Don and Paula Lounsbury
Ed and Viola (Nicholson) White
Defenders of Wildlife
Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund
Madison Gas & Electric Foundation
Marigold Ford Lincoln
George Weston Foundation
Wild Birds Unlimited/Pathways to Nature
Windway Capitol Corporation
World Wildlife Fund/Environment Canada's Endangered Species Recovery Fund
Margaret Van Alstyne
Mr. Richard Ford
Mr. P. Maeder
Mr. Frank Pearl
Cyrus and JoAnne Spurlino
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Steuer
The Canadian Shield Foundation
The Community Foundation
Fort James Foundation
Foth & Van Dyke
General Motors Corporation
Chas and Dorothy Inbusch Foundation
George Kress Foundation, Inc.
Midwest Birding Symposium
Safari Club (Wisconsin Chapter)
R.D. and Linda Peters Foundation
The Summit Foundation
Walter Alexander Foundation, Inc.
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
Zeppos & Associates, Inc.