Friday, December 17, 2021

Long Lake Loon Monitoring from Your Dock Anyone? Sharon Natzel

When you are at the lake, do you take time to enjoy watching and listening for the loons from your dock with your favorite beverage in the morning, noon or night?

Have you used binoculars to view the MN State Bird, the Common Loon, from your dock in your bay on Long Lake? Does this short recording of Loons call out to you to consider being part of our Long Lake loon input team?

Recording of Loons on Big Mantrap, courtesy of KARE 11 at:

We invite you to consider providing input on Long Lake’s Common Loons to the LLAA Planning Team working on the Long Lake Loon Management Plan. We have specific areas of focus where we could use your input to reduce mortality, increase reproductive success, and promote stewardship.
Dive in – email LLAA loon liaison:

The Long Lake Loon Management Plan is one of the several goals that our LLAA needs to achieve in the journey to be part of the MN Loon Friendly Lake Registry before the MN DNR Loon Restoration Program (MLRP) is completed by the end of 2023.

On Nov 3, 2021, members of the LLAA Planning Team learned more about MLRP in a Zoom meeting with that DNR program’s coordinator, Rob Rabasco. You may recall that in April 2010 one of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, causing a catastrophic oil spill that killed great numbers of wintering loons and other wildlife. In 2016 BP agreed to pay $8.1 billion for the oil spill damage over 15 years. The state of Minnesota was awarded $7,520,00 under two grants by the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Technical Implementation Group (TIG) to reduce mortality and increase reproductive success of common loons in Minnesota.  MLRP is supported from this money.

 MLRP Goals:

• To reduce mortality and increase reproductive success of common loons in Minnesota.
• To increase loon productivity by about 5% on registered lakes.

Restoration Activities Include:

• Permanent protection of targeted lake shorelines facilitating direct protection      of loons and ensuring future availability of habitat.
• Augmenting natural nesting habitat with Artificial Nesting Platforms (ANP).
• Promoting stewardship of lakes with loons by encouraging lake associations
   within an eight-county area to register as Loon-Friendly Lakes: Hubbard,
   Becker, Clearwater, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, and Itasca.
• Promoting a Loon-Friendly Lake Registry (LFLR) program for lake associations
   within the Restoration of Common

Loons in Minnesota Project (RCLMP) area:

  • Establishing a Loon Liaison Training lake association members as volunteers to assist with loon monitoring 
  • Integrating loon conservation information into lake association management plans, newsletters, websites,and as agenda items in meetings 
  • Providing loon conservation information at key lake accesses 
  • Inviting Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff to speak about the Get the Lead Out (GTLO) program at lake association meetings. The Get the Lead Out program addresses the serious problem of loons being poisoned when they accidentally swallow lead tackle. 

The Minnesota DNR is urging lake associations to encourage their members to dispose of lead tackle at household hazardous waste sites and to host a lead tackle drop-off event. To support these goals the LLAA will have a lead tackle drop-off table at its Annual Meeting at the Hubbard Community Center on Sat June 25, 2022. After the meeting, the lead tackle collected will be weighed by the LLAA Loon Liaison and taken to the Hubbard County South Transfer Station for Household Hazardous Waste Disposal.

In addition, LLAA will encourage members to "Get the Lead Out" by checking their ice fishing  and summer tackle boxes, give lead-free tackle as gifts, and inculcate good practices in future generations by providing children and grandchildren with lead-free tackle. It is partly by encouraging such lake stewardship that the LLAA Planning Team hopes to earn Long Lake a place on the MN Loon Friendly Lake Registry.

LLAA has invited a special guest speaker for our LLAA Annual Meeting on Saturday morning, June 25, 2022. Steve Maanum, wildlife photographer and master storyteller, will share his loon experiences and fantastic loon photography.  Steve volunteers as part of the Big Mantrap loon team, checking the success rates of natural nests and artificial nesting platforms. You will come away with an even greater understanding of just how special the loons are and some unique behaviors too!

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