Love loons? Minnesota loon monitoring program (MLMP) is a great way to get involved with wildlife, particularly loons, on your lake or a nearby lake.
Why loons? Loons are good indicators of water quality because they need clean, clear water to observe and catch food; sensitive to disturbance and lakeshore development; indicators of the effects of contaminants like mercury and lead in the environment or the impacts of events like the BP oil spill; and enjoyable for Minnesotans to watch!
Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, we have over 20 years of data on more than 600 lakes distributed among six regions, or "index areas" of the state. This long-term data set gives us the ability to detect significant changes in the adult population and reproductive success of the state's common loons, and to anticipate any problems that could jeopardize the future of our state bird.
Become a volunteer today and help us monitor our state bird!
The Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program is a long-term project of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Nongame Wildlife Program. With the generous assistance of hundreds of volunteers, information about common loon numbers is collected annually on more than 600 lakes distributed among six regions, or "index areas" of the state. These areas were selected because they are typical of larger portions of the state in ways that matter to loons: varying human population growth, acid rain sensitivity, public or private land ownership, and/or road density.
Volunteers visit each lake for one morning during a 10-day period in summer, count the number of adult and juvenile loons seen, and report these observations for data management and analysis.
Data form and lake maps will be provided once you sign up as a volunteer.
Detailed instructions found under "Resources for Current Volunteers."
Click on a PDF below to see which lakes need volunteers. The same lakes are surveyed every year. Is your lake not on our maps? Consider reporting loons to the LoonWatcher Survey. Click here for more information about that survey.
If a PDF is not available, it may be too early to select a lake. Please try again later or contact an Index Area Coordinator.
If you need an accommodation for a PDF map, please contact an Index Area Coordinator.
Have questions, want to know more, or want to adopt a lake to survey? Please call or email the one of following DNR staff in the county/index area of interest:
Survey Instructions include detailed instructions on how to conduct the survey including what to do before the day of survey, how to select a day to survey, tips for conducting the survey and how to identify similar-looking birds. These instructions should be read every year before you survey.
Volunteer Time Report is a form to be completed to help us receive a match of federal funds to support Nongame Wildlife Program activities.
Official Survey Volunteer Placard Want to be seen by oncoming drivers? Print this placard on brightly colored paper and display in the window of your vehicle. Print either two half sheets or one whole sheet, as desired.
Have you seen these birds? Help us document nests of bald eagles, colonial waterbirds such as herons and other waterbirds such as grebes and terns. If you see the birds that are listed on this form at your survey lake, please fill out one of these forms and submit the information with your loon data.
Other ways to help loons
2016 Annual Report (423 KB)
MLMP Results for 1994-2004 by Index Area:
If you cannot find a lake in this program survey, visit LoonWatcher.