Objective 3: Promote Stewardship with the Loon-Friendly Lake Registry Program

Participation in the Loon-Friendly Lake Registry Program is a great way to help loons!

a common loon on a nest in a grassy area

The voluntary Loon-Friendly Lake Registry Program is a way for community members to make a commitment to loons on an individual lake. When you enroll in the program, our staff will work closely with you to develop and implement a Loon-Friendly Lake Plan.

What happens with a Loon-Friendly Lake Plan?

  • Document the history of loons on the lake
  • Consider changes to the lake in the last 10 or so years
  • Assess nesting, rearing, and foraging opportunities for loons
  • Consider barriers to loon success, such as human disturbance and predation
  • Make a connection to the MPCA Get the Lead Out! Program
  • Recommend voluntary actions to improve lake conditions for loons

Artificial Nesting Platforms

If conditions are appropriate, an Artificial Nesting Platform (ANP) may be recommended. In this circumstance, Loon-Friendly Lake plan sponsors will have access to technical assistance on ANPs and will be eligible for funding to obtain, install, and maintain ANPs

Be aware ANPs are a big commitment and responsibility.

In accepting funding for ANPs, individuals and/or Lake Association volunteers will be responsible for:

  • Obtaining or building ANPs
  • Maintaining the ANP for at least three years
  • Placing the ANP on the lake soon after ice-out
  • Removing it in late summer and storing it on shore
  • Making necessary repairs at the end of the season
  • Obtaining a permit for placement from local law enforcement (typically the Sheriff Department)

There is no guarantee that loons will use an ANP.

Platforms can also create problems for loons.

  • Predators (like crows, gulls, or eagles) may have an easier time locating nests if they are on platforms
  • If curious humans are attracted to the obvious ANP, nesting loons may abandon their nest
  • A poorly maintained or placed ANP may attract a nesting pair, but ultimately provide an insecure nesting site until eggs hatch and chicks leave the nest

The true challenge is balancing human lake use and the needs of loons and other wildlife. Protecting nesting habitat from development, managing water level fluctuations to avoid flooding nests (when possible), educating people on how they can avoid disturbing loons while enjoy the lake, and maintaining food webs are all important for the long term success of Minnesota’s loons.

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