Objective 4: Monitor Our Efforts and Loon Activity

We are working closely with federal partners (the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) to monitor our efforts on the MN Loon Restoration Project and loon activity on lakes.

You can help!

Volunteer with the LoonWatcher Survey

The LoonWatcher Survey is best for volunteers who live on or regularly visit lakes with loons. Participants are asked to observe loons at least once per month (May through August) and report their findings at the end of the breeding season. The primary goal of the Loon Watcher Survey is to collect data on loon breeding behavior and productivity We are looking for observations on the number of loons, nesting behavior, chick survival, interesting behavioral occurrences, and problems that may negatively impact loons (like predation, disturbance, disease, etc.).

Join the MN Loon Monitoring Program

The MN Loon Monitoring Program focuses on a set of approximately 600 lakes that were chosen to be part of the long-term study. Volunteers visit each lake one morning during a 10-day period in the summer and count the number of adult and juvenile loons. The observations are shared with the DNR.

Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, we have over 20 years of data on these long-term monitoring lakes. This annual dataset gives us the ability to detect 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.

Interested? Please go to the online lake availability map and sign up for an available lake. You can also visit the MN Loon Monitoring Program homepage and learn which counties are included in the project. If you would like to volunteer for one of the counties listed, please contact the appropriate regional index area coordinator for that county. 

Partner with Get the Lead Out

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is leading the Get the Lead Out program to reduce the use of lead tackle, which is known to contribute to loon mortality. 

Strategies to reduce the use of lead-based tackle include:

  • Encouraging members to recycle lead tackle at their county Household Hazardous Waste facility
  • Hosting a lead tackle collection event and distributing lead-free tackle (provided by Get the Lead Out) with lake association members
  • Inviting MPCA and DNR employees to speak with lake associations and schools
  • Asking association members to volunteer to be the leader for Get the Lead Out activities for individual lakes
  • Encouraging your local bait and tackle shops to provide lead-free tackle options

MN DNR is partnering with MPCA to carry out these strategies. Please consider becoming a partner as well.

A cartoon of a loon with the words Get the Lead out beneath itPhoto courtesy of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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