Baker, R.J., Y.C. Anderson, L. Gelvin-Innvaer, M. Hamady, K. Haws, P.S. Perry. 2004. Tenth Anniversary Report - Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program 1994 - 2003. Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Report. 12 pp.
The Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program (MLMP) is a long-term project of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Nongame Wildlife Program. Since 1994, nearly 1000 volunteer observers have annually gathered information about common loons in six 100-lake regions, or "index areas" of the state. The data these generous citizens collect provide the Nongame Wildlife Program with an early warning system for detecting changes in the numbers of loons and the health of their lake habitats in Minnesota.
The 2003 survey season marks the 10th year of the MLMP. The MLMP owes it's ongoing success to it's large base of participants throughout the state. Without the interest and dedication of these volunteers, this project would not be possible. We want to thank them, and provide this report to demonstrate how their efforts are contributing information valuable in the management of Minnesota's natural resources.
The analysis of MLMP data presented in this report indicates that Minnesota's common loon population remains healthy in both number of adults and number of juveniles observed within the index areas. Indeed, data from the Becker index area indicates a slight, but significant increase in that area's loon population. The abundance of loons varies greatly across the state, and is lowest in the southwestern (Kandiyohi and Otter Tail) index areas, and highest in the north central (Itasca) index area. The number of juveniles per two adults seen, a measure of reproductive success, also varies among index areas, but appears to be highest in the southwestern (Kandiyohi) index area and lowest in the northeastern (Cook/Lake) index area.
The value of MLMP data is widely recognized by Minnesota's biologists and planners, and it's results have been incorporated into several summaries of statewide ecological health, including the DNR's Strategic Conservation Agenda, Minnesota Milestones, Minnesota Environmental Indicators Initiative, and Water Management 2000. The Nongame Wildlife Program hopes to continue this effort into the future.