The Minnesota Loon Restoration Project objectives are to reduce mortality and increase the number of young loons produced in Minnesota. The primary emphasis of this project is to provide loon nesting habitat by protecting natural lakeshores through acquisition and/or easements. This project focuses on 8 northern counties: Becker, Clearwater, Beltrami, Hubbard, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, and Aitkin. On April 20th, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling unit exploded, resulting in a massive release of oil from the BP Exploration and Production Inc. (BP) Macondo well, causing loss of life and extensive natural resource injuries from Texas to Florida. As part of a 2016 settlement, BP agreed to pay $8.1 billion in natural resource damages over a 15-year period, and up to an additional $700 million for adaptive management or to address injuries to natural resources that are presently unknown but may come to light in the future. The Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group (herein Open Ocean TIG) is responsible for restoring natural resources and their services within the area that was injured by the oil spill.
In 2019, the Open Ocean TIG’s first restoration plan was finalized. As part of this restoration plan, the Restoration of Common Loons in Minnesota project was funded $7.52 million to reduce mortality and increase the number of young loons produced in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) Nongame Wildlife Program was awarded $4.8 million for acquisition and/or easements of lakeshore loon nesting habitat, enhancing loon productivity by providing artificial nesting platforms on targeted lakes, and engaging MN lake associations in loon conservation activities. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was awarded $1,270,600 towards reducing loon exposure to lead-based fishing tackle. The primary objectives of the project are to acquire loon habitat, augment natural nesting habitat with artificial nesting platforms, promote stewardship of lakes with loons by engaging community members in a Loon-Friendly Lake Registry, and participating in joint monitoring of project implementation and outcomes
To learn more about the program, please visit the MN DNR’s “Minnesota Loon Restoration Project” webpage.
Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT) is working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on their Minnesota Loon Restoration Project. NWLT is specifically helping with landowner outreach efforts for acquiring land and putting conservation easements on pristine loon habitat.
Other Ongoing Projects
High quality clean water, fish, wildlife and forests are what draw people to the lakes region and define its character – and is worth protecting. Future generations should be able to enjoy it as we do today.