Northwoods Experience: MN DNR Seeks to Restore Loon Population
It’s a new project with a decade-long history that’s been made to protect Minnesota’s state bird.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’s Loon Restoration Project looks to protect current and future generations of the bird before the common loon becomes uncommon.
After the April 2010 Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Minnesota’s common loon population has suffered adverse effects more than a decade after the disaster, as their wintering habitat was damaged. Now, the DNR is looking to combat these effect through their Loon Restoration Project.
Started officially in 2019, the project’s main two objectives are to reduce mortality and increase the number of young loons produced in Minnesota. A main part of these goals is to find high quality breeding grounds, which the DNR is currently looking at in eight north-central Minnesota counties. These counties are Becker, Clearwater, Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, Hubbard, and Aitkin.
When areas are chosen, the DNR is looking to implement what are called “artificial nesting platforms.” Through these efforts, the common loon would continue to represent not only the state of Minnesota but its northwoods as well.