Loon center crowdfunds to exchange anglers’ lead sinkers

A loon surfaces after a dive in Lake Colby Tuesday afternoon. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation is crowdfunding for its lead sinker buy-back program, seeking funds so it can exchange anglers’ lead sinkers for non-toxic tackle.

Every year, loons and other wildlife in the Adirondack Park get lead poisoning due to accidentally swallowing lead fishing tackle.

In 2004, the sale of small lead sinkers half-an-ounce or less in size was banned in New York to help prevent lead poisoning in loons. However, the use of lead fishing tackle of any size is still permitted throughout the state. This has resulted in the continued poisoning and death of Adirondack loons, eagles and other wildlife, according to the loon center.

Beginning in the summer of 2020, the loon center’s lead buy-back program will enable anglers to exchange one ounce or more of lead fishing tackle for a $10 voucher for non-toxic tackle at fishing tackle shops throughout the Adirondacks. The loon center seeks to supply 50 to 100 vouchers to at least five tackle shops in the Adirondacks next summer.

People looking to support the program can contribute at the Adirondack Gives campaign site titled “Help Prevent Lead Poisoning in Loons by Supporting the ACLC’s Lead Buy-Back Program!” People can also contact the ACLC at info@adkloon.org or 518-354-8636 for more information.