Loon center gets funds from federal oil spill settlement

A common loon sits on its nest. (Provided photo — Dr. Nina Schoch)

SARANAC LAKE — The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation is one of six grant recipients in a natural resource damages settlement from the tank barge Bouchard B-120 oil spill.

The oil spill happened in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts, in April 2003. More than 500 common loons wintering in Buzzard’s Bay were killed by the spill. The B-120 natural resource damage assessment and restoration process provides funding, at no cost to taxpayers, to replace, restore, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources and resource services lost due to the release of hazardous substances into the environment.

“We will be collaborating with SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center, the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation, fishing outfitters and numerous Adirondack lake associations,” said Dr. Nina Schoch, executive director of the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. “This opportunity will enable us to greatly improve the management of loon nesting sites, reduce the threat of lead fishing tackle, increase public awareness about conservation concerns affecting loons, expand our ability to rescue distressed loons, and develop a loon rehabilitation facility in the (Adirondack) Park.”

Funds from the settlement will be used over a five-year period to restore common loon populations throughout New England and New York through a variety of management activities. In New York, the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation will be coordinating numerous projects to:

¯ Increase Adirondack loon reproductive success through improved management of nest sites. The center will expand its Loon-Friendly Lake Certification Program in collaboration with Adirondack lake associations to increase community-based environmental stewardship to better protect Adirondack loons and enhance their reproductive success.

¯ Reduce the morbidity and mortality of Adirondack loons through a combination of community outreach programs, loon rescues and rehabilitation, including a Lead Tackle Buy-Back Program in collaboration with Adirondack fishing tackle outfitters; fishing line recycling containers provided to organizations throughout the park; establishment of three loon rescue teams at key locations in the Park, increasing the efficiency of loon rescues; and establishment of a loon rehabilitation facility in collaboration with the Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb to provide state-of-the-art veterinary diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation for distressed loons.

“We are thrilled to receive this award to better protect loons across New York,” said Susan Semegram, board chair of the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, “and look forward to expanding our partnerships across the Northeast to improve the conservation of Common Loons and their habitats.”

To learn more about the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation visit www.adkloon.org or www.facebook.com/adkloon, or contact info@adkloon.org or 518-354-8636. The Adirondack Loon Center at 15 Broadway in Saranac Lake is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Tuesday.


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