Michigan Loon Preservation Association: Supporting Michigan Loonwatch: Michigan's Official Statewide Loon Monitoring, Research and Protection Group
Michigan Loonwatch Operates Under the Direction of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Following the Guidelines of the Michigan Loon Recovery Plan

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lakes, Loons and Limnology

"Contentedly Waiting": Loon on MLPA-MLW Nesting Island: by Ross Powers

Lakes, Loons and Limnology
by Ross Powers, retired Aquatic Biologist U.S. EPA, member Michigan Loon Preservation Association

Clean Lakes Attract Loons
Did you know that loons once nested on many southern Michigan lakes? Now you are lucky to find them on lakes south of Clare. Why? Here is a hint: there is a connection between clean water and the bird that symbolizes pure Michigan. Common Loons nest on lakes with clean, clear water and healthy fish populations. They avoid lakes that are too polluted or clogged with weeds. That restricts the lakes that can attract and support loons. Because loons naturally select clean, healthy lakes for their homes, we can use them as biological indicators providing early warnings of degrading water quality.

Because both people and wildlife are are impacted by poor lakes conditions it is important to recognize and preserve lakes with good water quality. The mournful call of a loon is mimicked by Hollywood to provide the feeling of pristine northern living. People value this feeling, and are typically willing to pay more for homes on lakes with loons. Loons are part of the total lake living package on many of our lakes. As a kid, I loved growing up on a lake in Michigan. because there was always something to see and do. I loved the whole experience of being on a lake. Boats, swimmers, ducks and other wildlife were always coming and going. I liked clear lakes for swimming, and other lakes with a few more weeds for fishing. I learned to value the quality of the water in a lake, because it determined how I could use it.

Some lakes are geologically old, and appear to be polluted, but are not. Other lakes with too many weeds can be salvaged if we detect problems early. Excessive nutrients due to inadequate septic systems are bad for fishing, people and loons. Being aware of changes in your lake's water quality can help prevent losing the use of the lake for swimming, aesthetics and wildlife watching. That is where MICorps (or CLMP) water quality monitoring can help. Be informed and you can make a difference.

Lake Associations Are Good For People and Loons
Michigan Lake and Stream Associations are working to provide solutions to problems found on our waters. Armed with the correct information, they can protect your lake. When needed, they can restrict abusive boat traffic, monitor lake conditions, and report changes in the wildlife and environment. By leeping lakes healthy, lake associations are invaluable stewards of our water quality. Poor environmental conditions affect people and wildlife in and around lakes. Water clarity and invasive weeds are stealthy problems that can diminish the use of a lake. As a lake resident, you can prevent the loss of these healthy lakes by simply taking some easy samples and observations. Lake residents, working with the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program (www.micorps.net) can provide data to support pollution prevention actions. Lake Associations do many things to protect lakes and, at the same time, this protects the habitat of the the Threatened Common Loons. The health of Michigan's loon population is monitored by the Michigan Loon Preservation Association. The members of MLPA provide this data,through its Michigan Loonwatch Program, for natural resource scientists. You can learn more about loons and how to attract them to your lake, by visiting www.michiganloons.org or joining the Michigan Loon Preservation Association.
MLPA memberships begin at $10. Please visit www.michiganloons.org for information and our membership form.
Thank You!