The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking volunteers for its loon monitoring program.
As part of this effort, the DNR has launched a new online system that will help volunteers identify lakes available for monitoring.
Volunteers will be able to use the system to manage their lake assignments, view information for their lakes and print datasheets.
"This new system improves data collection and user interaction, greatly increasing the efficiency of the sign-up process for volunteers and enriching the volunteer experience," said Krista Larson, DNR nongame research biologist.
The program is recruiting volunteers to count the number of adult and juvenile loons on pre-selected lakes. The annual loon count gives the DNR the ability to detect changes in the adult loon population and to anticipate any problems that could jeopardize the future of loons in Minnesota.
Volunteers are needed for one morning between Friday, June 28 and Monday, July 8 to help count loons on 150 specific lakes in Aitkin, Becker, Crow Wing, Cook, Itasca, Kandiyohi, Lake, and Otter Tail counties.
Detailed instructions, training materials, maps and a data form will be provided. The time commitment is two to four hours per lake. Surveys must be done sometime between 5 a.m. and noon. Volunteers must complete assigned lake(s) within the specified time frame and return completed survey materials.
The online system was funded by a donation from the Minnesota United soccer team, whose mascot is a loon. "The Nongame Wildlife Program is grateful to the Minnesota Loons for providing the much-needed funding for this enhancement to our volunteer monitoring program," Larson said.
To see what lakes need a volunteer survey or to sign up, go to mndnr.gov/eco/nongame/projects/mlmp_state.html and click on "Volunteer Map."
For questions or more information, call or email a regional loon monitoring coordinator:
• Becker and Otter Tail counties: Nettie Cole, Bemidji, 218-308-2620, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Cook, Lake and Itasca counties: Bry Persing, Eveleth, 218-735-3962, email@example.com.
• Aitkin and Crow Wing counties: Karen McLennan, Brainerd, 218-203-4352, firstname.lastname@example.org.