Celebrating 40 Years of Loon Preservation in New Hampshire
The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) was created in 1975 in response to concerns about a dramatically declining loon population and the effects of human activities on loons. LPC’s mission is to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons throughout New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the larger natural world.
For over 40 years, the Loon Preservation Committee has undertaken state-wide monitoring, research, management and outreach to preserve loons and their habitats. LPC staff and a large grassroots network of over 1,500 members and volunteers work to:
- Monitor the number and breeding success of loons to identify trends and areas of concern;
- Band loons to study their life history;
- Rescue sick or injured loons to be rehabilitated and released;
- Recover dead loons and non-viable eggs to determine contaminant levels and causes of death;
- Quantify the challenges facing loons, and our success in helping loons cope with them;
- Digitally map loon nesting and nursery sites to identify and protect critical habitat;
- Build and float nesting rafts, and protect nesting loons on rafts and on natural nest sites;
- Educate the public about loons through exhibits, presentations to schools and other groups, summer programs, signs, our website, and The Loon Center in Moultonborough;
- Increase awareness and appreciation for loons and other wildlife in New Hampshire
- Implement all of the above as part of a comprehensive Loon Recovery Plan to ensure the long-term viability of New Hampshire’s loon population.
LPC was the first organized effort to study and work toward the preservation of loons in North America. Since its inception, LPC has created the most complete and longest-running database of loon populations and productivity that exists anywhere in the world, and conducted the most comprehensive research ever undertaken on contaminants and other challenges facing loons. As we’ve learned about our loons and their challenges, we’ve discovered that loons are uniquely able to illuminate threats to other wildlife and to the aquatic environments on which we all depend. This insight has led us to expand LPC’s mission over time to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality. Our research has resulted in a large number of peer-reviewed published papers, and in first-in-the-nation legislation to address wildlife issues such as lead fishing tackle and mercury in the environment.
The Loon Preservation Committee was one of the first organizations anywhere to show that coordinated and thoughtful human actions could reverse the decline of a threatened or endangered species. LPC’s groundbreaking research and management to safeguard our loon population, and its leadership among organizations working to preserve threatened and endangered species, has been recognized by special citations from New Hampshire’s Governor John Lynch, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Wildlife Federation. Our success has inspired the creation of state-wide, regional and even international organizations to preserve loons, and our efforts continue to benefit other species that depend on clean water, natural shorelines and functioning ecosystems.