The Swim 2016
Wendy Van de Poll and her team of swimmers swam the seven-mile length of Squam Lake to raise money for the Squam Lake Loon Initiative. All contributions are tax deductible and support the Loon Preservation Committee!
Between the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005, Squam Lake lost seven of its loon pairs. This decline, from 16 to 9 pairs, represented 44% of Squam’s loon population, a drop unprecedented on Squam or any other large lake in the Loon Preservation Committee (LPC)’s 40-year history of monitoring loons. It also brought Squam’s loon population to its lowest level since LPC began to survey the lake in 1975. The decline was followed by an almost complete reproductive failure of the remaining loon population – only one loon chick was fledged from the lake in 2007, and the lake has averaged only two surviving chicks since 2008. The Loon Preservation Committee has been investigating possible causes of these declines to reverse these troubling population trends on Squam. Our efforts have included:
- testing inviable loon eggs collected from failed loon nests, blood and feather samples, and any dead loons we find, for a wide range of contaminants and pathogens;
- LPC’s research has identified high levels of chemical contaminants including flame retardants, stain repellants, PCB’s, and insecticides like DDT in Squam’s loon eggs.
- testing crayfish and sediment samples in an effort to identify possible sources of the contaminants found in Squam’s loon eggs;
- banding loons to track the survival, breeding success and wintering locations of individuals;
- analyzing the effects of a wide range of other factors on loon survival and breeding success, including fish populations, predator populations, recreational use of lakes (including the effects of high levels of lead fishing tackle mortality on Squam’s loon population), precipitation events, and temperature extremes; and,
- intensive management on Squam, including the use of ropes and signs around nesting loons, nesting rafts, and covers on rafts to protect eggs from avian predators.
These efforts are expensive – LPC’s testing of loon samples is the most comprehensive ever undertaken, and it costs LPC over $3,000 to test a single loon egg. You can help support LPC’s work to safeguard loons on Squam Lake.
For more information on LPC’s Squam Lake Loon Initiative, click here.
Click here to purchase a "Squim Cap" and support Wendy and her team of swimmers.