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Loon Rangers

Michigan LoonWatch (MLW) is a management, protection, and registry program of the Michigan Loon Preservation Association (MLPA). LoonWatch was initiated as the Loon Registry in 1986 by The Nature Conservancy and the MDNR Nongame Wildlife Fund. In 1990, the name was changed to Michigan LoonWatch, to reflect its growing emphasis on protection and management and also to match the Wisconsin/Minnesota LoonWatch program. It is administered by the LoonWatch Committee of MLPA. Area coordinators recruit, train, advise, and assist their volunteer Loon Rangers in three areas of the Upper Peninsula and four areas of the Lower Peninsula. The Statewide Coordinator selects and supervises the area coordinators.

Who are the LoonWatch volunteers?
Michigan LoonWatch is a family of volunteers concerned about the protection of common loons and their lakes. Volunteer Loon Rangers are responsible for watching and protecting loons. Statewide and area coordinators are also primarily volunteers. Several MDNR and Forest Service biologists volunteer much time and energy advising LoonWatch volunteers. The MLPA Board and members are also volunteers.

Loon advocates can support these activities by joining and contributing to the MLPA, volunteering for its activities, or participating in Michigan LoonWatch as Loon Rangers or area coordinators. Interested individuals can volunteer for funding search, membership services, merchandise sales, public education, and publicity activities, as a Loon Ranger, or for preparation of materials for Loon Rangers.

Who are the loon rangers?
Over 300 volunteer Loon Rangers protect and monitor loons and their habitat on specific lakes in Michigan. They have been recruited from people living on, summering at, or regularly visiting lakes reported as nesting lakes for loons. They observe loon activities on their lakes from early spring to late summer and then fill out report forms summarizing the numbers of pairs, nests, chicks hatched, and chicks mature enough to fly. They also map loon nesting habitat for use in review of proposed lakeshore projects and management of water levels.

Rangers act to protect loons and loon nesting areas, educate other lake residents and visitors about the need to leave the loons alone, and contact coordinators and DNR biologists for help with problems they are unable to handle. Many Loon Rangers have reported on and protected Michigan loons since 1986, while other have just started. More Loon Rangers will be recruited for new lakes or to replace retiring Loon Rangers.

More info:

Joanne Williams
Michigan LoonWatch Coordinator
P.O. Box 294
Shepherd, MI 48883