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Ten Mile Lake Association


Fall Edition, 2001



Healthy Lakes | Loons and Lead


by Bob Crom and Marty McCleery

On September 7, a team composed of Gail Becher, Tom Cox, Bob Crom, Marty McCleery and Association President Don Willis completed the training phase of the Healthy Lakes Program (HLP).

THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION/INITIATIVE FOUNDATION HLP is designed to encourage and support lake associations interested in implementing an effective lake management plan (LMP) and to ensure that the lake community has a voice in the environmental and social decisions that affect them within their watershed.

DURING THE TWO DAYS OF TRAINING at Deep Portage team members participated in sessions on resource assessment, setting goals and objectives for LMP, communications, developing a vision for LMP, and identification of local, State and federal information and financial resources for developing and carrying out a LMP.

IN THE COMING MONTHS the TMLA HLP team, under the leadership of Marty McCleery, will be involving Board members, committee chairs and co/chairs, and others in evaluating and updating our current LMP. Subsequent steps will involve hearing from you and other property owners in the watershed, updating the LMP vision and identifying the key problems and actions on which to focus attention over the next three to five years.

COMPLETION OF THE TRAINING PHASE has qualified the Association for an immediate $400 grant and also provided eligibility for follow-up funding to achieve TMLA goals by implementing actions identified in subsequent phases. Funding for this initiative comes from the McKnight Foundation and the Laura Jane Musser Fund. There is the added possibility of matching funds from other local, State, and federal agencies that have an interest in implementing recommended initiatives.

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by Carl Hertzman

THE AUGUST-SEPTEMBER ISSUE of National Wildlife magazine has a definitive article on lead poisoning in loons and other birds. According to the article, it is estimated that nationwide twenty percent of loon deaths are caused by lead poisoning, from lead shot, sinkers and jigs. The ingestion of lead by loons causes 100 percent mortality within one week. The second most affected bird is the pelican; others include swans and eagles. [The Summer issue of the Newsletter carried an article about an eagle found near Ten Mile Lake dying of lead poisoning.]

SINKERS UNDER ONE OUNCE and jigs under one-half ounce should not be used, since loons can ingest them. The birds will swallow lead pellets, along with pebbles they find on the lake bottom, to help grind up food in the stomach. It is better to switch to steel devices. The National Wildlife Foundation recommends the "Ultra Steel" sinkers used in their program but there are multiple other manufacturers. The problem is more severe in New England, possibly because the lakes there are shallower. Please note that the fishermen there report that they catch more fish with the steel devices, which give better sensation at the end of the line. There are other safe materials such as ceramic; zinc, however, is as toxic as lead. (Some believe that air-born mercury is a long-term threat to these birds as well, but there is little that can be done about this threat on a local level; the solution would require control of emissions from incinerators, power plants, etcetera.)

THE OUTLOOK FOR NATIONWIDE PROHIBITION of lead sinkers is not good because of political opposition. In New England, however, some states and communities are passing laws against the use of lead sinkers, and some have set up programs to fund exchanges in which fishermen turn in lead sinkers and receive steel ones. 

PLEASE NOTE THAT if, as we urge you to do, you choose to get rid of your lead sinkers and jigs, you cannot simply throw them in the garbage. (And, for heaven's sake, do not throw them in the lake!) They constitute hazardous waste, and should be turned in to the Cass County Recycling Center in a bucket.

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Copyright 2001-2016 Ten Mile Lake Association. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 30, 2016.

This site was created and is maintained by G. Cox.
Please send any feedback or content to association@tenmilelake.org.

Ten Mile Lake Association, Inc. P.O. Box 412, Hackensack, MN 56452