History of the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation

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The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation evolved from research initiated by Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) in 1998 to assess the impact of environmental mercury pollution on aquatic ecosystems throughout North America using the Common Loon as an indicator species. Over many decades, global and national emissions from coal-fired power plants have been a significant source of environmental mercury contamination and acid deposition in the Northeast, greatly affecting the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

In New York, blood and feather samples were collected by BRI from loons in the Adirondack Park from 1998-2000 to determine the mercury exposure of Adirondack loons. In 2001, BRI collaborated with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and the Audubon Society of New York State, to establish a partnership called the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program to further expand this research and to develop educational and outreach programs.

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In 2007, the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program was integrated into the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program, and was then known as WCS’ Adirondack Loon Conservation Program. In 2009, the administration of the partnership transferred to BRI, and it was renamed to BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, as part of BRI’s larger national and regional loon conservation and research programs. In November, 2016, the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation (also known as the Adirondack Loon Center) became incorporated in New York State as a separate entity from BRI to continue and advance the numerous research and educational programs that have been developed since 1998. In May, 2017, the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation assumed responsibility for the loon research, educational/outreach, and conservation-management programs formerly conducted by BRI in New York, particularly the Adirondack Park.