A 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay killed more than 500 common loons. (Daniel Poleschook/USFWS)

RI - Loon, Eider Habitat to be Restored Across New England

State and federal environmental agencies will use $8.3 million from the Buzzards Bay oil spill natural-resource settlement to restore common loons and other birds throughout New England that were impacted by the 2003 spill.

After incorporating comments from the public, the trustees’ final restoration plan includes the following:

To return and increase loons to more water bodies in Massachusetts through the release of 45 to 60 common loon chicks from Maine and New York to historic Bay State breeding sites at Assawompset Pond Complex in Lakeville and October Mountain Reservoir in Washington. In Massachusetts, common loons disappeared as a nesting bird for decades until 1975, and have since primarily returned to breed in the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs and a few other central Massachusetts waters. Funds allocated: $2,684,500.

Increase survival of nesting loons at many breeding sites across New England and New York. Funds allocated: $3,685,500. Several types of projects will be selected through a competitive grant process, such as deploying nesting rafts to withstand fluctuating water levels and reduce disturbance from predators and people, installing educational signs and hiring seasonal wardens to watch over nests to reduce disturbance, and preserving land to protect loon breeding habitat.

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