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Posted on: April 8, 2021

Chisago County is "Getting the Lead Out" for Loons!

Loon Graphic with text Get the Lead Out

Chisago County is "Getting the Lead Out" for Loons!

Chisago County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is participating in a pilot program with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. "Get the Lead Out!"is a tackle trade-in program allowing angles to surrender any amount of lead tackle in exchange for a sample pack of lead-free alternatives, at both the Government Center (Environmental Services Department) which is located at 313 N Main St in Center City, and the HHW Facility which is located at 39649 Grand Avenue in North Branch.

Minnesota has one of the nation's largest breeding loon populations, but hundreds die each year from ingesting lead fishing tackle. They scoop up pebbles from lake bottoms to use in their gizzard to grind food, as tackle resembles small rocks. A single split shot or jig will kill an adult loon. Lead poisoned birds exhibit loss of balance, weakness, tremors, and an inability to fly, eat, or care for their young, and generally die within three weeks of ingestion. An estimated 14% of loon deaths in Minnesota are directly attributed to lead poisoning, and they are not the only ones! The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) estimates that 40 percent of swan deaths are due to lead poisoning as well.

Two Adult Loons and one baby loon swimming in the water


The prevent this, anglers can use sinkers and jigs made from non-poisonous metals found at sporting goods retailers. For more information, check out the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MN PCA) website.

In addition, unwanted tackle and fishing line can be disposed of at the Chisago County Hook, Link & Sinker Recycling Stations, which are the white PVC "periscope" collectors located at boat landings throughout the county, and at the HHW Building in North Branch.

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