Red Cliff, WI
As an avid fisherman and outdoorsman I am always looking for ways to be environmentally conscious, even when it comes to my tackle box. The "LoonWatch" program collaborated with the "clean sweep" program to help clean up anglers tackle.
Erica LeMoine, with the LoonWatch Program at Sigurd Olson Institute told me "People can come to our tackle exchange events and exchange their lead tackle for non–lead tackle, so we have different size jigs and weights that they can just come to our exchange program and exchange their tackle."
It can be a chore to go through your tackle box, find the lead, properly discard it, then go to the store to replace it.
So the LoonWatch program is making the process easier and cheaper.
"Just one little split–shot this size that is lead will get into a loons digestive system and cause it to die." Said LeMoine
Loons, like many birds, store tiny pebbles in their gizzard to facilitate digestion. Birds can't tell if they're eating a pebble, or a lead sinker. And once ingested, they can quickly get fatal lead poisoning.
LeMoine adds "There's all sorts of water birds, there's geese and swans, and even raptors, and eagles might get a fish that may have swallowed a piece of lead tackle. So all sorts of water birds and then there's wildlife too that are effected."
I went through my own tackle box and was shocked, and disappointed, at what I found.
"WARNING, CONTAINS LEAD! You have all lead split shot. Well let's replace your lead split shot with non–lead split shot." said LeMoine as I shake my head in disappointment.
LeMoine told me, "The main alternatives right now are tungsten, bismuth, tin, and steel that we are offering."
The LoonWatch program will set up shop at the North Lakeland Discovery Center for next year's fishing opener.
They will hand out information and exchange lead tackle for safer alternatives through their "Get the lead out of the Lake" Program.
Meteorologist Adam Lorch
For more info on the LoonWatch Program click on the link: Click here for more information.