Duluth, MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - After reaching near extinction, the American White Pelicans are making their way back to Minnesota.
The pelicans were near extinction in the early 20Th century...with no reports of nesting pelicans in Minnesota for 90 years...from 1878 until 1968.
The Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill impacted pelican habitat in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Surveys of pelican colonies in Minnesota, which migrate to the Gulf during winter months, are being conducted to assess whether the spill had an impact on Minnesota breeding populations.
Thanks to conservation efforts by the DNR's Non-game Wildlife Program, along with federal protection, pelicans have been making a significant comeback here in Minnesota.
"There's 22-thousand nesting pairs which is quite a few, especially when you think about where they came from, but they're isolated into 16-nesting colonies, so they're still a little bit vulnerable in that they concentrate their nesting in a small area and if something happens to that area it can have a fairly large impact on the populations," said Balzer.
Balzer says the DNR will continue to monitor the pelican populations to make sure they continue to flourish.