Assessing Contaminants in Minnesota's Loons and Pelicans - Phase 2

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient Type
State Government
Start Date
July 2014
End Date
June 2016
Counties Affected
Project Overview

Over a three-month period in 2010, approximately five million barrels of oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and resulting in significant losses in fish and wildlife populations. A number of Minnesota's migratory bird species spend parts of their lives in the areas impacted by the spill and impacts on their populations in the state could become evident over time. Impacts could be from immediate losses of birds that were present at the time of the spill or from cumulative negative effects resulting from contamination of the food chain by petroleum chemicals and the dispersants used on the oil. The two Minnesota species that are potentially most vulnerable are the common loon and the American white pelican; some of their young would have been present in the Gulf at the time of the spill and their behavior and feeding patterns put them at greater risk of exposure to chemicals from the spill persisting in the environment. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using this appropriation to continue efforts aimed at determining whether or not common loon or American white pelican populations in Minnesota have been impacted by the Gulf oil spill. Phase one revealed that there were population losses following the spill and that a significant percentage of Minnesota loons and pelicans have been exposed to oil and dispersant contaminants, which may be having long-term effects by causing changes in behavior, migratory abilities, reproductive success, or longevity. Any impacts documented will be critical for receiving remediation funds from the Federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process currently underway, and those funds could be used to help restore the populations of these two species.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2014, Chp. 226, Sec. 2, Subd. 05g
Appropriation Language

$260,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources to continue to assess the potential impact of petroleum, dispersants, and heavy metal contaminants fromthe Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the wintering habitat of Minnesota's common loons and white pelicans using radiotelemetry, geolocators, and contaminant analysis.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on Work Plan under Project Details.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on Work Plan under Project Details.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Street Address
500 Lafayette Rd, Box 25
St. Paul
Zip Code
(651) 259-5104
Administered By
Administered by

500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

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