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LOST LAKE - The Okanogan Highlands provide some of the best loon-nesting habitat in Washington State, with rich wetlands at the lake’s edge providing ideal conditions for floating mat nests. Lost Lake is no exception, producing more loon chicks on record than any other lake in state. Unfortunately, this year, a fishing tackle jig became embedded in the tongue of the male loon at Lost Lake. “This may have been caused by ingesting a fish on an active fishing line,� says Ginger Poleschook, who has been conducting Washington Common Loon observation and conservation efforts with her husband Dan for 20 years. At first it was not clear whether the male would be able to survive with this impediment. “This tackle could have impaired the loon’s ability to feed and care for the nest and young, but it looks like he is doing pretty well now,� says Jeff Heinlen, Wildlife Biologist for the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). He continues, “This situation is a good example of why there is a lead tackle restriction on this lake. Loons can ingest and become poisoned from lead fishing tackle. The lead restriction is in place to prevent that.� On May 10, Ginger and Dan Poleschook, with the help of Dan Furlong and Jeff Heinlen, attempted to capture the male utilizing a pursein fishing net and decoys painted by Ginger.

Ginger & Dan Poleschook/submitted photo

The male Lost Lake loon, with a fishing tackle jig embedded in its tongue and fishing line protruding from the beak. The Lost Lake male loon is not banded because he has evaded capture every summer during the banding effort coordinated by the Loon Lake Loon Association and the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI). The male again avoided capture, so the fishing tackle remained embedded. Beating the odds, the male adult has survived for over eight weeks since the tackle was first observed, and possibly longer since it was acquired. Despite the injuries caused by the tackle and line, the pair has successfully produced two chicks, hatched on June 5 and 6. The BRI capture crew will attempt to capture the male in July during the annual capture, banding and lab sampling of adults and chicks, and they will assess if there is any action necessary at that time. In the meantime, the male has been observed foraging, vocalizing, and assisting

with care and protection of the chicks. Community members are encouraged to watch the loons from a respectful distance and if a beached or dead loon is found, it is important to contact Jeff Heinlen at 509-826-7372. According to Dr. Mark Pokras’ Common Loon research (Tufts University, New Hampshire), if loons ingest lead fishing tackle, they will expire in two to three weeks from lead toxicosis. It is prohibited to use lead weights and jigs that measure 1.5 inches or less along the longest axis at the 13 lakes in Washington State where the lead restriction is in place for nesting loons. Heinlen adds, “Please remember that responsible fishing includes collecting all broken fishing line and tackle, and using lead-free tackle.� The community can learn more about loons by reading public information signs posted at Lost and Bonaparte Lakes. More information can also be found at www. OHA owns and manages the Lost Lake Wetland and Wildlife Preserve, initiated in 2010 to protect 40 acres of wetland and 25 acres of adjacent upland forest at the south end of Lost Lake. The Preserve includes family-friendly hiking trails, which are open to the public and feature full-color interpretive signage. For more information about the Lost Lake Wetland and Wildlife Preserve, contact julie@ or 509476-2432. Okanogan Highlands Alliance is a non-profit that works to educate the public on watershed issues.

Lisa Middleton/Great River Arts

A hand-tinted re-creation of the first Indian allotments in Washington State, among the earliest in the U.S., was done by map artist Lisa Middleton of Great River Arts. The map was made in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, where these allotments were then located. The original map is done on linen and is not hand tinted, but local historian Karen Beaudette asked Middleton to create the hand-tinted version for display.

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Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune, June 19, 2014  

June 19, 2014 edition of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune

Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune, June 19, 2014  

June 19, 2014 edition of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune