Loon Preservation Committee (LPC)

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The Challenge

Loons, a sentinel species and indicator of environmental quality in New Hampshire, are dying in large numbers from ingesting lead fishing gear. The Loon Preservation Committee (LPC) has worked proactively with the New Hampshire State Legislature to create a first-in-the-nation state law that cuts off the source, lead fishing sinkers and lead-headed jigs weighing an ounce or less, addressing the root cause challenge. 

As an advisor, Howell Conservation Fund is facilitating a pilot program focused on removing lead fishing tackle in New Hampshire. By funding research into a buyback program, Howell Conservation Fund is testing incentives for anglers to turn in specifically sized lead fishing gear, the #1 factor inhibiting loon survival and recovery. 

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Our Approach

Through relationship building with LPC, Howell Conservation Fund became the first funder to support a pilot lead tackle buyback program, testing incentives to get anglers to turn in specific sized lead fishing gear. 

As a partner with LPC, we also built organizational capacity by broadening media coverage and bringing in additional donors.

Outcome

For the 2018 pilot season (Memorial Day to Labor Day), we worked closely with LPC and two retailers to buildout the tackle buyback program, removing almost 5,000 pieces of lead weighing 29 pounds. 

As a partner with LPC, we leveraged the impact of Howell Conservation Fund support >10x by connecting with corporations, foundations, government agencies, and individual donors.  This included a collaboration with the Alex C. Walker Foundation to bring a specific grant from Walker Foundation to LPC.  

For the 2019 season, Howell Conservation Fund worked with another LPC donor to create a fully funded budget of >$100K, including engagement from 4x as many tackle shops (a total of 9 retailers), to test the effectiveness of various marketing campagins for the tackle buyback program. This resulted in the removal of 10,155 pieces of lead tackle (89 pounds total), and dramatically expanded the reach and visibility of the program with the launch of a new "Loon Safe" brand and website.

In 2020, we have continued to advise on both fundraising and program design and expect to meet the goal of 12 participating local retailers.

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Loon project image copyrights: Kittie Wilson and Loon Preservation Committee. All rights reserved.

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