New Loon Alert Signs for Madge Lake
Submitted by YFBTA member, Doug Welykholowa, chairperson 



The new Loon Alert Signs that were produced by the YFBTA Loon Initiatives Committee, in conjunction with the Duck Mountain Provincial Park Staff, and supported by a grant from the Saskatchewan Fish & Wildlife Development fund, have been delivered to the park.  The Park Staff have put a large sign up at each of the three marinas on Madge and at Batka Lake, as well as a smaller version on Little Jackfish Lake.  With the remainder of the funds, and with the help and cooperation of the Park staff, we also built 15 Loon Nesting Area buoys.  The park aided us greatly by providing the PVC pipe & end caps as well as the steel anchor cable.  Nine of these buoys were deployed in front of three of the most vulnerable nesting areas (3 each), approximately 50 m from the shore and spaced out over a 150-200 m front.  The intent of the buoys is to warn off speed boats and wake boats from coming too close to these areas, where their wake can easily drown the low-lying nests.  The buoys will be in place during the nesting/incubation period when the nests and newly hatched chicks are most vulnerable to disturbance.  We will likely keep the buoys in place until about the 2nd week in July, when we will remove them until the next season.  

We also ask that persons in canoes, kayaks or on paddle boards exercise caution when near a known nesting area.  If you are near a loon, which or without chicks, that is attempting to avoid you and becomes vocal, please back away and leave the area to avoid stressing the loons. 

The buoys have been painted fluorescent orange for better visibility, and have white and red reflective tape added to the tops for better visibility at night (provided boaters are using their lights).  They have been deployed to the following areas:  The area of the beaver lodge at the South end of East Bay;  The North shore of Bird/Hurricane Island (due east of Spruce Island); and the North shore of Big Bay, way between Tate Island and the NE point of Pelly Bay.   In the unlikely event that one of these buoy should end up somewhere else, please call me at 306-590-8301 to let me know where it is so that I can recover it. 

If anyone has questions about these buoys, please feel free to contact me.   This is a trial to see if we can reduce the vulnerability of certain nesting sites to human disturbance.  In doing so, we are trying to minimize the impact to lake users.  Your  feedback is most welcome and encouraged. 

A big thank you to Greg Podovinnikoff, Ryan Bielecki, the maintenance staff and the Park Interpreters for all the help that they have provided to enable us to complete this portion of our Loon Initiatives project.

Doug Welykholowa
Chairperson YFBTA Loon Initiatives Committee