HADLEY, Mass. (AP) - Federal and state environmental agencies are spending more than $8 million from a legal settlement stemming from a 2003 oil spill to help restore the common loon to some areas of Massachusetts, and to support existing populations of the birds across New England and New York, federal wildlife officials said Wednesday.
The plan calls for the release of 45 to 60 common loon chicks from Maine and New York to historic Massachusetts breeding sites at the Assawompset Pond Complex in Lakeville and October Mountain Reservoir in Washington.
Another portion of the settlement will be used to increase survival of nesting loons at many breeding sites in the Northeast.
The final plan also includes projects benefiting common eiders and other coastal birds.
The work is being funded by a 2017 settlement with Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. and others.
More than 500 common loons and more than 500 other birds, including common eiders, black scoters, red-throated loons, grebes, cormorants and gulls were killed in 2003 when a Bouchard oil barge spilled an estimated 98,000 gallons of oil in Buzzards Bay.
“Not only will these projects restore birds affected by the 2003 oil spill, but they’ll ultimately help people connect with nature, perhaps by spotting loons on the water or hearing their iconic calls,” Tom Chapman, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s New England Field Office, said in a statement.
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