GreenCorps members Alero Moju and Noelle Hitz had big plans for the Get the Lead Out! (GTLO) campaign this summer. They planned to hit the road, spreading the word about lead-free fishing tackle to save loons and other wildlife. And then…well, 2020.
Plan B arrived in the form of a social sweepstakes to virtually educate the public about the toxins in their tackle boxes. And nothing helps the education go down like a heap of prizes! The GTLO sweeps launched on Monday, July 20, by inviting the public to tag and share on the agency’s social platforms. These actions give participants chances to win stickers, t-shirts, bucket hats, and lead-free tackle, while learning about the relationship between lead and loons. (Sorry, MPCA employees, family, or roommates, we aren't eligible – but can still spread the word!)
Lead and loons
Found in most fishing jigs and sinkers, lead poisons wildlife including loons, eagles, and other waterfowl. Switching from lead weights and sinkers to those made from tin, steel, bismuth, and other materials protects our state bird when they inadvertently swallow lost tackle while scooping up pebbles to help grind their food. Research around the nation has found that poisoning from lead fishing tackle is responsible for 12 to 50 percent of adult loon deaths.
About the grant
On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig resulted in 168 million gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 87 days. This killed thousands of birds, fish, and marine mammals, including Minnesota’s breeding loon population that winters in the Gulf.
In an effort to compensate the public for injuries to natural resources and recreational use caused by the spill, the MPCA’s Get the Lead Out! campaign is funded by the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment project settlement. The grant funds the three-year campaign to educate Minnesotans on the dangers that lead tackle poses to wildlife and promotes the availability and use of nonlead tackle. The Get the Lead Out! initiative is supported by the state government, as well as lake associations, conservation organizations, and those involved in the fishing and tackle industry.
Watch for other portions of the campaign such as the #GTLO challenge!
Visit the GTLO sweepstakes page for contest rules.