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Oil spill settlement to fund loon conservation projects in Maine and other New England states.

According to the Associated Press, reduced loon populations have been attributed to hunting, habitat loss and pollution.

MAINE, USA — A handful of projects in New England and New York are slated to receive more than $3.5 million in funding to help protect common loons. 

Loons have been the focus of conservation efforts throughout the country, and they have slowly come back in some states, including Maine. 

According to the Associated Press, reduced loon populations around the country have been attributed to "hunting, habitat loss and pollution," They said. "But environmental protections have helped the birds recover somewhat. Protections have included bans on lead tackle, which can poison the birds; 'no wake zones,' which require boaters to travel slowly, have also helped the birds successfully nest."

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said state and federal regulators have picked six projects to receive money via a settlement stemming from an oil spill. The Bouchard B-120 oil spill in 2003 in Buzzards Bay off Massachusetts killed more than 500 loons and resulted in a $13.3 million settlement. The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation to restore breeding common loons in Adirondack Park in New York will receive $800,000, according to the Associated Press. A $440,000 grant will go to the Vermont Center for Ecostudies to help increase loon populations in Vermont. 

The remaining grants will go to help projects in Maine New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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