ALBANY, N.Y. — Researchers say a 10-year study of Adirondack loons shows mercury contamination can lead to population declines because birds with elevated mercury levels produce fewer chicks than those with low levels.

The report released today summarizes field research conducted by the Biodiversity Research Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The work, sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, gathered baseline data to monitor mercury and support environmental regulation.

Mercury contamination in the Adirondacks comes mainly from emissions from coal-fired power plants in the Midwest. In December, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized standards that require coal-fired power plants to update their mercury pollution controls.

The study found more than half the adult Adirondack loons are at a moderate to high risk of mercury poisoning.

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