[Tweeters] Strange Mallard Deaths at Gog-le-hi-te Wetlands Tacoma

Hal Michael ucd880 at comcast.net
Sat Mar 10 07:45:07 PST 2018

I remember that Wapato die-off and I agree with Kelly that it was probably toxic algae. FYI, some of the toxic algae blooms on occasion "penetrate" the fish so that they accumulate and pass on the toxin.

As to botulism, this was a rather common problem in the 30s and 40s and referred to as "Western Duck Disease". Clostridium is a common enough bacteria and when anoxic conditions get "good"... We were down in the Bosque del Apache refuge complex one winter and the state and feds were actively moving cranes and geese around the Valley to avoid botulism. Even so, they were losing a few birds annually.

Hal Michael
Science Outreach Director, Sustainable Fisheries Foundation
Olympia WA
360-791-7702 (C)
ucd880 at comcast.net

> On March 9, 2018 at 10:23 PM Kelly McAllister <mcallisters4 at comcast.net> wrote:



> When I was the District Wildlife Biologist for Thurston and Pierce Counties

> I investigated a duck (I think it was mallard and wigeon) and turtle die-off

> at Wapato Lake. The assumption, among the waterfowl biologists, was

> Botulism. The turtles, though, were puzzling. At least, I don't remember

> hearing anything about turtles being vulnerable to Botulism. I wondered

> about toxic algal blooms and Wapato Lake seemed like it was a good

> candidate, highly enriched with a variety of sources of nitrogen and

> phosphorus. I remember the toxicology work on the turtles was not terribly

> conclusive, poor body condition and protozoan infection. I don't remember if

> the WSU poultry lab in Puyallup came back with anything useful on the

> waterfowl. Somewhere I have a picture of the lineup of sliders I collected

> for necropsy that day, five or six I think. It's not a pretty sight to walk

> around a lake and see dead things all along the way. I think of these things

> being a risk during the warm days of summer, not the waning days of winter.


> Kelly McAllister




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