Wisconsin rivers are threatened, not only because of run-off but also invasive species. Invasive snails and the parasites they carry have recently been added to the list because of the harm they pose toward people and animals.
In a small stream in Langlade County near the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest, faucet snails carrying harmful parasites were discovered. One of these parasites targets coots and bluebills, two species of waterfowl. In the Mississippi region, around 120,000 bluebills have already been claimed by their parasites since 2002, according to the National Wildlife Health Center. The Department of Natural Resources identified snails in a sample taken from Elton Creek in December.
The culprits of the invasion might be fishing gear or waders. According to Tim Campbell an aquatic invasive species specialist with UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Sea Grant, the Department of Natural Resources has been successfully educating boaters about how they can prevent the spread of invasive species. They are also continuing to take more samples of the lakes to access the range of snails.
According to the 2013 season surveys, “about 96 percent of boaters were aware of laws regarding the spread of invasive species and at least 93 percent had properly inspected or cleaned boats.”
[Sources: Wisconsin State Journal; Associated Press]