NDOW, USFWS, Volunteers Continue Efforts to Fight Botulism Outbreak

Fallon, Nev. – The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is continuing its efforts to monitor cases of Botulism within the Truckee Meadows area, and specifically in the Carson Lake Wetlands.  

“The disease is often fatal in birds, but is not harmful to humans,” said Russell Woolstenhulme, Migratory Game Bird Staff Biologist at NDOW. 

A temporary treatment facility has been constructed at Carson Lake Wetlands to assist in the rehabilitation of diseased birds. The Carson Lake Wetlands is a U.S Bureau of Reclamation property, managed by NDOW and is located south of Fallon, Nevada.  

“Efforts have proven to be successful for many shorebirds and ducks,” said NDOW Wildlife Staff Specialist Mike Zahradka.    

NDOW, together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Greenhead Hunting Club and numerous volunteers, is actively trying to keep the area clear from future contamination of waterfowl.   

“Crews have been working daily since the outbreak was detected, including weekends and holidays, to help alleviate the situation,” said Zahradka. “Some days we’ve had as many as four airboats to assist with the clean-up. Our efforts are ongoing and this situation will likely continue for a few more weeks until water temperatures cool off.”  

This is a type C botulism outbreak which is usually triggered when summer temperatures climb above 90° and water levels start to drop. These conditions can cause a decrease in water oxygen levels, which can kill fish and water insects allowing the botulism bacteria to enter a rapid growth phase that leads to toxin production.  Ducks and other water birds pick up the bacteria through feeding and often die.  Affected birds will be weak, unable to fly, walk or swim. 

If interested in volunteering please visit: http://www.ndow.org/Education/Volunteer/ 

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at www.ndow.org