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Birds, fish dying from recent heat wave

Birds, fish dying from recent heat wave

By WTMJ News Team. CREATED Jul 13, 2012

MILWAUKEE- The heat and the drought have put wildlife under a lot of stress.

There have been reports of birds and fish dying in Wisconsin's heat wave.

It's something they're keeping a close eye on at the Urban Ecology Center.

Department of Natural Resources crews have discovered at least 40 dead birds within the Horicon Marsh -- with tens of thousands of dead fish.

The cause of death: Botulism.

It has wildlife officials across southeast Wisconsin on alert.

Botulism breaks out in conditions where water levels are low and the water is heated to a temperature that it's not normally heated to.

This creates a breeding ground for bacteria.

Fish are having issues; even the bugs that fish would eat and birds would eat and small mammals would eat.

They're all struggling right now.

Dry plants and trees are also feeding the problem.

What happens is the plants dry because of the drought, they fall into the river and start to decompose.  That creates an anaerobic environment, so there's low oxygen levels and anything that depends on the dry plants and trees starts suffering as a consequence.

And wildlife experts say it will take more than a day of rain to fix this environmental problem.  But there is something homeowners can do to help -- which is get a bird bath, and fill it with fresh water every day.

Friday's rain is not expected to put an end to the wildlife problems anytime soon.

It will take a lot more moisture to correct the problem, said experts.