Swimmer’s Itch


2019 Progress is being made against Swimmers Itch

      Our second year of contribution to research for Swimmers Itch (SI) is going to continue right into the late fall.   Our water sampling at ten different locations around Walloon Lake, which started in May, will continue until late October.  Our partner-Freshwater Solutions is analyzing these samples that are drawn every Tuesday between 9 AM and 10 AM, and while we have some preliminary results much more information will be available later this year.

     Also, as part of our research, the first-ever bird counts on Walloon have been taken every two weeks on Tuesday mornings.  These bird counts include Seagulls, Geese, Ducks – both Mallards and the SI causing Mergansers-Loons, Swans, and even one Crane.  We have the lake divided into four segments (West Arm, North Arm, Foot Basin, and Main Basin).  The counts on the different segments of the lake at the same time have been incredible.  On September 16th the West Arm had 28 total birds while the Main Basin had 148, two weeks prior it was almost the opposite.  The largest brood of Mergansers was 37 (one mom and 36 chicks). This was obviously the combination of at least two broods where one mother now has all.   One flock of geese was well over 100.

  Some of the early results from our study…

  •  Most “hot spots “ for Swimmers Itch were along the NE shorelines, probably from prevailing winds.
  • Freshwater Solutions have concluded that swimming in the afternoon with an offshore wind will reduce your chances of SI.
  • In 2018 Mergansers on Walloon Lake were found to be carrying a different itch causing parasite than other lakes.  This new species is found in much higher numbers this year compared to last year, what effect this will have overall is being determined.
  • A very small number of Canada Geese and Mallards could also have a minor impact on SI, although Mergansers are the vast majority of the contributors.

          Bird counts will also continue into the late fall and we will have much more to report after all testing is completed.   

Russ Kittleson, Environmental Impact Committee Chair



2018 Swimmer’s Itch Assessment Report

2019 Lake-wide Swimmer’s Itch Study Results