The ‘Heat’ is on for us and wildlife

Summer heat is here. The heat and extended daylight mixed with a little rain make beautiful flowers and abundance of produce in vegetable gardens. It can also make intolerable hot humid days for people. As we gather for summer cookouts and pack extra water bottles for staying hydrated, we need to think about proper disposal of these bottles and other materials. Because improperly disposed of solid and hazardous wastes can be harmful to us and wildlife.

Litter can harm wildlife in forests, on beaches, lakes, and in rivers and urban areas. Some accidents that litter can cause are well known, such as cuts received from broken glass or sharp edges on cans. Other lesser known incidents also take place. For example, when mistaken for food, bottle caps eaten by fish or Styrofoam cups eaten by deer cause internal problems for these animals. Small rodents, such as chipmunks, can become trapped in a glass bottle because they are unable to get a footing on the slippery glass to push themselves out.

Plastic litter is a threat in waterways. It has been described as “individual mines waiting for victims.” Some scientists believe that plastic is the most far-reaching, man-made threat facing marine species, annually harming wildlife. Recycle plastic when possible. Other problems for wildlife are created by improper disposal of hazardous wastes. If high doses of hazardous wastes are released into an animal’s environment, it can have sudden and horrible effects, such as massive fish kills in streams and lakes. Prolonged exposure to low level doses of hazardous chemicals also affects wildlife and humans.

While we are concerned for wildlife’s health and safety and our water quality, we understand wild critters also can be a nuisance when they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The City of Powell is hosting a workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 in the Municipal Building East Room to show appropriate ways to handle nuisance wildlife. Staff from the Division of Wildlife will teach identification, mechanisms of control, and signs of problematic critters. Registrations for this workshop will be taken through July 9th by calling the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District at 740-368-1921.

-Contributed by the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District