MARYSVILLE (CBS13) – Ellis Lake is normally a peaceful setting for the Tarpelle family in the tiny town of Marysville.
“I like to watch the lake and feed the ducks,” said Owen Tarpelle.
However, since the weekend the ducks they’ve grown to love are dwindling in population at the lake. Their bodies were found floating in the water, washed ashore and disrupting people enjoying the scenery.
Fish and Game counts about 30 dead ducks.
“It’s a mystery so far,” said Sgt. Christian Sachs of the Marysville Police Department.
The latest dead duck was found Thursday and sent straight to Fish and Game, where scientists will figure out what exactly caused the deaths of nearly two dozen ducks last Saturday alone.
“They’re believing it’s either the avian cholera or botulism,” said Sachs.
Avian botulism is a bacteria that requires warm temperatures to grow. Cholera grows in cold temperatures. Both, obviously deadly, can’t be transferred to people but only to other animals. And, it may have already spread.
“There’s just been a lot of dead ducks and actually a lot of dead fish,” said Marysville citizen Alex Gowin. “Just like really big fish, just like floating on top of the water.”
And as Fish and Game work to close the case on the sudden outbreak at Ellis Lake, the only positive sign so far is that the deaths seem to be tapering off.
“It has to be the pollution,” said Gowin. “Have you seen how dirty the lake is? It’s really dirty.”
The cash-strapped city historically has had problems keeping the lake clean, and that’s being compounded by the dead ducks.