Sources of Pollution: Waterfowl & Wildlife


Animals such as birds and mammals that live in the water.


How does this cause Non-Point Source Pollution?

Waterfowl like ducks and geese migrate to South Louisiana every fall in large numbers. Mammals, such as nutria, live in the water year-round, eating up marsh plants. Both waterfowl and nutria deposit feces into lakes, streams, and wetlands. The fecal matter is organic matter that can lower the dissolved oxygen in the water. This is a natural source of pollution both as organic matter and disease-causing organisms.

Standards for disease-causing organisms in Louisiana are based on a group of bacteria called fecal coliform bacteria. These bacteria are used to detect the level of disease-causing organisms and untreated sewage in water. Fecal coliform bacteria come from the intestines of warm-blooded animals. However, there can be problems with using these bacteria as indicators of sewage levels when there are large numbers of wildlife near a waterbody. Certain types of fecal coliform bacteria can cause serious health problems in people. When officials find these bacteria in a waterbody above the standard levels, they must close the waterbody to swimming.

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