Control Work Underway on 5 Michigan Lakes

Beginning in April, 2017, extensive control activities have been underway on five Michigan Lakes.  Higgins Lake, Crystal Lake, Glen Lake, Lime Lake and Lake Leelanau are currently the sites of such activities as common merganser nest location, trapping broods after they leave their nests, and relocating the broods to bodies of water where swimmer's itch cannot occur.

This year, we are fortunate that two  firms - Swimmer's Itch Solutions LLC, and Freshwater Solutions LLC,  who both have extensive experience in swimmer's itch research and control were available to provide these services to the lakes.  

By mid June, many broods have been removed from the lakes, thereby reducing the liklihood that snails will infect new ducklings and perpetuate or increase the levels of cercaria in the water and the danger of swimmers coming into contact with these itch-causing cercaria.  We expect that this work will continue through July

Control Work Continues on 5 Northern Michigan Lakes

Contractors continue to trap, band and remove broods of common mergansers on 5 lakes in Michigan.  To date, 310 common mergansers have been removed.  The goal is to remove all broods from the lakes by the end of July.   Removal of all broods will greatly reduce the infection rate of the snails, and therefore the levels of cercarie (the free-swimming laraval stage of the parasite), which are the cause of swimmer's itch in humans.  Snails that were infected last year will still be "shedding" the cercarie this summer.  Removal of the merganser broods this summer will reduce the likelihood of contracting swimmer's itch next year.


The Michigan Legislature has appropriated $250,000 to help combat the growing problem of swimmer’s itch in Michigan Lakes.  These dollars are intended not only to help lake associations defray the significant cost of control work on their lakes, but to do the important work of more thoroughly understanding the lifecycle of swimmer’s itch, how to measure the levels of swimmer’s itch-causing parasites by interrupting their lifecycle, and how to creating a long-term, cost-effective program which will greatly reduce the incidence of swimmer’s itch.

MISIP, The Michigan Swimmer’s Itch Partnership, spearheaded the effort to bring the swimmer’s itch problem to the attention of the legislature.  “Swimmer’s itch not only causes great discomfort for swimmers when they come in contact with the parasite, but it has a negative impact on our economy, and property values as well”, said Jim Vondale, co-chair of MISIP.  “This appropriation, along with other dollars raised to combat this problem, can make a real difference to all of us to enjoy the waters of Michigan’s beautiful lakes.”

The appropriation will be utilized by MISIP through their partner and fiduciary, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.