Increased marmot populations causing damage in parks and neighboring orchards – risk to humans
Pesky marmot activities at Chelan PUD Kirby Billingsley Hydro Park and Riverfront Park in Wenatchee and in the past at the Rocky Reach Hydro project are nothing new. These common rodents have wreaked havoc on flower plantings, as well as causing fish habitat damage and riverbank destabilization along the rocky banks of the Columbia and Chelan Rivers. Chelan PUD is asking for the public’s help – PLEASE, Don’t feed the marmots.
While these critters may look cute, they can carry diseases such as Sylvatic plague, spread by marmot fleas that can come into contact with domestic pets and humans. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is another disease spread by marmots from infected ticks. And, marmot droppings can carry cryptosporidiosis that can cause nausea and diarrhea.
With no real predators, marmots become quite tame and will take advantage of food being left by people who, although well-meaning, are putting the marmot at risk, as well as the public. Marmot populations are increasing rapidly, which means that there’s more competition for food and homes and the greater likelihood of diseases and parasites. An agitated marmot will bite. Washington State Parks & Recreation prohibits the feeding of wildlife in their parks for this very reason.
These rodents aren’t polite visitors to our parks either. They destroy park properties and there’s a risk of marmots venturing beyond park areas into other parts of the community or into neighborhoods. Marmots have been known to chew through fuel and water hoses on cars resulting in thousands of dollars in personal property damage.
Chelan PUD asks for the public’s cooperation and NOT FEED THE MARMOTS! The PUD will be putting signs into the parks to inform the public on the risks of feeding marmots. For more information, please visit our website www.chelanpud.org/parks-and-recreation.