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Stewarding Glade Run Lake by Collecting Leftover Fishing Line

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

Written by Peter Walker, GRLC Board Member

Last week I took the kayak out on the lake for half an hour at dusk. Just so beautiful - mirror smooth water, quiet bird song, and a few turtles lazily looking at me. But my real purpose was to hunt down and take out a killer. Not a bobcat or a bear, but simple fishing line.

It takes about 600 years for micrfilament line to decompose, and in that time, it kills countless birds, small mammals, and fish. The problem is that the line is left caught around bushes and dangling in the water, often with hooks and lures still attached. The photo below shows all the lines I retrieved in just half an hour, including floats, lures, and a hook big enough to catch a shark (and just to note, there are no sharks in Glade Run Lake).

Birds often use small pieces of line to make their nests. One of our board members took the photo below a few weeks ago. Great recycling on the part of the birds, but unfortunately, the baby chicks often get tangled in the line and die.

Veterinarians and wildlife centers report that about half the birds brought into them, tangled in line, die. Please dispose of your line properly, and if you see fishing line on bushes when you are out walking or kayaking, get as much of it as you can and dispose of it. The proper way to dispose of fishing line is to cut it into pieces less than six inches long and place it, along with any hooks and tackle, in the provided containers around the lake or take it home and put it in your trash can.

Fishing lines can also be recycled through organizations like the Berkeley Conservation Institute. Since their recycling initiative began in 1990, Berkeley has recycled more than nine million miles of fishing line - enough to fill two reels for every angler in the United States!

Enjoy the lake and the wildlife and help us keep it safe for all.

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