- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) - A Wheaton resident who volunteers with a bird rescue group scans the ground near popular DuPage County fishing spots in search of fishing line that can harm wildlife.

Amy Tavolino told the Daily Herald (https://bit.ly/2dDbLMr) that she has seen numerous animals injured by fishing line and hooks at suburban Chicago parks and forest preserves, including birds entangled in monofilament fishing line that doesn’t decompose.

DuPage forest preserve officials say discarded monofilament fishing line has been an issue for years at the more popular fishing spots. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County began installing recycling bins for monofilament line, which is made from a single fiber of plastic, around busier lakes about five years ago, said Bob McNeel, assistant manager of the district’s west rangers.

“We want people to be able to recreate in the preserves and utilize the resources,” McNeel said. “But we want them also to do it responsibly.”

Hundreds of wild animals injured by fishing tackle are cared for each year at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, according to the district’s fishing guide. The facility treats injured native species with the hope of releasing them back into the wild.

Tavolino said she has seen Canada geese with their legs bound together by fishing line, ducks with hooks in their mouths, and ensnared birds that could have died if they weren’t freed from lines. She said fishermen must properly dispose of unwanted line, hooks, lures and bobbers.

“I am not anti-fishing,” Tavolino said. “I just want to get the word out because there’s so many people that don’t know about this.”

Jay Johnson, a manager of site operations with the district, said staff members try to maintain the areas.

“We also get volunteer groups to help us pick up trash and fishing line whenever possible,” Johnson said.

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Information from: Daily Herald, https://www.dailyherald.com

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