2,200 Stool Piles and Counting!

Thank you to the great volunteers who literally lent a hand to keep dog waste from fouling waterways. Photo by Lori Fisher.

What's worse than picking up dog poop?
Stepping in it.

What's worse than stepping in dog poop?
Swimming or fishing in or drinking water with dog poop in it.

To address the problem of abandoned dog poo, the Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) and community partners hosted April Stools' Day events to clean up parks and trails and protect waterways. Clean ups were recently held in Burlington, Bristol, St. Albans and Williston. To date dogged volunteers have picked up and properly disposed of over 2,200 piles of pet poop from trails and parks close to waterways!

Stowe Dootie Day will be held on Saturday May 2 from noon until 3:00 PM with an after party from 3:00 - 6:00 PM. A $400 cash prize will go to the team that collects the most dog poop and $100 prizes will be awarded for the best homemade pooper scooper and best team costume. Additional "scoop the poop" events will be held in other communities in May.

"While many pet owners conscientiously pick up after their dogs, most dog poop that's left behind makes its way into local waterways as runoff," said Lori Fisher, Lake Champlain Committee Executive Director. "Pet waste contains disease-causing bacteria, viruses and lots of excess nutrients that can close a beach to swimming, trigger weed growth and algae blooms, and foul the water."

The Scoop on Poop
Besides the foul smell and the unpleasantness of stepping in hound mounds, pet poop is bad for waterways, lawns and people. Pet waste carries nutrients that feed the growth of weeds and algae in the water. An average size dog dropping produces 3 billion fecal coliform bacteria. Pets are responsible for up to one-third of bacterial pollution in waterways near developed areas. EPA estimates that two or three days' worth of droppings from just 100 dogs contributes enough bacteria to temporarily close a waterbody to swimming and fishing. Woof-waste doesn't make good fertilizer; it burns grass and leaves unsightly discoloring. Infected pet poop can carry the eggs of roundworms and other parasites (like cryptosporidium, giardia, and salmonella) which can linger in soil for years. Anyone gardening, playing sports, walking barefoot, or digging in the infected dirt, risks coming into contact with those eggs. Children are most susceptible since they often play in the dirt and put things in their mouths.

Many thanks to Burlington Parks and Recreation, Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, Franklin County Stormwater, Sustainable Williston, Williston Recreation and Parks, and The Watershed Center for hosting events in April. Please contact LCC at lcc@ lakechamplaincommittee.org or 802 658-1414 if you'd like to help organize a clean-up in your community.

LCC's April Stools' Day and Scoop the Poop clean-ups are funded by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and LCC members.