SCOOP THE POOP DAYS
Events hosted by the Lake Champlain Committee and community partners
Several communities are hosting "Scoop the Poop" events to help clean up dog doo from parks, trails and sidewalks. These efforts help reduce the flow of bacteria and nutrients to waterways. Stay tuned for more details and contact LCC ECO AmeriCorps Education & Outreach Coordinator Laura Pratt if you'd like to help organize an event in your town or neighborhood.
The Scoop on Dog 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. The Environmental Protection Agency (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, leaves unsightly discoloring, and takes more than a year to break down.
Dog poop differs from wild animal scat, which fertilizes the earth and helps spread native seeds. Wild animals are consuming food within the ecosystem where they poop, so there is no net loss or gain of nutrients. Dogs, on the other hand, are fed a high nutrient diet from a bag. Those excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can throw the ecosystem out of balance when they’re introduced in dog doo, and that instability provides a welcoming environment for invasive species on land and can trigger algae growth and cyanobacteria blooms in the water.
- When pet waste washes into lakes or streams it decays, using up oxygen and degrading water quality.
- Dog waste contains 23-million fecal coliform bacteria per gram, 10-times more per pound of body weight than even cows produce.
- Pets are responsible for up to one-third of bacterial pollution in waterways near developed areas.
- Ten to fifty percent of bacteria in air samples comes from feces with dog poop being a particularly dominant source.
- Pet waste takes a year or more to breakdown. Even after that the parasites can survive in the soil for years.
- Infected pet poop can carry roundworms and other parasites and pathogens (like cryptosporidium, giardia, E. coli, coliform bacteria, and salmonella) which can linger in soil for years. Anyone gardening, playing sports, walking barefoot, or digging in the infected dirt risks becoming infected. Children are most susceptible since they often play in the dirt and put things in their mouths.