How Does Pet Poop Affect Stream Health and Why Should I Care?
Pet poop might seem pretty harmless, like compost, but it’s not. Animal feces left on the ground gets picked up by stormwater runoff and washed into ditches or storm drains, untreated, which means that it ends up polluting local streams, Bear Creek, and the Rogue River. This waste contaminates water by carrying bacteria (like E. coli), viruses, and parasites that threaten the health of humans and wildlife. It also fertilizes the water because it contains nutrients that feed algae and other weeds, leading to green, cloudy water. The increased algae and weeds take oxygen from the water as they decay, which harms aquatic life and can kill fish outright by suffocation. By pledging to pick up and disposing of pet waste, you commit to reducing pollution in our local streams, that’s Stream Smart!
Take the Pledge to Reduce Bacteria In Our Streams! Pledge Today
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Other people have committed to picking up and disposing of their pet waste and preventing it from contaminating our streams and our communities.
How to Dispose of Pet Waste
Do throw poop in the trash. A plastic bag is a great container to wrap poop in. The waste ends up in the landfill, and not in our waterways. This is the best way to deal with pet poop.
Install a Doggy-Do-Bag Dispenser in your yard or neighborhood park. Let people know how easy and important it is to protect our waterways by picking up after their pets. Bag dispensers make it easy for pet owners to do the Stream Smart thing & Scoop the Poop!
Bury dog poop in your yard. Just check that your water table isn’t too high, in which case the feces could get into groundwater. Locate your holes away from any areas where you may dig later, vegetable gardens, lakes, streams, ditches or wells and bury at least five inches deep. The microorganisms in the soil will take it from there. (Note: Urban Folks probably do not have enough space to do this.) A parasite found in cat waste,Toxoplasma gondii, rarely affects healthy people, but it can cause defects and brain damage in babies whose mothers were exposed when pregnant. Brain disease can also develop in people with compromised immune systems. In addition, Toxoplasma has been shown to harm sea otters and may affect other wildlife as well. As the eggs can last for up to a year in soil, burying cat poop is also not recommended. You may consider using an underground pet waste digester.
Compost only manure from non-meat eating animals. There is never enough heat in a compost pile to destroy the pathogens in dog and cat feces, but composted feces from chickens, cattle, horses, rabbits and even guinea pigs can be great food for the garden. But always cover composting animal waste piles and don’t let the rainwater carry animal waste into waterways, ditches, or gutters.
Don’t leave poop on the curb, or lawn, and don’t throw poop down a storm drain or into a stream. Letting rainwater wash pet waste into streams or leaving poop for other people and animals to come in contact with allows for the spread of bacteria and other possible pathogens.
How to Dispose of Livestock Waste
Compost it only if from non-meat eating animals. Composted feces from chickens, cattle, horses, sheep, llamas, goats, rabbits, and even guinea pigs can be great food for the garden. But always cover composting animal waste piles with tarps, soil, or straw/leaves and don’t let the rainwater carry it directly into waterways, ditches, or gutters.
Don’t leave it on the ground for the rain to wash into streams, ditches, or storm drains or throw it down a storm drain or into a stream. Letting rainwater wash animal waste into streams or leaving it for other people and animals to come in contact with allows for the spread of bacteria and other possible pathogens.
We’re Here to Help
Check out some of these resources to help you make informed decisions regarding your pet’s waste.