Working together to keep today's treasures for tomorrow slide image Protecting the natural heritage of this diverse estuary slide image Promoting water quality and land preservation slide image Supporting a rich ecosystem for our local economy and quality of life slide image Managing our natural resources through consensus building slide image

News and Resources

Wanted: A 'spokesdog' to help the bays - September 1, 2011

Are you an environmentally friendly dog owner? If you are, the Maryland Coastal Bays program is looking for a coastal bays 'spokesdog' and is holding a contest to find one.

The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is launching a new outreach initiative on the impact dog feces has on our waterways. The program is designed to educate dog owners about harmful impacts of dog poop in our waters and to encourage them to make their furry pal a friend of the environment by picking up after their pet.

The initial initiative is a contest to elect a spokesdog to aid MCBP in getting out the word. You can register your pooch on line at www.mdcoastalbays.org. Registration will include a picture which will be posted on the website.

After registration closes on Sept. 15, the voting opens so residents can vote for their favorite contestant to win the title of spokesdog. The winner will receive a great prize from Pets and Paws and will be asked to attend a few events with the MCBP program to hand out information on the impact pet feces has on our coastal bays.

Pet feces, otherwise known as poop, often carry bacteria such as E. coli, viruses and parasites into our waterways. Poop is also nutrient rich, which can stimulate algal blooms, dead zones, and ultimately kill marine life.

Many dog owners are not picking up after their pets when they walk them. Evidently they are of the misconception that it'll wash away in time with no effect on our environment.

Unfortunately, the poop on the ground doesn't just disappear into the air. Rainwater washes it into the ground and eventually into our coastal bays and ocean.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey estimate that pet waste contributes between 20 to 30 percent of the water pollution in America.

The Environmental Protection Agency deemed pet waste a "nonpoint source of pollution" in 1991, which put poop in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals. A single gram of dog poop can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, nearly twice as much as human waste which can cause unpleasant infections for swimmers in contaminated waters.

Dog waste is one of the easiest pollutants in our water ways that can be prevented by picking up after your pet, bagging your dog's waste, and never putting waste into storm drains.

Flushing the waste down the toilet allows it to be treated at the sewage treatment plant and if flushing down the toilet is not feasible newspaper bags or plastic grocery bags are great for dog poop disposal. Bag dispensers that clip to a leash are widely available at pet supply shops.

In the instance of the Chesapeake Bay survey, 44 percent of dog walkers who did not pick up after their dogs indicated they would still refuse to pick up the waste even if confronted by complaints from neighbors, threatened with fines, or provided with more sanitary and convenient options for retrieving and disposing of dog waste. So, in essence, the cycle begins and ends with you.

Join the MCBP in their battle against poopetrators and pick up after your dog. It's easy, it's neighborly, and it's the healthy thing to do for our coastal bays!

Taylor is an intern for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

 

Click here to view article

Archived News

More Archived News
View Current News

U.S EPA News Region 3

Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program