Nevada River Protection Push Targets Pet Waste Removal | Nevada News

By AMY ALONZO, Reno Gazette Journal

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Pet waste that isn’t cleaned up doesn’t just dirty your shoes — it can pollute rivers, streams and lakes. And the District of Carson River Subconservancy is spreading the message that it’s owners’ duty to pick up their pet’s mess.

“A dog’s poop is not serious; it’s a cumulative problem,” said Shane Fryer, district watershed program specialist. “You have dog feces loading up; then we have a big rain event, it moves a lot of nutrients into our streams and streams. It’s a huge problem.

According to Fryer, two out of five households own a dog. If each of these households owned just one dog, that would represent approximately 16,000 dogs living in the Carson River watershed.

And according to a 2018 report from the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, the average dog excretes between 0.5 and 3/4 pound of waste per day, but only 60% of pet owners clean up waste from their animal.

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That’s a lot of shit left.

The thousands of pounds of poo have even received notice from the Environmental Protection Agency, which classifies pet waste as a nonpoint source pollutant – a pollutant that cannot be identified to a specific source – with the pesticides, road salts, failing septic systems and motor vehicle oil. .

“There are pathogens and nutrients in dog poop that can actually pollute water if it gets into our groundwater,” said Brenda Hunt, program manager for Carson River Watershed. “These nutrients and pathogens are dangerous.”

Pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, in water can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps and nausea, while excess nutrients can lead to harmful algae blooms in waterways .

Watershed Technician Kaylee Maples said people often question the difference between wildlife and pet waste. The main difference, she says, is their diet.

“Meat is the reason dog poo isn’t biodegradable. It doesn’t break down the same way. It’s the same reason you don’t throw meat in your composter: it creates an environment more acidic.

While not all dog waste gets absorbed into area watersheds, a substantial portion does if pet owners don’t clean up, Hunt said.

People who leave dog feces to decompose in their yard may not realize that during a heavy storm, the waste can flow into storm drain systems. On the trails, when people leave behind pet waste, bagged or not, it seeps into groundwater or waterways.

A 2018 University of Nevada, Reno study examining pet waste and water quality in Lake Tahoe found that over a 14-month period, more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of dog waste was left on a 9-acre (3.6-hectare) trail and recreation area.

And as more people choose to recreate outdoors during the pandemic, it’s important to raise awareness of the importance of pet waste disposal, Hunt said. “We have the pandemic and more pets, and we have more people going out than ever before. Pack it up, pack it up and recreate responsibly.

The Under-Conservation District recently launched a public service campaign to raise awareness of the issue, including public service announcements, YouTube videos and social media posts.

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