The James River Association has installed 30 pet waste stations throughout City of Richmond parks, the James River Park System and Chesterfield County parks. Funded by a Department of Environmental Quality grant, the intent of this project is to make it convenient for pet owners to clean up after their dogs, thereby improving water quality in the James River.
Pet waste contains high levels of bacteria, such as E. coli. When it rains, this bacteria is washed into local waterways and storm drains, ultimately making its way into the James River. Bacteria in waterways can negatively impact wildlife and be detrimental to human health. Picking up after your pet is an easy way to reduce this form of pollution, according to Amber Ellis, PLA, Watershed Restoration Manager,James River Association.
The James River Association is also working with the Middle James Roundtable’s James River Pet Waste Coalition to educate the public about the environmental impacts of pet waste and the importance of picking up after pets. You can enter the Canines for Clean Streams photo contest to win gear for your dog and have your pet’s picture featured on their website and Facebook page.
Visit www. facebook.com/JamesRiverPetWasteCoalition by August 15, to post a photo of your dog and take the pledge to “scoop the poop” for clean waterways.
Signs, as well as bag receptacles where dog owners can grab a bag to clean up after their dog, have been placed at a number of local parks and other public places. There is not a trash can attached, though, because the parks want people to use the trash cans that are already located at the parks.
The Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) Implementation Plan (IP), established by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality recommends outreach to pet owners and the installation of pet waste stations as key components of the clean-up effort. The partners looked at which creeks in the greater Richmond area are impaired due to E. coli. Station locations were selected based on that information and where stations are lacking. The pet waste problem exists across the James River watershed, so residents should see pet waste stations popping up in various localities as they try to address the issue.