The Environmental Resource Center and students from the I Have a Dream Foundation-Idaho joined forces on Thursday, May 25, to pick-up piles of unattended dog waste along the popular Carbonate Trail in Hailey. This partnership was a part of a Wow-Students project with the ERC.
Prior to the trail pick-up, the students learned the importance of picking up after one’s pet and engaged in activities about watershed science. Students placed a yellow flag at the site of each unattended dog waste they found to demonstrate the amount along popular trails. These flags will remain up for two weeks. Students worked for one hour and picked up 10 pounds of dry dog poop within the first quarter mile of the trail.
According to the ERC, dog waste contains large amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen, which encourages rampant algae growth and lowers water quality. It also contains parasites and microbes such as E. coli, salmonella and giardia that can be transmitted to humans. There are more than 70 million dogs in the United States and one 40-pound dog poops about 270 pounds per year.
The ERC’s PUP program provides weekly bin maintenance, free dog waste bags and educational signs to 16 trailheads valleywide. The PUP program is a collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, Blaine County Recreation District and other user groups to lessen the aesthetic, environmental and health impacts of unattended dog waste at Wood River Valley trailheads.