Keeping our trailheads and waterways clean.
For over 10 years, the ERC has collaborated with the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other user groups to reduce the negative environmental, health, and aesthetic impacts of unattended dog waste on local trails. Today, through the Pick Up for the Planet (PUP) program, the ERC provides educational signage, baggies, and weekly bin servicing to 16 highly-trafficked trailheads valley-wide. This service is provided at no cost to the community.
Why we do it
• Dog waste is the third leading cause of water pollution in the U.S.
• The average dog produces 0.75 pounds of waste per day (271 pounds/year). The EPA estimates that 2-3 days’ worth of waste from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay to fishing and swimming, and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it.
• Unlike horses, deer, and wild animals, dog waste contains microbes that can be harmful to humans and dogs alike including parasites, e. coli, salmonella, giardia, and many more. One gram of dog poop contains 23 million fecal bacteria.
• Wild canine waste is 100% biodegradable as it is the product of a high-protein and calcium-rich diet, and does not contain preservatives, chemicals, or grain. Alternatively, domestic dog waste is often the result of a diet that is preservative-rich, making decomposition time longer and adding more chemicals to the environment.
• Dog waste contains extremely high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, and when added to the water, encourages rampant algae growth.
• As dog waste decomposes, components can seep into the groundwater or run off into surface waters during rain events or snowmelt. The rivers and streams of the Wood River basin are fed almost entirely by rain and snow runoff, making our water systems particularly vulnerable.
Every time dog waste is left on the trail, it adds to the pollution of our local waterways – the waterways that we depend on for drinking, irrigation, and recreation.
Support the PUP program
Donate any amount to the program to sustain and expand its reach or sponsor a bin individually or with friends at $2,500 for two years with a $1,000/year renewal rate. Sponsorships are tax-deductible and include customizable bin signage. Current trailhead options include: Chocolate Gulch, Lake Creek East, Adams Gulch, and Quigley Canyon. Sponsorships are tax-deductible.
Contact ERC Executive Director, Hadley DeBree at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information about the PUP program or to sponsor a bin today!