It is common for organic matter naturally found in our waterways to decompose, releasing fatty molecules (lipids) that produce the foam we see on the surface of the water. This happens every year, usually during the spring runoff season, but it can also occur during periods of high precipitation and high temperatures in summer and fall months. The foam is most apparent at locations where the water is naturally agitated by flowing over rocks or discharging from pipes. The foam produced may be more than a foot deep!
In the United States, pet dogs produce 21.2 billion pounds of poop each year. All that poop is polluting water sources, both in urban areas and the backcountry, largely because dog owners aren’t doing a good enough job picking it up. Let’s look at the reasons why dog poop has become such a problem, and examine what we can do about it.
Why Dog Poop Matters
Two reasons: There’s too much of it and it’s full of bacteria and parasites.
Research shows that most dog owners pick up after their pets in the street and at the local park, but often don’t take along a plastic bag when out hiking in the backcountry, assuming it’s no big deal. But Wes Siler, a contributing editor to Outside Magazine, tells host Steve Curwood that all that dog poop does add up to potential harm by introducing foreign bacteria and nutrients to forests, fields, and streams.