Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dog Doogity: A good return on the state’s investment

By Sandy Howard, communication manager, Water Quality Program

Polluted stormwater runoff is the leading pollution problem in our state’s most populated areas. Lots of people and lots of dogs are a big part of that pollution problem.

When it rains, pollution on the land washes downstream, moving that pollution along into our waters.

Protecting our waters

Regulations alone cannot keep Washington’s waters, including Puget Sound, pollution-free. We have learned that people will generally do their part to change their behaviors and prevent pollution if they have an awareness of the problem, and if they know what to do.

Building that awareness is not free. But we believe spending money to inform people is a cost-effective way of address pollution problems in Puget Sound.

Since 2005, our state has invested more than $100 million to help local governments build locally designed stormwater programs. Washington made these investments through grants to local governments and intergovernmental partnerships, with funding from dedicated environmental accounts intended to prevent pollution. Our state made these investments to help us clean up our waters and restore Puget Sound and other waters of the state

If we do it right, our lakes, streams and Puget Sound receive huge benefits.

We all can help

By far, the least expensive way to fight pollution is to prevent it in the first place. Cleaning our waters is much more costly. Pollution problems in the Spokane River, and in many parts of Puget Sound, are good examples of how expensive cleanup can be.

A small example of how this investment is beginning to show up is the recent “Dog Doogity” video, produced by a consortium of counties that border Puget Sound, calling themselves STORM.

The state helped provide funding for this video project through funding it has passed along to local governments to help them develop local stormwater programs that meet local needs.

STORM launched its Puget Sound Starts Here education effort — a broadly based, Sound-wide approach to give Puget Sound residents the information they need to make their own decisions about protecting the Sound.

The Dog Doogity video is one small effort by the STORM communities. It’s specifically aimed at dog owners in Puget Sound communities.

Low cost, high value

A video like this is cost-effective because it is meant to spread rapidly like a virus — to become “viral.” People share it with their friends — it passes from one dog owner to another, and on and on.

Update for July 11, 2014
New numbers about the video:

· We are currently at 205,200 views.
· 95 percent of the viewers who vote like us.
· The video has been covered more than 80 times by media outlets locally and nationally – approximately 94 percent of the coverage has been positive.

Dog Doogity is doing exactly what we hoped: drawing attention to the issue of pet waste and its impact on Puget Sound. It’s working!

Read more here:

When Washingtonians get involved in preventing pollution, everyone gets our money’s worth.

For more information about the video, see The Scoop on “Dog Doogity” and dog waste in our waters


Rabbits' Guy said...

Certainly "left-laying" dog poop is awful, a health issue, and needs constant reminders - like this video.

But there are no serious data/photos/studies/articles that show such "Left laying" dog poop is any big problem for Puget Sound (Or Lake Washington, for that matter.) My goodness, most dogs don't poop where it has much chance to wash into a ditch or stream.

So to me, this kind of hype sends all the wrong message to the masses about what is wrong with Puget Sound and what possible solutions there are.

One day's cow poops put out at least twice as many fecal coliforms as one day's dog poops.

Over and over we see and hear "mentioned" livestock being a significant contributor to river and stream pollution. Here in the Samish Basin situation it is painfully, visibly obvious. How about a video that hits on this issue?

Or better yet - a video that clearly highlights something like shore armoring or lack of estuary sanctuary for young salmon?

WA Department of Ecology said...

We agree that dog poop is only one of the pollution problems for Puget Sound, however it happens to be one of the easiest to stop. Making small changes in the way we live our lives, such as picking up after our dogs, is part of the answer to protect and restore Puget Sound. We agree with you that we need to do more work to raise awareness about other types of manure problems, including those you mention. Thanks for your comment.