From the melting snow emerges dog p… err, just pick it up, please!

Before the grass grows a fragrant springtime green, the snow melts and uncovers smelly dog poop. That time is now, and so now is the time for our annual reminder to scoop it up.

Cleaning wastewater is just part of keeping our urban streams and Lake Superior clean. We need to keep our ground and pavement clean, too, in order to enjoy the water nature gives us. Scooping up poop is part of that.

Here’s one way of thinking about it: If Duluth were still a forest, it’d probably have maybe one fox per acre and a few coyote packs running around. Instead, all of us dog lovers have several pets per city block, and their waste adds up to more than nature can handle.

And in a city, nature doesn’t have a chance to clean things up because often the dog poop dissolves, runs right into a storm sewer and directly into a nearby stream or Lake Superior.

Besides, dog poop is a mess. It stinks when we accidentally step on a pile. It carries a bunch of germs that can make us sick.

Avoiding the ick factor (and disease and pollution) is simple. Maybe you’re like all of us and in the dead cold of winter darkness, you just let your dog out front or gazed at the Milky Way while your pooch pooped on the side of the road.

Good dog hygiene is as easy as carrying a plastic bag. Pick it up, tie a knot (or double it over and tie two knots), and throw it in the trash.

This time of year, just carry a few extra bags and pick up stray piles as you walk in the newfound evening light. If you have a lot of piles, like you find in a yard fenced off for dogs, take a rake or shovel and put it in a big plastic bag.

You’ll do your part to keep your neighborhood clean. And when your neighborhood is clean, so are our creeks, rivers and lakes.

By Craig Lincoln, Environmental Program Coordinator