ANNAPOLIS, Md. - There are a lot of homes around Marley Creek in Anne Arundel County and people aren't the only ones living in them. Dogs live there, too.
Just as we impact the environment around us, dogs do also.
Suzanne Etgen is the coordinator of the Watersheds Stewards Academy. The organization informs and educates the public on how to be better neighbors to the environment.
Etgen says dogs make an impact on Marley Creek because of their waste left in the yards by owners and she has the numbers to prove it.
Etgen says every bit of waste left on the ground has an impact.
“A single gram of pet waste can contain 23 million bacteria, which is an extraordinary amount of bacteria,” she said.
She added that all that bacteria when it rains runs right into Marley Creek.
Most houses are not directly on the water, but there are small creeks that run through the community and they can carry run off and pollutants directly into Marley Creek.
“So anything we do on our property effects our creeks, which in turn affects the health of the waterways which in turn affects our health,” Etgen said.
Carmera Thomas is one of the watershed stewards that live around Marley Creek. She is trying to educate neighbors on how their pets can impact the water. She says most people aren't aware how much one person and their pet can affect the water.
“If one person doesn't pick it up and their neighbor doesn't pick it up then all the people on the street aren't doing what they should be doing and all that bacteria is in the creek,” Thomas said.
Thomas says once people are informed they realize how critical it is to pick up after your pet.
“They are starting to get it because they saw the high numbers,” Thomas said. “They say ‘Oh my gosh. Does that really apply to me?’ and what they can do to impact the whole watershed.”