By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
A unique movement to clean up Gadsden parks has led to the installation of five new pet waste stations.
The engineering department plans to install two of the stations along the Black Creek Trail and three in the James D. Martin Wildlife Park.
According to a City of Gadsden press release, the project will “make it easier, cleaner and safer for pets and their owners to enjoy Gadsden parks.”
The waste stations feature an illustrated dog telling owners “I’ve done my duty, now you do yours.” The humorous sign is meant to encourage owners to actually use the stations provided.
The benefits of using the stations are more than just aesthetic. Cleaning up pet waste can be beneficial to the environment, as well.
Studies show that “pet waste is a significant contributor of pathogens and nutrients in urban areas where there are a large concentration of pets,” according to the The Alabama Clean Water Partnership. The City of Gadsden is hoping the project “will help reduce nutrients in Gadsden waterways and contribute to the city’s storm water permit.”
The Coosa River Basin Clean Water Partnership donated funds to make the pet waste stations for the project a reality. The station signs were provided by the Alabama Clean Water Partnership and the Alabama Department of Transportation. Mobile Bay National Estuary Program has provided the city with over 20,000 pet waste bags for the stations.
To educate the public, the Coosa Valley Resource and Development Council and the Etowah County Soil and Water District supplied funds to create 2,500 door hangers to distribute to homes in the areas near the new stations.
The new stations will be utilized during the Mutts and Butts event on September 10 from 9 to 11 a.m. on the Black Creek Trail at Noccalula Falls Park. The group will meet at the Noccalula Falls Wedding Chapel at 9 a.m.
Sponsored by the YMCA and the Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center, Mutts and Butts is held on the second Saturday of each month. The fun walk encourages local residents to bring a leashed, furry friend so that both can get exercise. The event provides water bottles and waste bags for attendees.