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Pets and Wildlife

Environmentally friendly pets
- pet waste
An article in the National Wildlife Federation magazine's October/November 2004 issue by Heidi Ridgley states, "According to a 1999 Vanderbilt University study, dog feces are a major cause of water pollution in urban and suburban areas, particularly following periods of heavy rain. The runoff taints streams and rivers, robbing them of oxygen and killing aquatic life. The researchers originally suspected that leaky septic systems and sewage pipes accounted for unexpectedly high bacterial levels in Nashville, Tennessee streams and tributaries. 'What they found instead was that in neighborhoods with no sewer problems, the most common fingerprint is that of dogs,' says Edward Thackston, an environmental engineer." The article encourages pet owners to keep their cats indoors, bag their kitty litter, pick up pet poop, and read the labels on flea and tick repellent.
   Pet waste disposal stations are at the Tanger Outlet Mall and D River. West Devils Lake State Park is working to control pet waste.
Property owners around the lake and in the watershed are encouraged to pick up after their pets.

Bird and Wildlife feeding
Do not feed the lake geese, gulls or fish, including grass carp. Their waste contributes to poor water quality.

Keep the lead out
Do not use lead in fishing tackle. Birds such as bald eagles can eat the lead in fish and die. Check with your local store to purchase only lead free fishing weights.

Cats - Keep domestic cats indoors
Keep your pet cat indoors. Cats can kill migratory birds and other small animals. Indoor cats live longer and healthier lives. Outdoor cats should be on a leash, in an outdoor enclosure or cat run. For information see - keep indoors or let out from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm only.

Certified Community Wildlife Habitats (CWH)
National Wildlife Federation
By creating sustainable landscapes that avoid pesticides, chemical fertilizers and excess watering, Community Wildlife Habitat projects benefit the entire community: people, plants and wildlife. For more information on how to turn a community into a welcoming place for wildlife, visit

NOAA Research highlights that pesticides and salmon don't mix
Water quality and salmon watchers have been following this research for a while but now it’s hot off the presses. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Northwest Fisheries Science Center scientist David Baldwin just published his findings in the Ecological Society of America’s December issue of Ecological Applications. The upshot: exposure to low levels of common pesticides used by farmers and city dwellers alike may hinder the growth and survival of wild salmon. Furthermore, toxicity increases when the chemicals are mixed together in the water. Using existing data and a model for growth and reproduction, Baldwin and his colleagues found that with only 4 days of exposure to pesticides such as diazinon and malathion can change the freshwater growth and, by extension, the subsequent survival of subyearling fish. Improving water quality could improve recovery of salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act, the researchers said. What are the keys to success in this case? Lowering pesticide use by implementing integrated pest management strategies (IPM), minimizing over application, and applying pesticides correctly to minimize drift into local waterways.

Coho Salmon - provide shoreline habitat
Devils Lake and Rock Creek have a very important, small, wild coho salmon population listed as a threatened species. The state of Oregon is making a major effort to recover that species. The lake and creek have about 100 to 200 adult coho spawners each winter. Juveniles in Rock Creek in the summer number about 10,000, and the number in the lake is unknown. A smolt trap is placed at the mouth of the D River at certain times of the year to study their migration.
     Uniquely this population spawns from Christmas to the end of January, the latest on the central and northern Oregon coast. Rock Creek has the highest coho density on the north coast, higher than 100 surveys that include Siletz, Nestucca, Tillamook, and Nehalem. Coho spawn in December or primarily January, juveniles emerge out of the ground about April, stay in the fresh water lake about one full year, then about the following April, May, or June go to the ocean. Some coho may stay in Devils Lake longer than a year.
     The Rock Creek dam project to allow easier fish passage was completed in September 2006, and involved the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council, the City of Lincoln City, the Devils Lake Water Improvement District, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Preservation Association of Devils Lake. Agency staff and volunteers worked on all aspects of the dam modification project.

Protect California Sea Otters and others
Facts about Toxo and cat poop - KEEP CATS INDOORS

Sea Otters are appearing off the Oregon Coast, especially near Depoe Bay.
Toxo – short for Toxoplasma gondii – is a tiny parasite that lives in the bodies of many people and animals. Most people with toxo never show any symptoms or illness. But if you do get sick, you may be ill for about 2 weeks and have fever, head and muscle aches, sore throat and swollen neck, and difficulty seeing.
You should worry about Toxo if
- your immune system is compromised, say, if you have AIDS or are taking drugs that suppress your immune system. Your body's defenses may not be able to ward off the spread of Toxoplasma, and the parasites may cause brain disease.
- your pregnant - a Toxoplasma infection of an unborn child may cause birth defects, blindness and brain damage.
If you think you have been exposed to Toxoplasma, especially if you are pregnant, talk to your doctor.

Most cats never show any symptoms of illness from toxo _ yet they're the ones who spread it.
How does that happen?
Even though lots of animals, including birds, have Toxoplasma, on cats _ pet cats, feral cats, mountain lion, bobcats _ shed Toxoplasma "eggs" in ther poop. They can shed millions of "eggs" for 7-14 days the first time they get infected with Toxoplasma (and they usually get infected only once in their lives). The "eggs" live in the soil and water, are spread by earthworms, flies and beetles, and are picked up by other animals. Cats pick up Toxoplasma when they eat small wild animals. The parasites spread throughout the body to places like the lung, eye and brain, and remain in the body for a long time.

SEA OTTERS ARE BEING KILLED BY TOXO! We know that Toxo "eggs" are making their way into the ocean, but we don't know exactly how sea otters are becoming infected. We do know that the only way to prevent them from being infected is to reduce cat poop in the environment.

You could ingest Toxo by:
- Eating raw or undercooked meat or shellfish,
- Drinking water that contains Toxoplasma "eggs,"
- Getting soil with Toxoplasma "eggs" in your mouth,
- Getting infected cat poop from your hand into your mouth after cleaning the cat box,
- Being infected before you were born, if your mother got Toxoplasma while she was pregnant.
Protect yourself!
- Cook shellfish well and meat until it is no longer pink,
- Use hot, soapy water to wash knives and cutting boards used to prepare meat,
- Wash dirt off vegetables before eating,
- Avoid drinking water from rivers and streams,
- Wash your hands after gardening and remove dirt from under your nails,
- Wear gloves if you work with soil or change the cat litter,
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water after cleaning the cat box,
- Clean your cat box daily – it takes about 24 hours for the "eggs" in cat poop to be able to infect people,
- Stop your cat from hunting small wild animals and birds by keeping it inside,
- Feed your cat dry or canned cat food, or cook fresh meat before you feed it to your cat.
Protect Your Sea Otters!
- Don't flush kitty litter down the toilet - sewage treatment may not kill Toxo "eggs."
- Put cat poop in plastic bags and drop them in your trashcan,
- Keep your cats indoors,
- Remove cat poop from your yard. Toxo "eggs" last for months in soil and can move into rivers and oceans during the rainy season.


Blue Green Thumb Watershed Education Program -
A program of the Preservation Association of Devils Lake (PADL)
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All rights reserved.

P.O. Box 36
Lincoln City, OR 97367