Of the Keizertimes

The city’s stormwater and runoff education efforts were recently put to the test.

And while the personnel in charge of administering the program were pleased with overall response, they’ve also identified areas where public knowledge tends to be lacking.

For example, some 38 percent of respondents to the city’s recent stormwater survey said waste from domestic pets like dogs and cats are the most problematic contributor of bacteria into local waterways.

The correct answer is ducks and geese, said Elizabeth Sagmiller, stormwater program manager.

“Congregations of birds being fed by humans create unnatural plumes of contaminants not consistent with a properly functioning ecosystem,” Sagmiller said.

Previous survey results showed residents were less willing to stop feeding waterfowl, but were likely to pick up waste from their own pet animal, she said.

Sagmiller also said more education was necessary to let the public know where stormwater goes once it enters a drain: Into local waterways, untreated. Just more than half knew this, survey results show.

Other highlights from the survey:

• About three in five respondents correctly said street and parking lot drains are connected to the stormwater system, and are not designed for disposing of anything other than water.

• About 75 percent knew healthy vegetation along waterways helps keep streams cool, and just less than half responded correctly that erosion reduction was key to keeping waters clear.

The survey was completed by 838 people. Half were ages 60 and up, with less than one percent coming from the 18-25 age group.