WALDOBORO, Maine — Pollution in Waldoboro is threatening the town’s river and its clam flats.
Several sources of pollution were identified and corrected, but man’s best friend is next on the list.
Glen Melvin is one of 150 people who harvest clams and eels from the Medomak River in Waldoboro. He’s also on a task force that’s trying to clean up the river. Water pollution already has closed parts of the river to clamming.
“We have other parts that are one particular bad test from closing,” Melvin said. “So the river is on the edge as it is.”
The task force has helped stop a lot of the pollution in the watershed from broken septic systems, lawn fertilizers and farm waste. Now they want to tackle dog waste.
“We found 10 fresh piles that you could kick over the bank,” Melvin said. “So when it rains or when there’s any water, guess where it goes?”
Under a town ordinance, dog owners must pick up after their dogs, but many don’t. So the town wants to ban dogs from this rest area, the town landing and this boat launch.
The river is the state’s top harvester of soft shell clams, which brings in more than $2 million each year.
Dog owner Jane Enman agrees with the proposal.
“I did hear about uptown when they counted how many times there was poop around, and that’s really bad,” Enman said. “If my dog was down at the marina and he did it, I would pick it up.”
In two weeks, Waldoboro will hold a town meeting on the proposed changes to the dog ordinance. Clammers and town leaders say they’ve tried to get people to pick up after their dogs. It didn’t work, which is why they want to close off these public areas to dogs.