“Help save the Bruce Monroe Dog Run”

no dogs
Photo by PoPville flickr user ken_1001

“Dear PoPville,

Uno, who was one of the dogs featured on this week’s Afternoon Animal Fix, went to his favorite dog park yesterday to find a sign that said “No dogs allowed” and a giant chain on the gates. A fellow dog owner went by yesterday and saw a representative from DC Parks and Recreation putting up the signs and locks. The representative said that he has received e-mailed complaints from Community Garden users that people are taking their dogs into the fenced-in, so-called, “Rain Garden” which is basically a drainage area for the garden. Though this is the official use, this space has been an unofficial dog park for years and seems to have had the endorsement of the garden. In fact, on the Bruce Monroe Community Garden website, there is a photo that clearly shows that the space was intended for dogs. Additionally, many of the community garden folks also have dogs and use the dog run and many have voiced their support for allowing dogs into the space. It is unclear who has really made the complaints and whether they are actually part of the garden community.

If there are any other dog owners/dog lovers/community members who wish to join our effort to save this dog run, please join our Facebook group.

We are working on writing to our representatives. The dogs and humans who come to the Bruce Monroe Dog Run have formed an awesome community and a safe place for dogs to socialize. We don’t want to lose this park!”

111 Comment

  • Since I work in stormwater management (but not in DC) I wanted to provide information on the possible reasoning behind this. Rain gardens are a category of stormwater management practice designed to catch runoff from impervious surfaces like buildings and paved areas, and then to treat the runoff’s pollutants before they enter our streams and rivers. Pollutants include excessive amounts of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that cause algal blooms downstream. As much as I love pups, their waste is a source of nitrogen and phosphorus and is therefore a water quality concern when we’re talking a large number of dogs compounded over the years. Rain gardens aren’t designed to handle what is essentially a significant and direct application of pollutants, and this is partly why we see doggie waste bags in most dog parks. I’m not sure why this area was targeted at this time, but hopefully my post provides information on the possible reasoning behind this decision.

    • Dog owners pick up in their dogs’ poop in the area, there’s even a makeshift poop bag holder (I’m pretty sure it was put up by users, not the city). We might miss one or two once in a while, but it’s not like we want to be stepping in it in there all the time. It’s also in the middle of a big open space, not surrounded by buildings or paved areas.

      • I’m pretty sure they are referring to urine here.

        • I forgot to add, the reason that I’m pretty sure is because urine contains high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen–in fact urine has been investigated as a possible fertilizer given the high concentrations. Feces do not have the same composition.

      • You can’t pick up the pee which has a significant amount of nutrients too. It sucks, but such is life.

      • It’s great to hear that there are doggie bags in this park, but I doubt they pick up the urine. Additionally, if this is truly a “rain garden” that is designed and installed by the Dept. of Park and Rec to function as a stormwater management practice, it isn’t designed for citizens or their dogs to enter and add excess nutrients to the soil.

        Looking at Google Maps satellite view, it looks like the rain garden would be there to catch the runoff from the 1 paved tennis court, 2 paved basketball courts, 2 paved playground areas, asphalt sidewalk and parking lot containing approximately a dozen spaces, and what looks like a paved roofed seating area. These areas may seem insignificant but during a rain event can generate a volume of runoff that has a significant impact when it enters the nearest storm drains.

        I’m actually really glad this question was posed – it’s a great opportunity for us to learn more about the city’s hydrology and how we’re managing our pollution so definitely let’s keep the questions coming.

        • Give me a break. If dogs aren’t in that area, they are going to be peeing in the rest of the park, which is going the same way. Dogs can pee everywhere else in the city, except this one ditch, that will cause irreparable harm. Right. You guys just clearly have some sort of schadenfreude about taking away something other people enjoy

          • Dog waste is a stormwater management concern that many jurisdictions are struggling to finding solutions for. We are still learning about nonpoint source water pollution so that there isn’t an easy formula we can follow, although dog waste bags do very much help. Maybe it’s like the question of whether an individual’s vote “matters” – cumulatively a big impact can be made, but it’s tough to imagine that a single voter’s actions will make a significant difference. Of course, we are all residents and there are so many quality of life concerns that need to be addressed, including creating adequate space for folks and their pets to enjoy. Working together we try to balance all these needs on a budget that never seems to be big enough. Hopefully through active discussion we can work to better understand each other’s point of view and personal values.

    • As an other stormwater expert I’d agree with everything said above. I’d also add that dog urine is know to kill plants and constant walking (by both humans and dogs) can degrade the function of rain gardens (compressing the soil and root structure). Its generally advisable to keep dogs and people out of rain gardens. A lot of time, money, and effort goes into building them.

      • I have a feeling that the stormwater people commenting here are not familiar with the park. This is a very small area that drains water from a relatively small area of the park (I’m pretty sure that most of the water runoff from the park does not end up there). Additionally, there aren’t THAT many dogs that use this area. While I’m all on board with reducing water pollutants, I think piss from 5-15 dogs per day really isn’t a major contributor to N&P levels in our water supply. One indication that the dogs are not doing that much damage is that they haven’t killed the grass (either from running on it constantly, or from the piss). While I agree with the comments that you don’t want to have a bunch of dog waste go straight into a drainage system, we’re talking about a really tiny area, and a very small number of dogs. A couple of loads of laundry are likely producing more Phosphorous than these dogs could in a year.

        • Thing is, you don’t know anything you just said and there are people here that have posted that do know what they’re talking about.

    • As a fellow water industry professional, I appreciate your post. I had no idea that area was intended as a rain garden. *IF* it is still managed as a rain garden, I would expect that the area would have been originally fenced off. I can understand that aside from possible pet waste, the mere trampling of the plants could do enough harm to make it ‘off limits.’

      However, any social scientist would recognize that suddenly, and unilaterally, banning a previous present group (dog owners, dogs) will lead to that group having a very negative impression of rain gardens (and other stormwater management techniques) in the future. In fact – they will become the people who oppose what was wrongfully termed the rain tax.

      The city went about this horribly. It took the path of least resistance. What it should have done was approach some of the dog owners, with a printed paper application for a dog park, and seek applications for a new dog park, nearby. It was wrong to fence the current dog park BEFORE a new dog park was established!

      Incidentally, the entire park area is currently being evaluated by the city – keep as park? develop condos? Call the city and ask to maintain the park and ensure there is a dog park there!

  • phl2dc

    That dog in the picture looks so sad 🙁

  • I knew it was those community garden people. What selfish, mean-spirited neighbors. They had a front row seat to how much dog owners and their pups appreciate that space and showed no kindness to us whatsoever, although that is exactly what I would have expected from what I’ve heard about the way they treat & speak about other neighbors. I had defended them and was planning on supporting them in their argument to keep their space as the city considers what to do with Bruce Monroe Park, but if they don’t have the decency to think about others, why the heck would I try to support them? This just seems petty and mean–for anyone who has taken a look at the drainage ditch, well, it’s just crazy to think that dogs would spoil it or something. It’s not that fancy. It’s a ditch.

    • I have a (city-funded) rain garden in my yard and I can assure you it is not a ditch, and I would not want dogs peeing in it. I like dogs very much, but rain gardens (or ditches, if you prefer) play an important role in storm-water management, something that benefits all of us, dogs included.

    • Oh – I thought this was satire at first.

      As a fellow dog owner who was just bitten by another dog, we can’t go wherever we want, regardless of how enjoyable it may be for us.

    • Why so quick to blame the gardeners? They endorse the dog run. http://www.brucemonroegarden.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BMCG-Garden-Map.pdf
      I know that garden has experienced a LOT of theft and vandalism this year – including their bench and free library. There are beds there grown for neighbors who are not part of the garden – I have a hard time believing that the people in this garden is selfish and mean-spirited.

    • Dear Neighbor,
      Please do not be so quick to assume. It was likely a few (or one??) disgruntled individuals (whether part of the garden or not) who complained. I garden there all the time and the dog park allows me to feel comfortable knowing there’s other humans around, in that area. The garden is rather secluded so it’s pleasant to see others around. I assure you that if any of us gardeners even notice the dogs, we’re likely admiring them. I recall when I first visited the garden I thought to myself how nice it was that despite the small area, at least the city had a dog park there.

      • I’ll admit it was because first I heard that some people wanted to fence off the community garden area, which in my personal opinion would have been a real slap in the face to the rest of the neighborhood, and then I heard that this complaint was from several community garden users. I was a total jerk though, I’m sorry community gardeners, you seem like mostly lovely people.

    • And it’s just a dog.

    • You know there is a (bigger) dog park right over on 11th, right?

  • Just because you used it as a dog park doesn’t make it the “Bruce Monroe Dog Run.” I used to take my dog to the “FedEx dog park” in Eckington, as did lots of other people. That didn’t make it a “Dog Park,” and we didn’t get to complain when we got kicked out and they build apartments there. You got away with using a public space as a dog park for a while and now it’s come to an end. Sorry, but DC has a bunch of other actual dogs parks you can go to.

  • As a dog person, this makes me sad. However, I completely understand why people growing organic vegetables might not want to encourage dog urination nearby. Finally, I’m sure you are upset and didn’t mean to be disparaging, but “the so-called rain garden” does help control run-off and conserve water. A green catch basin like the one at Bruce Monroe depends on the grass to contain the soil and prevent runoff. Dog runs tend to destroy the grass and turn the rain garden into a mud pit.

  • Yeah, the OP being so dismissive of the rain garden suggests a lack of knowledge about their function for storm water management, regardless of how many other residents may or may not support dogs being able to damage one for their own purpose.

    • The community garden had given tacit approval to having dogs in this space since the rain garden/drainage area failed after 1 year (and was then filled with sand and dirt which prevented it from being used in its original purpose).


      • Again, I said it doesn’t matter the support or not from non-technical people for its use for dogs because a rain garden doesn’t exist for the purpose of community gardening.

        If it failed, then it should be fixed so it can do its job. Is it possible it failed because of all the dogs?

        • Garden community said it failed because it had too much standing water and mosquitos and people were unhappy about that. Then the plants died. So they filled it in with sand and dirt and then re-allocated the space to dogs. To be clear, the garden people are mostly in favor of using the space for dogs.

          • Yes, you’ve made that point about 9 times on here. You don’t seem to be grasping why something being popular isn’t the end of the argument.

            Clearly, these people who didn’t like the rain garden don’t understand bioretention and were thinking more of their own self-interest than the broader good of a public environmental facility in a public park.

            I hope a stormwater engineer from the city made the decision after a full assessment to fill it in and it wasn’t a community effort driven by non-technical laypersons just looking out for their own narrow interests to get rid of the standing water and invite dogs instead because they, personally, prefer dogs.

            Filtering storm water is critical to our health as a community and temporary standing water is part of that process. Community gardeners are not inherently experts in this regard so you can stop posting about their support of it. It’s not their property; it’s a city park for citywide services and should be assessed as such.

          • Thank you for researching. If the community garden organization and Dept. of Parks and Rec removed the rain garden designation for this strip of land, then it can be used for whatever the City chooses. But now we’re left wondering why dogs were banned if they truly reallocated this to be a dog park space.

          • Rain gardens are supposed to have standing water…

            Not all the time, but after rain, yes. That’s how they work.

          • Finitor, if there were evidence that this drainage ditch was designed by a stormwater engineer to function in a way that is impeded by dogs playing in it, I think that would change a lot of minds. If a scientific and open investigation showed that it was important, I would be first in line to say that people’s health and safety comes first. But I have seen ZERO evidence that was why this decision was made. Further, even if the city made a mistake in filling it in, the damage is done for now and there is no reason to not allow dogs, unless and until they fix it to work as originally intended.

  • It would be great if this group of dog owners worked with the city to establish a proper dog park in the Park View area. “Unofficial dog park” is just another way of saying “not a dog park.” I’m also curious what photo on the Community Garden website shows that the rain garden was intended for dogs?

    • There’s (what appears to be) a proper dog park at 11th and Park, less than half a mile away from Bruce Monroe Park.

      • The 11th and Park “dog park” is actually a metro facility, and could easily suffer the same fate. There are no official dog parks in Columbia Heights, the closest are Shaw and Upshur, not a realistic walking distance.

        • Why is a 1.5 miles an “unrealistic walking distance”? I walk my dogs to the Langdon dog park 1.5 miles away. It’s actually not that hard.

          • Don’t be silly, the dogs are the ones that need to run around, not the humans.

          • while i’m sure many people enjoy going on 1.5 mile walks, it takes a good 30 minutes, so if you give your dog 20-30 minutes at the dog park, you’re basically taking 1.5 hours out of your evening to go to a dog park that far away. most people don’t have the time to do this regularly.

        • The 11th & Park space may be owned by Metro but that doesn’t make it unofficial. It is indeed a dog park and has lots of signage to that effect. As to its “fate,” sure Metro could revoke permission to use it as a dog park, but the city could do the same to any “official” dog park.

    • The point of the Facebook group IS to work with the city to get returned access to this space and in the longer term to get a real dog park.

    • I was curious about the photo too, so I went to their website and this appears to be what the OP was referring to: http://www.brucemonroegarden.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BMCG-Garden-Map.pdf. At the bottom of the map is a section marked “dog run.”

  • As someone who has had a garden plot at Bruce Monroe for the past three years, I can say that I’ve never heard any negative opinions about the dog park (I always thought that was the purpose of the fenced in area). I am a bit curious as to why some dog urine would be such a horrible thing. I presume that much of the nitrogen and phosphorous would be absorbed by the grass, and only a small percentage would filter through the soil. Even if this were a sandlot, I think that the amount of N&P from dog pee is really tiny compared to larger sources (laundry detergent and artificial fertilizers used at private residences). Also, where are the dogs going to pee otherwise, on the street? Wouldn’t pee on the street end up in the same drainage systems as the “dog park drainage,” but without vegetation absorbing part of the N&P? My initial reaction is that this is some bullshit. Does anyone have real data/info showing that this is potentially a problem?

    • Here is some helpful information from EPA with references:

      And information from the DC Dept. of the Environment:

      • I don’t understand this response. Neither of the issues I mentioned are addressed in the links. Again
        1) Isn’t dog piss on grass better for absorbing N&P compared to a sidewalk?
        2) Relative to other major sources of N&P, isn’t dog piss a tiny drop in the bucket (insert your own pun here)?

        • Sorry I may have gotten a little lazy in my explanation and was hoping the links would do a better job of explaining:

          1) The urine infiltrates the soil and eventually makes its way to a stream because the ground is connected to the stream underground (lateral movement through the soil to the stream bank or percolation into the groundwater table and then to the stream). It will end up in the neighboring stream more slowly this way than if it were applied directly down the storm drain, and there will be some nitrate and phosphate retention as well as transformation to non-pollutants, but a high enough volume will have the same effect on the stream when the ground becomes saturated with nutrients and is no longer able to retain any (plus during periodic rain events, precipitation will infiltrate and rapidly carry nutrients to the water). So unless the area is lined with an impermeable liner (like a landfill) then the nutrients do eventually enter the stream either way.
          2) It’s true, there are many sources of water pollution. Do you mean that you believe there is not a large quantity of waste being generated or that its negative impact on water quality is not significant? I wonder what evidence these assumptions are based on. The links attempt to convey the commonly held belief among water quality managers that nonpoint source pollution like pet waste does have a significant negative impact on local water quality and that it is a great enough concern to require management.

          • I think the issue that your latest post still doesn’t address is the relevancy to this particular case. I’m sure pet waste management (and strays?) is an issue, but since we’re talking about this specific area being open or closed to dogs, I still don’t understand how anything you have written or shared points to the first of the following two cases being significantly better: (a) a certain amount of dog piss is being distributed throughout the park area and directly into drains OR (b) the exact same amount being distributed, but with a slightly higher concentration in this area within the park. It seems like you are talking about the overall amount, which might be important, but is not relevant to this particular decision.

          • @Dog Owner That is a great question – if we accept the assertion that pet waste is a water quality concern within a dog park, why would it be any less of a problem anywhere outside a dog park? Maybe it’s helpful to think about why we set up plumbing and wastewater treatment plants to manage human waste, and the diseases that occur in regions of the world that don’t have these systems in place. The City of Albuquerque lists some of the bacteria and parasites that reside in fecal matter: [http://www.cabq.gov/municipaldevelopment/featured-projects/storm-water-pollution-prevention/pet-waste-and-water-quality] We are protected from these health hazards as long as we don’t come into direct contact with the pet waste, and we have set up drinking water treatment plants so that any polluted water is treated before we use it in our homes. However, the stream and river organisms are exposed to the excess nutrients and it is among the causes of the algal blooms and Pfiesteria outbreaks that we read about occurring in the Chesapeake Bay. It is tough to imagine that one dog peeing in a DC park causes boaters to get sick later that summer, but this is the “nonpoint source pollution” concept that many dogs in many parks add up to a water quality issue.

          • @OhNoItsTheRainTax are you saying the city should probably not allow any dog parks?

        • @Dog Owner I wouldn’t advocate that. Jurisdictions in our region are definitely struggling to figure out how to manage pet waste but none that I know of has suggested eliminating dog parks. I don’t think it would be a good balance of our community needs.

  • As a Bruce Monroe garden member, we welcome having that area used as a dog park. Not sure why there is so much anger being directed at the garden. While the city may have intended for it to be a rain garden, having more people actively using the park at all hours makes it a friendlier, safer place for garden members, people playing tennis nearby, and for the kids at the playground. Honestly I appreciate having extra eyes on the garden to discourage the vandalism and theft we often experience. There’s enough space in the overall park that it should be trivial for the city to establish a quick and simple dog park, not something over-engineered like the fancy one in Dupont Circle. I’d rather we all worked together on this one for the common good.

  • There’s nothing to save here, as it wasn’t designated as a DPR dog park. Instead of taking to facebook, why don’t you do what other neighborhoods do and actually follow the process to get a real dog park. I’ll help – here’s the website, submit an application – http://dpr.dc.gov/page/dog-parks

    OP’s entitlement is ridiculous.

    • Again, why are people so committed to doing something that makes their neighbors sad without proving that it provides concrete benefits? I understand pet waste can be a problem, but I have yet to see any evidence (and I looked through those EPA and DC Enviro Dept webpages) that there is any real harm from having the dog pee that would otherwise end up elsewhere on the park grounds relocated to the drainage ditch area. It’s not like the dogs are doing a juice cleanse in there, yes, they pee, but mostly they’re playing.

      Yes, I bet everyone who is upset about this will be on board for trying to go through the official application. But anyone want to take the bet that it will be quick, free of bureaucracy, and ultimately successful? I don’t.

      • My point has nothing to do with the rain garden. I could care less about the rain garden, frankly. The City owns the land, so the City can do with it what it damn well pleases. Just like every other land owner. If you want a dog park, apply for one. What you were using before wasn’t a dog park and it was technically illegal to use it as one (provided the dogs were off-leash of course). Stop the complaining and actually do something to further a solution that is meaningful.

      • Because people in DC like to showboat their education. They love playing the armchair quarterback all day without any personal experience of what they are talking about – have any of these people actually been to this park? Typical Popvillians, entitled people who hate people they think are acting entitled.

      • Plenty of posters have explained to you the problem of having dogs play in the rain garden. The dogs ruin the rain garden and then it no longer serves its purpose. You may not think the purpose of a rain garden is legitimate, but that’s not your call to make. Go to the dog park on 11th. The extra couple of blocks won’t kill you.

        • Plenty of posters have said that there is such a thing as a rain garden, who mostly sound like they have never actually been in the Bruce Monroe Park and seen this ditch. It’s pretty disappointing that all these supposed scientists would be weighing in and speculating without being very clear about their qualifications and familiarity with the specific facts. (I should mention OhNoItstheRain did a decent job by saying “Since I work in stormwater management (but not in DC)” in the first post, which made it clear that concerned residents should be open to the city coming back and saying they had an actual expert look at this specific site. BUT that hasn’t happened, and I hope OhNoItstheRain would agree someone should look at the actual site/have experience in DC to form a conclusive assessment. Which, again, as far as anyone has communicated, has not been done). In fact, it sounds like the most recent information is that for some reason unrelated to it being open to dogs or not, the actual facts were that it was not functioning as a drainage ditch or rain garden or whatever, and was therefore filled in at some point prior to it being open to dogs (to follow my own advice on being clear: that information is hearsay, but we don’t actually have anything more solid relating to this specific case for now).

          • I 100% agree we’re just speculating at this point and folks are getting upset at each other over hearsay. I can write a novel about rain gardens and water quality but none of us can say definitively whether this is currently designated as a rain garden. Somebody should contact Dept. of Parks and Rec and ask them what the official designated use is. Having said that, I’m immediately calling out “not it!”

  • To be honest, I am going to ignore this sign. who is ever going to come by and ticket people? if people can drink and smoke on the street with impunity then i can let my dog run around a drainage ditch.

    • Right there with you. Given the myriad other sordid activities taking place in that park, me and my dogs are a net plus. More people using the park, in a way that doesn’t harm others (y’alls pee arguments are insane) is a benefit to safety in the park.

      • You can tell when people haven’t lived in the area long enough to remember when it was insane to think you’d even drink tap water around here.

      • if you’re referring to the above posts by OhNoItsTheRainTax and a few others, they’re not simply pee arguments. they’re pee facts given by industry experts.

        • I encourage any of these “pee experts” to go and visit this site. Rain gardens are complex structures below the ground with features that improve water quality. This is a patch of dirt and mud and weeds. It’s not a rain garden. My dog peeing here is no different than my dog peeing on a tree next to the road.

          • I agree that we’re just speculating at this point. Contacting Dept. of Parks and Rec would be the quickest way to determine what they have determined this space should be used for.

          • Neighbors are in touch with ANC people, who had a meeting with DPR. If there is an actual function that would be inhibited and that was why the decision was made, I expect they will let us know soon and that will change the direction (move to creating a new dog space in Bruce Monroe, making the 11th & Park usable for all dogs, and/or asking for another space in the area).

        • But how does one become a pee industry expert? WSBF, the Washington School of Bodily Fluids? 😉

  • I feel like this this needs one of those flow charts.

    Is this an official dog park? Y/N

    Yes – well, then, yes, save it!
    No – well, then, too bad

    • This is not the test I would at all want the city to apply to this or any other issue that concerns my comfort, safety and happiness as a resident. What about:

      Does the value to neighborhood residents of using this area as a dog run outweigh any proven/likely negative impacts?

      • I think you may be hurting your argument with every post…that said, let’s apply your test: your neighbors using your front yard as a dog park (everyone’s dogs get to play and have fun outweighs any marginal inconvenience to you the homeowner…plus, you love dogs!)

        • That’s private property, not shared public space, so I’m not terribly convinced there’s much parallelism.

          I’m shocked to see anyone arguing that a previous bureaucratic decision that could have been 100% arbitrary should outweigh a careful weighing of actual existing value. I’m also sure I could come up with a similarly hyperbolic case for the original Y/N proposition, but it didn’t seem as productive as offering what I thought a better test would be.

          I am sorry that I shot out of the gate blaming the community garden people as a whole. I still think whoever made these complaints took a very unkind action, but it sounds like it wasn’t most of the community garden people and also it’s not right for me to respond to meanness with more meanness. I was just (and still am) angry that there are so many people who seem committed to taking something away that their neighbors enjoy without having a concrete argument for why. It’s really baffling to me.

          • You’ve come up with about 12 posts worth of hyperbolic arguments so far so, yeah, I’m sure you could come up with some more.

          • Also, you’ve been handed very concrete arguments for why you can’t just let your dogs play in the rain garden. You’ve just chosen to either ignore them or just act as if they aren’t important because they don’t fit your view of what you’re entitled to do.

  • This is a very interesting debate, and the rising questions highlight the resounding need for an official dog space. I have been to the 11th and Park Metro location, but as it is not designed as a dog park, the base of the fence is too high to contain our little dog. The Shaw dog park is great, but it requires getting the dog in the car (and hoping for to find a parking space). Even if I was up for a mile long walk, our little dog would tire out before we even got there (and I’d probably have to carry her home). The Bruce Monroe “unofficial” dog park is just a tiny piece of the park with a fence around it, and the fact that so many neighbors are voicing solidarity in protecting it shows that there is a dire need for an official fenced-off space to socialize and exercise our dogs off leash.

  • I Solve Problems

    To all those who suggest that we are acting entitled.

    We aren’t. We get that this area is not originally intended as a dog run. Nevertheless, the use of it by dogs is not detrimental to its functioning as a low lying drainage area. We are actually grateful for it.

    For those that claim our use of it as a dog run somehow is detrimental to stormwater treatment, be realistic. It is a very small area. The idea that this is in some way going to affect DC stormwater treatment is complete and utter fallacy. The area si lower than the surrounding parkland to keep the rest of the park from getting saturated. There is more pollution from cars and animals urinating on sidewalks that goes directly into the stormwater runoff without filtering through soil. The small number of dogs that use this area are a minor blip on the overall radar screen of DC stormwater issues.

    For those who claim this is a garden vs. dogs issue, you misread the OP’s post. Somebody claiming to represent the community garden complained to DPR or so I was told. That individual or group of individuals DO NOT, repeat DO NOT, represent the voice of the community garden. The simply co-opted the name of the community garden in order to lend legitimacy to their own selfish unilateral agenda

    • I agree it is difficult to comprehend how this small dog park could possibly make an impact on the city’s stormwater management. Pet waste is considered a “non-point source” of water pollution because its negative impact comes from the compounding of many small sources. A sewage plant requires a permit because it’s an easy to identify and very large source of water pollutants, but we obviously shouldn’t permit every dog that pees or every car tailpipe that emits gases – that would be a waste of our taxpayer money and be impossible to enforce. Because of this, we’ve really gotten a handle on our point source pollution through permitting but as EPA describes: “States report that nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems.” [http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/whatis.cfm] So that leaves us with the challenging question: if we collectively have a negative impact on our local waters, but individually we do not, then what is the correct course of action for the individual? That may be where we reach an impasse due to differences in personal philosophy.

    • justinbc

      Your second point completely negates your first. Thank you for so obviously pointing out how failing to realize that ignoring protocol just because you don’t understand it reinforces your entitlement.

  • To be clear: The dog owners in the area AND the majority of the community garden folks (including the leadership) are all on board with having this space used for dogs. See this map: http://www.brucemonroegarden.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BMCG-Garden-Map.pdf

    It sounds like one person complained (either on behalf of the garden community or using their name) and got locks put on, even though the majority of people involved with the park want it to be open to dogs.

    • Again, that’s just saying that laypersons don’t like temporary standing water for stormwater management as much as they like dogs. It’s not really relevant. An engineer would need to make the assessment.

  • Are we really arguing about this? Dog parks vs organic gardeners vs rain gardens?

    • No. This has absolutely nothing to do with gardeners, organic or not. The dog area was not even in the garden area!

  • Bruce Monroe is huge and could easily carve out a bit of space for a useful dog park.

  • justinbc

    This thread is hilarious. A bunch of people 1) have a rain garden, not a dog park, 2) ignore the people who are experts in rain gardens, 3) quote some community gardeners as some sort of support as if that matters, 4) shit on (forgive the pun) the actual scientists because they’re meanies doing all their sciencing here when they just wanted some internet love and support.
    It reminds me so much of how the Republican party treats climate change. “I’m not a scientist, so it must not be true!”

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. This whole thing would be hilarious if it wasn’t so infuriating.

    • Well said. Plus, add to it the “Won’t someone think of the DOGS?!?!?!?!” tone of many of the posts – I’m starting to think Courtland Milloy was onto something . . .

    • haha, agreed. unfortunately facts and expertise aren’t the only way to win arguments, as evidenced by national politics at the moment.

    • I think people cited the community garden because they were blamed for the complaints that led to the dog run being shut down. People were saying they are bad neighbors that didn’t care about the community (seems harsh), so people pointed out that it probably wasn’t the gardeners for the reasons people brought up in the comments. That is how I read it anyway.

    • It really was unbelievable. It’s fine that the average person doesn’t know what a rain garden is, and I can see how it would be annoying to be turned away when you don’t understand the reasoning. But ignoring the reasoning after it is clearly explained in favor of making the same arguments about how their special snowflake dog isn’t polluting the water supply just makes people sound entitled and unreasonable.

    • I mean the rain garden was filled in with sand and abandoned years ago so I don’t understand why that’s even coming into the debate at all.

      • justinbc

        By the city, who built it, or by the “community gardeners”? If the people who live there just decided it wasn’t working like they falsely assumed it to be and covered it in, that’s not really a justifiable cause.

        • From my understanding the rain garden was in place for about a year and then the city filled it in and effectively abandoned it. Obviously if they want to take it back they can, but it’s not like the dogs were in an active, functioning rain garden.

    • Agreed with Justin.

    • Look, who are all these scientists you’re talking about? As far as I can tell, there is one person who seems to have significant knowledge (OhNoItsTheRainTax), who has actually pretty explicitly said they are describing possibilities, but for now it’s speculation. Are these both true: (1) you are a rain garden expert and (2) you have inspected the supposed rain garden and can confirm that it is a rain garden and it would function properly but only if dogs are not allowed in it? If not, can you identify that anyone who has weighed in here, or in another public forum or to the city, who fits the bill? What I’m angry about is that people are NOT actually providing any real evidence, they are just arguing to take away something their neighbors enjoy based on what I can only explain as pure nastiness. No, OhNoItsTheRainTax is not being nasty, although I think they lost sight of being clear for the sake of argument at times (I think I’m guilty of that myself as well). I’m talking about people like you who seem to have zero knowledge but a lot of opinions. I have an opinion because I have a personal stake. What is your stake here, except taking away something that other people enjoy?

      • This reminds me of the rhetoric that certain factions are opposed to the United States of America because “they hate freedom.”
        It seems reasonable that an outside observer with no personal stake in the matter might actually be able to see the situation more clearly than someone with a particular interest in a certain outcome.

        • But I won’t decide the outcome. DPR and other city officials will. I’m providing evidence that it provides value to community members as a dog park. No, this isn’t the only factor that might possibly be relevant, but if there is no expert evaluation of this specific feature that suggests it is doing anything useful, why shouldn’t the city consider what will provide value to the residents in the neighborhood?

          • The other people in your community have a stake in the infrastructure that supports their environment.

  • Can’t we discuss some of the more important issues surrounding our neighborhood and find solutions to them before arguing over such a stupid topic?

    • I Solve Problems

      @ Jim Slicio, yes, so take down the signs and let dogs walk there since it isn’t important. Please advise us of the efforts you are undertaking to solve some issues in your neighborhood. Thanks for your support!

  • The lot at the corner of 11th and Park is, in fact, private property owned by WMATA (Metro). A group of neighbors in the area have recently formed a non-profit (11th and Bark) to work out an agreement with WMATA to make it an official city dog park. I’m on the board and we’re working out an agreement in coordination with Brianne Nadeau’s office. For those interested in sharing feedback on improvements and showing your support to make that space a legitimate dog park, you can do so at http://11andbark.org.

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