Currents | October 2014

Did you know that the Great Lakes are the biggest freshwater source in the world? Lake Erie is the most productive for fishing of all the Great Lakes. Your support helps make our streams clean, clear and healthy so they can support this complex ecosystem. By donating to PCS, you help us reach our goals of restoring rivers that lead to Lake Erie beaches that promote fishable and swimmable conditions for generations.

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Lourdes at CYS18

Clean Your Streams Was A Huge Success and We Owe It All to You!

We cannot thank our volunteers enough for their efforts in making OUR streams clean! The PCS Staff and CYS Planning Team are incredibly happy with the results of the 18th Annual Clean Your Streams Day, which would have been unreachable without your support! 1,109 volunteers participated in Clean Your Streams this year as a part of the International Coastal Cleanup and Ohio’s Coastweeks program.

Volunteers dispersed from 7 kickoff locations and removed trash along over 27 miles along the Swan Creek, the Ottawa River, the Maumee River, and creeks and ditches flowing into Maumee Bay and Lake Erie. 16,978 pounds of trash were collected, including 926.5 bags, 126 tires, and many larger pieces of garbage. The list of weird finds is endless! For example, volunteers found a brand new Hot Wheel toy, nylons, a worn out $5 bill, purple velvet cape, Confederate flag, fire crackers, a butter knife, 1988 Faygo Ginger Ale can, Christmas lights, lottery cards, kiddie pools and a vending machine door and much more. Once volunteers were done pulling trash and themselves out of the rivers, volunteers celebrated cleaner, clearer, and safer waters with an Appreciation Picnic at the Lucas County Fairgrounds. There, volunteers were thanked with a lunch, t-shirt, educational activities, door prizes and much more.

Congratulations again to the winners of the CYS Challenge Awards! These self-reported challenges encourage friendly competition between volunteer groups, as well as inspire volunteers to make the largest possible impact on our streams. Check out this list of the dedicated winners.

Each and every individual who participated in this year’s Clean Your Streams Day is a Partner and we cannot express our gratitude for your support. Whether you participated individually or with a group, business, or organization, your involvement is essential for cleaner rivers and we thank you! We look forward to maintaining that partnership in the future. Please do not forget to send us your pictures! You can email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., upload them to our Clean Your Streams Facebook page, or Tweet them using #CYS18.

A tremendous thank you goes out to the CYS18 Planning Team, which includes Marilyn DuFour, Patrick Lawrence, Brian Miller, Bob Neubert, Matt Beil, Robin Parker, Andrea Beard, Don Nelson, Bill Buri, Cherie Blair, Terry Shankland, and the PCS Staff. Thank you again to our extremely supportive donors. See the complete list of supportive donors on our website.

We cannot wait to see everyone in 2015 for the 19th Annual Clean Your Streams!

Whitmer Group CYS photoBy Jeff MacKenzie, Teacher of Environmental and Physical Science, Whitmer High School

Clean Your Streams has been an annual event for students at Whitmer High School for the past 12 years. I started bringing students when I was an FFA advisor and I was teaching an Environmental Systems career class. Students and other folks as well, sometimes feel that there is nothing that they can do about cleaning up the environment or other important issues. To counter that, we became involved with Clean Your Streams. I wanted my students to know that they can make a difference and feel a sense of empowerment in the environment. It also gives them an opportunity to have a positive impact on their community.

Unfortunately my career program and the FFA that went with it, no longer exist at Whitmer. However, there are still many students at Whitmer who care deeply about protecting our environment. So, a few years ago I started a Science and Environmental Club to put that passion to good use. Those students have carried on some of our traditions, including Clean Your Streams. This year, we were able to take second place in the Battle of the Bags picking up 29 bags of trash along with a garage door and other bulky items. Not only did current students participate this year, but I also had some Science and Environmental Club alumni help out. I also had one FFA alumni who is now a teacher herself return and help us out as a Site Captain. As one of my students, Sky, put it “Clean Your Streams was an experience like no other. I had too much fun being with my friends and doing something good for the environment with them.”

CYS is important for the work it does in cleaning up the watershed, but it is also important because it gives us the opportunity to instill the spirit of stewardship in our youth. Standing on the bank of the Ottawa River watching my students pick up trash on a Saturday morning (when they could be sleeping in) gave me the sense that the future of the environmental movement is in good hands.

Trash from a CleanupOne of our main focuses at PCS is removing the trash from local streams and rivers. Even though volunteers remove tons of trash every year during our cleanup events, trash accumulates quickly in our waterways. That’s certainly not what we want in our drinking water. Unfortunately, this reoccurring problem is more widespread than Toledo. Marine debris, or trash in waterways, is a huge ongoing issue around the world. However, there are actions we can take to prevent trash from reaching the waterways and PCS is working to initiate those actions locally. PCS received a grant from NOAA’s Marine Debris program, through the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to further enhance two of our largest river cleanup initiatives, Clean Your Streams and Get the Lead Out. In addition, we will be creating educational tools to explain the connection between household trash, how that trash travels to a river, and what happens to the trash once it reaches its final destination. One of our strategies in correcting the trash problem is by providing the proper receptacles for disposing of certain types of debris. PCS is teaming with NOAA Marine Debris and Ohio’s Clean Marinas program to install new Fishing Line Recycling Bins in heavily fished areas around the greater Toledo area.

To further engage the community, groups will be able adopt these recycling bins, maintain and monitor the amount of line collected. PCS is currently organizing this program and planning for implementation in the spring of 2015.

With the NOAA Marine Debris and a Litter Grant from the Ohio EPA, we are targeting river cleanup areas that need more attention, more often than our large, one-day regional Clean Your Streams Day cleanup. We will track the trash accumulation in local waterways in detail and therefore be able to understand the patterns of deposition. This program is in the early planning stages and will be executed next year. With help from the Toledo Community Foundation (through a grant received last year), we are organizing these new programs to further extend the impact of our already successful Get the Lead Out and Clean Your Streams events. While PCS is going ahead strong in trash removal efforts, you could be the real hero by preventing trash from entering our waterways. You ultimately choose where to throw your empty lunch bag or whether to buy something that can be recycled or not. You can make a difference in the marine debris issue by taking preventive actions, like securing your trash can to prevent it from blowing away or taking extra care to hold onto cups and straws on a windy day at the park. Trash in our environment adds up quickly, and while we are working hard to correct the issue, the process begins with you. It is easier to prevent trash from getting into the water, than getting it out. In advance, we thank you for doing your part.

Join us for the Annual General Meeting on Monday, November 17, as we celebrate the success of 2014 at the Ward Pavilion at Wildwood Metropark. The event begins at 5:30pm with Hors d’oeuvres. Following hors d’oeuvres, there will be a presentation of all the work done this year and a sneak peak into next year’s plans. We will congratulate Clean Your Streams Award winners and award the Clean Streams Partner Award, a prestigious award given to an outstanding member of the community who has shown heroic actions in protecting our local waterways. As business, we will elect board members and announce silent auction winners. The evening will be filled with food, celebration of the work on our rivers, celebrating our volunteers and discussing plans to support our river in the future. Watch your mailbox for your invitation. Please RSVP by November 7. We look forward to seeing you there!

Currents: October 2014

Your donation, no matter how small, can make a huge difference in the long run. Every penny goes a long way in protecting your water.




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View the CYS 18 Challenge Awards



Patrick Lawrence, Ph.D.
President of Board
Associate Professor, Chair of Department of Geography
University of Toledo


Tim Schetter, Ph.D.
Vice President / Secretary
Director of Natural Resources, Metroparks of the Toledo Area


Colleen Dooley
Attorney, Private Practice


Terry Shankland
Board Member
CEO, Shankland's Catering


Andrew Curran
Board Member
Assistant Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America


Shawn Reinhart
Board Member
Environmental Manager, Johns Manville


Philip Blosser
Board Member
Market Development Manager
Perstorp Polyols

Partners for Clean Streams Inc. is striving for abundant open space and a high quality natural environment; adequate floodwater storage capacities and flourishing wildlife; stakeholders who take local ownership in their resources; and rivers, streams and lakes that are clean, clear and safe