Currents | February 2016

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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The 14th Annual Patch Day Workshop is only one month away – register by February 24th to reserve your spot! The Workshop will be held on Sunday, March 6th, 2016 from 1:00-4:30pm (with check in at 12:30pm) for children Kindergarten through 5th grade.  The cost is $5.00.  It will be held at the University of Toledo Student Union in the Ingman Room (#2520) with free parking.  The Workshop is perfect for children who love rivers and nature and want to learn more about their waterways. The Workshop allows participants to explore exciting water conservation-related activities and learn how to make a difference in protecting our streams and rivers. Participants will fulfill requirements for various environmental merit badges and patch requirements. They will also learn about the water cycle, native wildlife, waste water treatment, rain gardens, storm drains and much more. Check-in is at 12:30pm with the program starting promptly at 1:00pm. Pre-registration is required and spots fill up fast. Registration flyers are available in the Boy Scout and Girl Scout offices, by calling Partners for Clean Streams at 419-874-0727, emailing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or online at our website.    

Chris Smalley, Certified Park and Recreational Professional, is the Park Services Supervisor for the Metroparks of the Toledo Area where he manages Farnsworth, Providence and Bend View Metroparks, as well as the Blue Creek Conservation Area.  He holds a degree in Environmental Studies & Land Use Planning from State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Chris has been active in the park & recreation field in Ohio since 2000.  Chris has volunteered with numerous agencies on projects along the Maumee River, including sitting on the State Scenic River Advisory Council for the Maumee River.  Joining the PCS board allows Chris to increase his involvement in improving the Maumee River corridor, while keeping his hand dirty and working in the field.

Chris got involved in PCS when the Outreach Coordinator did a program with his daughter’s Girl Scout troop. After that, he was hooked. Chris also worked with Clean Your Streams volunteers at Providence Metropark for the past few years, yielding large amounts of trash and expanding our working area. Chris is a passionate outdoorsman and enjoys backpacking, camping and exploring the natural world. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Maumee. We are excited to have him join our Board.    

AvainMaumeeGLO12One thing I love about nature is that it never stops changing. Even if the rocks stay the same for millions of years, the ground and sky above them teems with life, ever changing.  Somewhere the sun is setting, while somewhere else, the sun is rising. As does the earth, I must change and keep moving forward in my life’s journey and goals.  I will be leaving PCS this February to pursue other environmental conservation opportunities focusing on Tropical Marine Ecosystems in Florida after I travel the country for multiple months. It has been a delight to work for Partners for Clean Streams for the past 4.5 years but adventure awaits me. Throughout that time, I have gained extremely useful professional experience, made long lasting friendships and experienced phenomenal personal growth. I have learned how to run a river cleanup, how to design a t-shirt, how to put content into Joomla (our website platform) and run meetings for Clean Your Streams Day, recycle fishing line and countless other things, most of which I had no idea I would learn when I applied for the job over 4 years ago.

I am leaving PCS with two capable staff, Mike and Jessica, who will lead programs, educate the community, build more partnerships, and engage more people with the goal of improving stream ecology. I am spending the rest of my time at PCS training them and making the transition smoother. In the future, please contact Jessica or Mike for volunteer projects, programming, fundraising, and everything else that I used to do. While PCS has grown in the time that I have been here, there is much more growth left to do. The work is not done. I trust the new staff and the Toledo community to continue the improvements. 

Before I leave, I want to give some unsolicited advice – Take the time for the walk along the river or plan a day to enjoy nature while you can, even if it’s a 10-minute walk. Tomorrow, you will be too busy, or it will be too cold, or you’ll find another excuse. Take the time now to enjoy it because right now is when memories are made. It will be those memories that propel you forward to protect and conserve what resources we love most but take advantage of too often.  I will miss my office, my co-workers and the multitude of partners I have worked with. However, I will be leaving with unforgettable memories and skills that will carry me forward for improving the environment for all of us.  While I know my future is uncertain, I am sure it will not be boring, Mother Nature will make sure of that.  Thank you to everyone who has made my time at PCS unforgettable.    

The winter months in Northwest Ohio are unpredictable, especially this year. But sure enough, the cold and snow have arrived, and so too has cabin fever – the feeling that we are trapped indoors, because of wintery conditions, until the tulips and daffodils arrive in spring. What many people don’t realize is that winter is an exciting time of the year, during which the world around us is very much alive and ready for us to explore.  We, at PCS, want you to see and experience the natural beauty of Northwest Ohio all-year round.  Below, we have provided several opportunities for you to do and ultimately, help you find a cure to your cabin fever. 

The Metroparks of Toledo offer many programs during winter such as snowshoeing, hiking, birding, and stargazing. Many of their programs are weather permitting, and require registration. Click here to learn more.

If your entire family has cabin fever this winter, check out Olander Park’s Winter Family Fest! This event offers many winter activities for your family such as snowman building, ice skating, curling, and broomball on the ice as well as indoor activities like live music, hot chocolate, and a chili cook-off. The event is on Saturday February 20th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm. For more information, visit Olander's website or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Does your dog have a case of cabin fever too? If so, take him or her for a long walk on one of the dog-friendly trails at Wildwood or Farnsworth Metroparks.  Wildwood offers a 3.3-mile-long trail along the Ottawa River with multiple scenic overlook opportunities. Farnsworth Metropark is at the beginning of the Towpath Trail, an 8.3-mile-long dog friendly trail along the scenic Maumee River. A lot of natural beauty to be seen on these trails, and good smells for your dogs too!

Before you and your family venture outside this winter, be sure to layer clothing and wear hats, gloves, scarves, and appropriate shoes for snow and ice-covered ground. Also, bring a camera to document and share your experiences with friends and family. If you take a picture that you'd like to share with the PCS community, email the original to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and your picture may appear on our various social media accounts! Lastly, be extremely cautious while walking near the river; it may look frozen but do not walk on the ice unless you know that it has been checked and approved by a professional. Now, get outside and rid yourselves of cabin fever! 

It is cold outside and now more than ever, your water needs protecting! Water can easily get polluted in the winter months, especially from using de-icers for snow and ice removal. Snow and ice melting products, known as de-icers, can have negative environmental impacts when melted snow and ice carry the chemicals into our ditches, streams, and rivers. Overuse of certain products, such as salts, can also damage driveways and vehicles, and can be a hazard for pets. In addition, not all de-icing products are equal in terms of cost, environmental impact, or effectiveness.

What can you do?

  • Shovel early, shovel often. De-icers work best when there is only a thin layer of snow or ice that must be melted. If possible, remove as much snow as you can during the storm. Use a hoe or other tool to scrape or chip off ice from the surface before de-icers are applied.
  • If you have a chronic problem with ice forming, determine the source and divert the melting snow away from your sidewalks and driveways to an area where the ice won't be a problem.        
  • Shovel early in the day, the sun will warm the surface and help melt new snow and prevent the need for de-icers.
  • Shovel before you drive a vehicle on the driveway to reduce packed snow.
  • Make sure to purchase your de-icing product well before the storm hits. Otherwise, you will be looking at empty shelves and have few, if any, environmentally-friendly options to choose from at the store. 
  • Many de-icers will not work in extremely low temperatures. Make sure you are getting the correct product for the situation.
  • Do not use fertilizers for snow and ice removal. Fertilizers are very poor at ice removal, and increase nutrient runoff to streams. 
  • Do not rely on sand to melt snow or ice, for it only increases traction. However, sand can be very helpful in certain situations where better traction is needed.

Remember that when the snow and ice melt, it carries everything along with it into the nearest ditch or stream, often via storm drains. The chemicals you pour on your sidewalks and driveways can have detrimental effects on nearby plants, animals, and water systems. Think carefully about nearby kids, pets, and landscaping that could be affected by the de-icing products used during the winter months. Keep your own safety in mind, for our waterways are our drinking sources. Your rivers will thank you when the snow and ice melt.

Information provided by Snow, Road, Salt and the Chesapeake Bay by Tom Shuler, Center for Watershed Protect. For more information, check out the Salt article.    


Currents: February 2016

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14th Youth Patch Day


Thank you to CYS Partners



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

Andrew Curran
Vice President
Assistant Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America

Colleen Dooley
Attorney, Private Practice

Philip Blosser
Market Development Manager
Perstorp Polyols

Denise Fonner
Board Member
Private Citizen

Shawn Reinhart
Board Member
Environmental Manager, Johns Manville

Terry Shankland
Board Member
CEO, Shankland's Catering

Chris Smalley
Board Member
Park Services Supervisor
Metroparks of the Toledo Area

Kyle Spicer
Board Member
Private Citizen

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