Currents, June 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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Join us for the Tree Training Intensive Workshop coming up next month on Friday, July 15 from 8:30 to 4:00pm at the Ward Pavilion at Wildwood Metropark. It is a great opportunity to learn from arborists, and other professionals in our area, about how to best communicate the benefits of trees, what arborists do day to day, how trees help manage storm water, and much more! A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please register through the online form by July 11th. We hope you join us for a day full of learning! 

June1The weight is over. Get the Lead Out! is back and better than ever! Join us for our first public outing this Thursday, June 9, from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Riverview parking lot in Side Cut Metropark. In the aftermath of the spring fishing runs, over three miles of the Maumee River between Perrysburg and Maumee need to be cleaned and you can be the one to do it! Anglers, whether knowingly or not, leave behind fishing line and lead, and this is detrimental to wildlife and all who enjoy the river. Volunteers collect the derelict lead and fishing line, which will eventually get recycled. This program is great for volunteers of all ages and can be done throughout the summer season.  You can also schedule your own Get the Lead Out!, whenever is convenient for you.  Last year, PCS volunteers collected over 15 pounds of lead sinkers and this year, we hope to do more. Still need convincing that this program is a great fit for you and your family? Check out this video for a walk along on the water. As mentioned before, the first public Get the Lead Out! is on Thursday, June 9. For those of you who like to plan ahead, here are the additional public dates throughout the summer (weather and water level permitting): June 23, July 14 and 26, and August 9 and 25. These events are open to everyone and all experience levels are welcome. Please come prepared with appropriate shoes and attire – we suggest close-toed, waterproof or old shoes, and clothing you don’t mind getting wet or dirty. We will provide the supplies. RSVP for one, or all, of the public outings by calling our office at 419-874-0727. This is just one more way we all can protect our precious river.

June2It’s summer time, which means it’s time to get out on the water! PCS, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources Scenic Rivers, and Metroparks of the Toledo Area have collaborated to offer you a series of paddle cleanups this summer, with the first coming up on June 19th from 10:00am to 2:00pm at International Park in downtown Toledo. This is a great opportunity for beginner paddlers, as well as experienced boaters, and is suitable for those over the age of 12. Help us clean the Maumee River, while also enjoying the beauty of our waterways from inside a canoe. Only 12 spots are available, so register through Metroparks today to help keep Toledo's rivers clean, clear, and safe for all! 

June3The entire Partners for Clean Streams staff set out on an adventure late in May to attend this year’s River Rally conference in Mobile, Alabama.  Kris, Executive Director and a seasoned River Rally attendee, knew what to expect but Mike and Jessica, still relatively new staff, were in for a real treat. Over the course of the 4-day conference, Kris, Mike, and Jessica sat in on interesting workshops about water topics, listened to stories of other water activists, met new people, experienced downtown Mobile, paddled along a winding river basin, and celebrated the good work of everyone in attendance. Read on to see what they had to say when asked the question, what was the most valuable part of your River Rally experience this year? Check out our online photo album as well! 

Kris, “What struck me this year about River Rally was how many new, young adults were there, including two of our own staff. River Rally is always an excellent conference and gets many returning Rally attendees, but this Rally I was so encouraged to see many new young adults soaking up the wisdom so they can carry on the mission when those of us more seasoned veterans are ready to pass the torch! Just as the name says, it’s also a Rally to bring people who are passionate about protecting water quality together and to re-energize all of us, which it certainly did.”

Mike, “River Rally was an excellent opportunity to learn from the experiences of other conservation organizations. I learned methods for engaging volunteers, better utilizing social media, and strategies for implementing new programs. In particular I was inspired by the innovative monitoring programs that provide excellent data reporting for endangered watersheds. The passion of people to preserve rivers across the country was inspiring. The conference allowed me to see that Partners for Clean Streams is a part of a larger community of water advocates.“

Jessica, “River Rally was an amazing experience. The most valuable part of my time at Rally was the conversations I had with other attendees. I met people from all over the country, who are all passionate about water conservation, protection, and our planet’s future. I also valued the paddling field trip because we were able to witness the diverse ecosystem that is Mobile, including alligators, bald eagles, snakes, osprey, beautiful aquatic plants, and much more. The experience reenergized me and reaffirmed my passion for what I do.” 

June4Have you ever wondered what it was like to walk, or swim, among the dinosaurs? Well, just ask a Lake Sturgeon because they experienced it first-hand.  Lake Sturgeon have existed in freshwater systems for over 150 million years – but where are they now? What once was a population of approximately 1 million in Lake Erie is now down to 100. The University of Toledo, the Toledo Zoo, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have partnered on a project to reintroduce Lake Sturgeon into the Maumee River, and ultimately boost the population in Lake Erie.  They recognized the need for Lake Sturgeon in our local waterway. The only two rivers in the Great Lakes where sturgeon spawn naturally are in the Detroit River and Niagara River. Otherwise, Lake Sturgeon are being reintroduced through what is called a streamside rearing facility, and that is exactly what their project proposes to do. “The larger picture of this project is to make the Maumee ecologically sound and to restore the balance. This project is one piece of that puzzle.”  A poignant quote from Jessica Sherman, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo and one of the scientists working on the Lake Sturgeon reintroduction. “And Lake Sturgeon are [just] a really cool fish”, Sherman said. They live extremely long lives, up to 150 years, and imprint on the river they were born in. This means that if a Lake Sturgeon is born in the Maumee River, they return to the same Maumee River to reproduce later in life. Lake Sturgeon are also the gentle giant of the Great Lakes, sometimes growing up to 300 pounds and 9 feet in length.  They are gentle because they have no teeth, and are harmless to humans.

Streamside rearing facilities look like small trailers near the river, Sherman said, where scientists hatch and eventually release the baby fish into the water.  Their project, which is awaiting approval for a $90,000 grant, will build a streamside rearing facility behind the Toledo Zoo next to the Maumee River. Sherman said they plan to collect eggs and sperm of Lake Sturgeon in the St. Clair/Detroit River system because it is similar to the Maumee. They will then fertilize and house the fish eggs in the streamside rearing facility, in Maumee River water, with the hopes that the fish then imprint and return to our river to spawn later in life. The Maumee River has the right habitat for Lake Sturgeon, but there haven’t been any fish born here in quite some time, and because of imprinting, no sturgeon have returned. The juvenile fish, once released from the rearing facility, will spend 1 to 5 years in the river and then make their way downstream to Lake Erie.  The fish will mature in the lake until they reach spawning age, 15 years for males and 20 years for females, when they will hopefully return to the Maumee to reproduce. Sherman explained that if the project is successful, the Lake Sturgeon population could be self-sustaining in 20 to 25 years. They hope to raise and release thousands of Lake Sturgeon a year, for several years, in order to reach the healthy population that once was present in Lake Erie and its tributaries. 

Currents: June 2016

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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