Currents September 2019

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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Clean Yours Streams Day 2018The 23rd Annual Clean Your Streams Day is less than a month away on September 21st! Last year set a record of 35,000 pounds of trash removed from our waterways, and with your help, we are excited to top that this year! Registration for this event is open for our seven kickoff locations throughout the greater Toledo area. This year, kickoff locations include: University of Toledo, Olander Park, Three Meadows in Perrysburg, Monroe Street United Methodist Church, Side Cut Metropark, Middlegrounds Metropark, and Oregon Municipal Building. Please sign up through our website or call our office at 419-874-0727.  Registration will be open until Friday, September 13th

Groups of ten or more will require a site captain(s) who will need to attend one of our training sessions and be responsible for the safety of their group. Please also be aware that minors will not be able to register or pickup equipment from the UT kickoff location this year. If you were considering registering a group that includes minors at the UT location, please consider registering at the Monroe Street UMC location instead. Feel free to call us with any questions regarding this change.

We are also in need of people to help us with the Appreciation Picnic at the Lucas County Fairgrounds following the cleanup. Volunteer work at this location will include help with food, raffle prizes, and set up/tear down. Entertainment at the Picnic will be provided via our own MC, so come ready for fun!

Unavailable that day? Don’t get left out of the cause; please consider supporting those who will be there by donating door prizes or a raffle item. The raffle helps us to show our appreciation for all of the hard work done by our volunteers and the paid raffle items help offset some of the costs of Clean Your Streams Day.  We will gladly accept cash donations as well! If you or your business would like to donate to the 23rd Annual Clean Your Streams Day, please contact our office so we can make arrangements and recognize you for your support of improved local water quality. 

Jamie ForbushJamie Forbush is a Toledo native and graduated from the University of Toledo in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Geology. Her hobbies include taking care of plants and animals, reading, and a weird quirk of loving to organize. She has worked and volunteered for multiple non-profit agencies in education positions with missions for the conservation of the rapidly disappearing natural areas.

Jamie has always been interested in wildlife, but her passion really took off in high school when her grandfather took her to volunteer at a local wildlife rehabilitation center. She saw animals arrive day after day with injuries of all types due to human negligence; trash stuck around their heads, fishing line wrapped around wings, feet, beaks and necks or swallowed hooks; and so many awful things that people do, intentionally or unintentionally, with many of the injuries being caused by marine debris. Seeing the amount of that harm animals and the environment are going through caused a passion in Jamie for educating people about how their actions can have everlasting repercussions.

Her personal mission is to take the rose-colored glasses off as many people as possible by teaching simple tips that can be added to daily routines, and hope from there that people begin to choose to do more when they see the benefits of helping the earth heal. As the Program Coordinator at PCS, Jamie is looking forward to doing as much as possible to further the mission of helping everyone have clean, clear and safe water.

Cleanup participants and their canoesAugust saw two paddle-based cleanups on islands in the Maumee River; Missionary Island and Hedges Island. Luckily, weather was on our side, and both paddles took place on schedule and in beautiful conditions.

The first event was co-hosted by Toledo Metroparks and Wood County Park District on August 10th. Volunteers gathered at Weirs Rapids and then enjoyed a scenic 30-minute canoe paddle to Missionary Island. On the island, the 24 volunteers picked up and removed approximately 475 pounds of trash!

Wood County Park District also co-hosted the second cleanup on August 13th. At this event, participants gathered at Otsego Park and then paddled a short distance to nearby Hedges Island. The first concerted cleanup of Hedges Island was conducted just last year, during which 725 pounds of trash was removed from the Island. This year’s participants were encouraged to see that much less trash (only 90 pounds) had to be collected and removed. While paddling to and from Hedges, participants spotted deer, bald eagles, herons, and a number of other critters. Cleanups like these are a great way to combine an outdoor adventure and a good deed!

HAB severity index figureAs residents of Northwest Ohio, you have all likely hear quite a lot about the harmful algal blooms that can occur in portions of Lake Erie’s Western Basin. Algae is a normal and necessary component of the Lake’s aquatic food web, and growth of this microscopic plant naturally increases in the warmer summer months. The problem for our end of the Lake is that human impacts are enhancing the growth of certain strains of algae beyond what is ecologically normal. These impacts include nutrient (i.e., fertilizer) runoff into the Lake and habitat alternation (e.g., removal of natural wetlands). The strain of algae that has residents and scientists concerned is the blue-green algae.

Fortunately, this issue is not lost on scientists working at local, regional, and national levels. NOAA and several of its partners recently released an article discussing the implications of harmful algal blooms and the tools that scientists are using to study them. The article describes the blooms as consisting of “cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, that are capable of producing the liver toxin microcystin that poses a risk to human and wildlife health (Ohio Seagrant, 2019).” Click here to access the article directly.

These scientists are using a suite of advanced forecasting/modeling tools to better understand the blooms and to help keep communities that use the Lake and its resources safe during the blooms. These tools predict that on a severity index of 0-10, this year’s bloom is expected to come in at an index of 7.5; a severity higher than 2018, but slightly less than 2017. Scientist also know that bloom size is not related to its possible toxicity and blooms are not always toxic. The general rule of thumb, regardless of the published severity index, is to avoid contact with Lake water if you notice a green “scum” on the surface. Unfortunately, this summer the bloom in western Lake Erie has affected the public beach at Maumee Bay State Park.

Although this is a large-scale problem that needs to be addressed by large-scale actions, individuals can certainly play a part in the solution. Some example of citizen-level contributions include reducing runoff from our own lawns with rain barrels and/or native, deep rooted plants, keeping pollutants out of storm drains (including pet waste and fertilizers), and supporting initiatives that focus on habitat restoration within the Lake Erie Watershed. A little effort by individuals can go a long way when done collectively!

Currents: September 2019

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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Missionary Island Cleanup

Missionary Island Cleanup

Bob Neubert
President of the Board
Lucas Co. Engineers

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

Joan King
First Solar

Kyle Spicer
Private Citizen

Denise Fonner
Board Member
Private Citizen

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

Bill Hoefflin
Board Member
Private Citizen

Bill Buri
Board Member
Pexco Packaging


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