Currents January 2020

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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CYS 23-Top 10 ItemsPeople are the leading cause of trash in the environment. Yes, that’s an obvious statement, but many may not consider this when making choices. Luckily, we’re also the solution. 2019 was our 23rd year of Clean Your Streams Day and we are STILL collecting and removing thousands of pounds of trash from our watershed. Part of CYS is removing trash, but another part is analyzing the data that comes to us after the litter is removed and the data cards are collected. After some review, PCS staff noticed some trends and has some suggested New Year’s resolutions.

Overall, single-use food wrappers came in as the #1 type of trash found this year, with 9,683 pieces collected. Additionally, six of the top 10 item types collected were all products that contain plastic; totaling 31,351 pieces of plastic-based garbage. Those plastic products, combined with the food wrappers, resulted in 41,034 pieces of single-use items that were collected from our waterways in a single day. If not disposed of properly, these materials endanger fish and animals, clog up storm sewers and treatment plants, and/or could leech harmful chemicals into our soil and water.

Another noteworthy observation was the difference in litter composition between sites in Wood County and sites in Lucas County. For instance, litter collected in Wood County had a higher percentage of foam pieces and cigarette butts, while Lucas County litter was composed of a higher percentage of plastic beverage bottles. Data like this could be used to encourage municipalities to educate their citizens on disposing of and reducing their respective “problem” items responsibly.

It is now January 2020 and with that comes your New Year’s resolutions! Instead of trying to make large difficult lifestyle changes, consider making a series of smaller ones to help reduce your footprint. Bring a reusable water bottle, use reusable bags for everything (not just groceries), pick up trash that you come across on a walk, store trash with lids on & put it out just before pickup, buy in bulk to reduce packaging, and be aware of the impact of the items you choose to buy.

Glass City Marathon Green Team VolunteerDid You know that Partners for Clean Streams is a charity partner for the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon? For the past five years, PCS has been the “Green Team,” which is responsible for recycling cardboard, glass, aluminum, plastic, heat sheets, Gu packs and more! We are their go-to partner for brainstorming ways to make the races more sustainable from the beginning to the end. Much of the “greening” happens before the race even begins – from packaging the t-shirts in bulk rather than being wrapped in plastic individually to vendors bringing more sustainable or recyclable products – we’re helping decrease the environmental impact. By the end of the long weekend, we’re making sure the course is cleaned of Gu packs that can be Terracycled® and people leave more knowledgeable about reducing waste. Please consider supporting us and make a donation to assist us in promoting healthy runners and rivers!

Rick Bryan on Fire Crew DutyWe are taking the opportunity this year to highlight some of the partners that help us achieve our goal of cleaner waters. Our first profile of 2020 belongs to Mr. Rick Bryan, an active environmental volunteer in the Toledo Area! In his own words below, Rick tells of his experiences as an active volunteer for several area organizations.

Rick Bryan: My interest in the outdoors began in Fremont, Ohio, where my friend Biz and I spent many hours wandering along the Sandusky River. It was a time of free range children when parents didn’t worry about structured activities for their kids.

I have had basically three careers; first working in a corporate office environment, then running my own wholesale greenhouse nursery, and finally once I retired, as a volunteer in natural resources and the environment.  My volunteer career has been the most rewarding by far.

My first really significant involvement with the biodiversity of this area came when Terry Seidel of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Denise Gehring of Metroparks Toledo approached me about growing native plants of the Oak Openings Region. This led to the Oak Openings Natives program which provided native plants to the public in many retail locations around the area.

I then became involved with the Green Ribbon Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, and Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD). I also have been a member of District 12 Natural Resource Assistance Council (NRAC) since it began in 2001. NRAC administers grant funds for the acquisition of natural areas in Ohio. I have also belonged to Oak Openings Region Conservancy (OORC) for many years. I joined the Stewardship Committee of the Black Swamp Conservancy (BSC) and also do annual monitoring of conservation easements for BSC. I also currently work on the prescribed fire crew for TNC and also enjoy conducting restoration assessments on various Oak Openings properties.

As a member of the board of Lucas SWCD, I have served on numerous committees and related organizations. One of those committees was the Environmental Council of TMACOG. This is when I became aware of the Maumee Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and Partners for Clean Streams. When Erika Buri of The Olander Park System asked OORC to take over as a kickoff coordinator for Clean your Streams Day, I knew this was a creditable organization with an important mission. We look forward to working with PCS and will try to identify cleanup areas having the most impact on our watershed.

I was honored two years ago to be inducted into the Ohio Soil and Water Hall of Fame. This is certainly something I could have never envisioned back in my corporate days. Life takes you down unexpected paths but I could not be happier with the path I am on.

De-Icing Fact SheetIt’s that time of year again, when we must watch out for slippery and icy conditions on our sidewalks, driveways, and roads. As much as we need to manage the ice for our own safety, we should also consider the impact of deicing treatments on our watershed. Scientists have determined that runoff from salted/treated areas is not healthy for aquatic animals and vegetation, or for our drinking water supplies. Fortunately, many municipalities are now stepping in to provide public guidance regarding tips and tricks for de-icing while reducing the negative effects on local waters.

The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District has summarized best practices in an easy to remember acronym; S.A.L.T (Factsheet Here). See below for more information, and please put these practices to use this winter to help decrease negative environmental impacts associated with road and sidewalk de-icing (additional information and tips here; Penn State and MN PCA).

Stuff: Road salt (sodium chloride) only works above 15°F. For colder temperatures, use a small amount of sand for added traction, or switch to melting product designed to work at colder temperatures.

Amount: Spreading more salt does not improve deicing. One 12-ounce coffee cup full of salt is enough to cover about 10 standard sidewalk squares. There should be about 3 inches between salt granules; make sure to sweep up/remove excess salt.

Location: Salt only belongs on your sidewalk and driveway, and never on your lawn, flower beds, or base of a tree, and definitely not in a stream. One teaspoon of salt permanently pollutes 5 gallons of water.

Timing: Salt works best when applied before the snow falls or right after snow is removed from your sidewalk or driveway. Never apply salt when rain is in the forecast, as it will wash away into the storm drain and out into our waterways.

Currents: January 2020

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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