Currents June 2022

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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June 2022

Photos of Kayla Kirkpatrick and Katarina Kieffer.Although they’ve already been hard at work, we’d like to formally welcome our new interns, Kayla Kirkpatrick and Katarina Kieffer. This summer, Kayla will be assisting with our marine debris prevention and removal programs like Clean Your Streams 365 and Get the Lead Out. Kat’s role focuses on coordinating water quality monitoring citizen science with our partner organizations.

Kayla Kirkpatrick (she/her), Program Intern - A native to Northwest Ohio, Kayla Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Toledo, OH. She is on track to graduate from Bowling Green State University in the Spring of 2023. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Policy & Analysis, with a specialization in Environmental Law. She looks forward to using her knowledge to protect the environment and promote wellness for the earth.

Kayla will be interning with Partners for Clean Streams throughout the summer. She has volunteered for the Clean Your Streams event in September as a Site Captain for the past three years. She is looking forward to providing more support to an organization that has made major impacts for her local community.

Katarina Kieffer (she/her), Water Quality Monitoring Intern - Kat is a native of northwest Ohio, but spent time living in Buffalo, Nashville, and Houston before returning home to the wonders of the Great Lakes and the Great Black Swamp. She has a BA in Political Science from Houghton College and a BS in Geology/Hydrogeology from BGSU and is a current master’s student in Geology at BGSU. Her research interests include mitigating nutrient runoff from agricultural sources, biogeochemical processes in wetlands, and wetlands restoration.

Kat is also an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) through the Wood County Park District. She is passionate about place-based education and citizen science and hopes to spend her career improving water quality in the Lake Erie watershed by building coalitions around science-based interventions.

A Navarre elementary Student prepares a storm drain medallion to be placed on a catch basin.Thanks to our partnership with Toledo Public Schools through the Maumee F.L.O.W.S. project, 3 classes have gone out to mark 65 storm drains this school year, spreading the word that taking care of storm drains has a direct impact on our waterways. Read on to learn about our storm drain marking program and how you can participate.

Storm drains redirect water from paved areas like parking lots, roads, and sidewalks, which allows runoff water from these surfaces to quickly reach the nearest waterway. This prevents flooding, which is a good thing! However, not everyone knows that all water that enters a storm drain goes straight into the nearest ditch, creek, stream, or river - untreated. That means anything on the roadway (like antifreeze, oil, excess fertilizer, or lawn debris) can make its way from a storm drain directly into our waterways.

As part of the Give Water a Hand Campaign, our Storm Drain Marking program connects municipalities, citizens, and active volunteers to protect our drinking water. Throughout late spring and summer, volunteers mark storm drains with the phrase "Drains are for Rain, Flows to Waterway" with stencils or "No Dumping, Drains to Lake" adhesive medallions, as well as distribute educational door tags in the surrounding neighborhood. Marking storm drains is an effective way to educate people about possible water contamination through the misuse of storm drains.

Want to schedule a storm drain marking program for a group? Storm drain marking can be done whenever there is warm, dry weather. This program is a great youth learning opportunity; we recommend it for ages 10 and up. We provide all equipment and training. To participate, contact our office or fill out the online registration form so we can arrange a location and time for your group. We look forward to your help in sharing this important message!

PCS staff Kayla Kirkpatrick and Liv Simkins Bullock at Naturally Oregon Fest.We’ve been happy to get back into the swing of tabling and in-person outreach events across the region, from as far south as Bowling Green State University’s EcoFest and north to Naturally Oregon Fest near Maumee Bay. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see us in-person recently, learn more about some of the resources we promote when we’re out tabling.

Give Water A Hand Tip Cards

Give Water a Hand has been one of the most successful environmental awareness campaigns in Northwest Ohio. Over twenty local communities and organizations collaborated to create the Residential Campaign and subsequent Business Campaign. One important aspect of this multi-media effort is a series of tip cards on everyday changes we can make in our households and communities to protect water. These seven tip cards cover topics like water-smart lawn care, stewarding storm drains, and reducing our risk of contributing to marine debris. Find them all here.

Clear Choices Clean Water – Greater Toledo Lake Erie

Clear Choices Clean Water is an award-winning national program designed to increase awareness about the choices we each make and the impact they have on our waterways. Clear Choices Clean Water – Greater Toledo Lake Erie is a cooperative effort between TMACOG’s Stormwater Coalition members and many local partners. Clear Choices Clean Water focuses on taking pledges to protect water through our everyday actions, from picking up pet poo, to gardening with native plants, to committing to volunteer service. Learn more about these key action items and pledges on the Clear Choices Clean Water – Greater Toledo Lake Erie site.

Toledo Trash Trappers Postcards

Starting in 2021, the City of Toledo has led a project through US EPA’s Trash Free Waters program to install trash capture devices around Toledo’s waterways and raise awareness around marine debris. Last year, we began creating a series of postcards highlighting the trash trapping devices to be installed in our area. Different trash trappers have different marine debris specialties; some are better suited to particular waterways or particular types of marine debris than others. Although these postcards aren’t yet available on our website (you’ll have to find us in-person to snag one!) you can still learn more about Trash Free Waters from the City of Toledo’s program overview.

PCS Board Member Denise Fonner proud of her paddle clean-up wheelbarrow find.Our Clean Your Streams 365 volunteers are used to taking care of our waterways from the streambank. This summer, however, we’ve got opportunities to clean up from new points of view - while on the water! We’re proud to partner again with Metroparks Toledo and the Wood County Park District on paddle clean-ups, where volunteers remove trash from our rivers via kayaks and canoes.

Metroparks Toledo will offer three public paddle clean-ups: June 15 beginning at the Erie Street Market Boast launch on Swan Creek, July 28 at Delaware Island in the Maumee River, and August 24 at Granger Island in the Maumee River. Click any links to learn more and register. All participants must register via the Metroparks’ volunteer portal.

The Wood County Park District is offering an opportunity on July 9 to visit Hedges Island off the shore of Otsego Park to remove debris dumped by early summer flood waters. All participants in this clean-up must register through the Park District volunteer portal.

For all clean-ups listed above, the coordinating organization will provide kayaks or canoes to facilitate the program, although participants also have the option to bring their own boat. If you have any questions about joining one of these paddle clean-ups or want advice planning a paddle clean-up of your own, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

Last year, 37 volunteers on our partner paddle clean-ups removed 540 pounds of marine debris from area islands in Swan Creek, Grassy Creek, and the Maumee River. Let’s see what we can accomplish in 2022.

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