Currents | April 2023

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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April 2023

Three images side-by-side. From left: anglers participating in the Walleye Run. A walleye fish caught on a line. A tangle of fishing line removed from a Partners for Clean Streams recycling bin.We’re delighted to welcome back our former Program Intern Kayla Kirkpatrick as our new Program Coordinator. Kayla interned with us last summer and autumn, and was a volunteer leader on many Clean Your Streams 365 and Get the Lead Out clean-ups. She also helped immensely behind-the-scenes with Clean Your Streams, plus kept the volunteer appreciation picnic raffle running smoothly!

A northwest Ohio native, Kayla was born and raised in Toledo. She will graduate from Bowling Green State University in April 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis, with a specialization in Environmental Law. She’ll be ramping up her work with us as her school year winds down. She looks forward to using her knowledge to protect the environment and promote wellness for the earth.

Katarina Kieffer continues her work this year as our Water Quality Monitoring Intern. Kat’s role focuses on coordinating citizen science with our partner organizations for Community Water Action in Toledo. 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.

Liv Simkins Bullock has transitioned from their work as Program Coordinator to Communications and Outreach Specialist. Liv can be found writing newsletters (hello!), giving presentations and lectures, managing social media, plus creating educational content for our website, the Maumee AOC site, and the Lake Erie Starts Here NWO campaign.

Last but never least, Kris Patterson continues as our jack-of-all-trades Executive Director. In addition to her dual workload of strategizing for PCS’s future success and running our day-to-day operations, this year, she can sometimes still be found out in the “field” getting to do the fun stuff, like leading a cleanup or overseeing a restoration project.

As our programming season ramps up, the whole PCS team is excited for 2023 activities!

Three images side-by-side. From left: anglers participating in the Walleye Run. A walleye fish caught on a line. A tangle of fishing line removed from a Partners for Clean Streams recycling bin.Although every day is Earth Day to us, this April is packed full of volunteer opportunities. We’ve got the run-down of all the ways you can connect with us and give back to your local waterways this month.

You can always check our calendar for the latest information, but here are some highlights to look forward to.

April 16, 2:30pm-4:30pm
Clean Your Streams 365 – Erie Street Market
PCS has partnered with the Great Lakes CleanUP, a regional effort to remove marine debris from the Great Lakes, to tackle trash removal from this popular site for kayaking and relaxing by the river. Register to help out:

April 21-23, various shift times
Mercy Health Glass Cith Marathon "Green Team" – University of Toledo Campus
Help recycle and divert trash from the Ottawa River! Volunteer sign-ups are now open for the “Green Team” for the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon weekend! Sign up through the Marathon’s volunteer website. Scroll down or search for “Green Team” to find volunteer shifts. 

April 26, 5pm-9pm
PCS Fundraiser Night – Jed’s in Maumee
Join us at Jed’s in Maumee between 5pm-9pm for delicious food and drinks supporting a good cause! A portion of nightly proceeds will benefit our organization. We’re grateful to Northwest Ohio Community Shares for facilitating this opportunity.

April 30, 2:30pm-4:30pm
Clean Your Streams 365 – Orleans Park
This beautiful stretch of the Maumee River is a favorite spot for anglers, especially during the spring walleye run. At this clean up, we expect to find and remove lots of tangled fishing line (to be cleaned and recycled!) This clean-up is organized through the City of Perrysburg’s participation in the Great American Cleanup. Register here:

Three images side-by-side. From left: anglers participating in the Walleye Run. A walleye fish caught on a line. A tangle of fishing line removed from a Partners for Clean Streams recycling bin.Last month, we began our river-friendly spring lawn care guide with tips about seed planting and fertilizer use. With April showers on our minds, we’re turning now to tips for watering and mowing. Learn how to save money while saving water.

Smart Watering

Don’t water on a set schedule. Water only when the grass or plants show signs of needing it. Over-watering can damage plants, stimulate fungus, and leach nutrients out of the soil. If you do choose to water, 1 inch per week is usually enough. To test whether or not your lawn needs watering, step on the grass. If it springs back up, you don’t need to water. If it stays flat, it is time to water again – a deep watering in the morning!

In the hot, dry summer, grass grows slowly and the blades turn brown. But the plants don’t die. If you can bear this stage, your grass will green up soon after it rains.

Try not watering a test patch of grass for a year and see how you like it. If your test patch is successful, try a larger section next year. Your grass may turn brown (remember the roots are still healthy), but you will not have to spend every weekend setting up the sprinkler and moving it around the yard, or if you have a built-in sprinkler system, having a needlessly high water bill.

Put rainwater to work for you by directing downspouts into garden areas or installing a rain barrel to collect water for use during dry weather. You can also border your lawn with deep-rooted native flowers and shrubs to prevent water runoff, which means less work for you! You can purchase a rain barrel from the Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District store. Local organizations also periodically host rain barrel making workshops like Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District, the Toledo Rain Garden Initiative, or The 577 Foundation through the City of Perrysburg stormwater management program.

Mow High 

Mowing and watering go hand-in-hand. Lawns that are mowed too short develop weak root systems and require frequent watering. Make your lawn care cheaper and your lawn easier to maintain by mowing high - three inches is the rule! This promotes healthier roots and a healthier lawn. Use a mowing marker or a ruler to help you keep your grass at least three inches high.

Tall grass can capture more sun, so it is better able to make its own food and does not need as much fertilizer, saving you money. Tying back to last edition’s focus on fertilizer, removing grass clippings starves the soil of naturally beneficial nutrients and organic matter. By leaving grass clippings in place, you can reduce or even eliminate your need for lawn fertilizer.

Taller grass tolerates hot and dry conditions better. It develops deeper roots, enabling it to reach deep into the soil for water. It also shades the soil and reduces evaporation. Taller grass will often shade out unwanted weeds and prevent their seeds from germinating.

Three images side-by-side. From left: anglers participating in the Walleye Run. A walleye fish caught on a line. A tangle of fishing line removed from a Partners for Clean Streams recycling bin.Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful’s focus on trash-free land makes them a natural ally to our work on trash-free water! Since every Earth Month we work together to coordinate the “Green Team,” now’s the perfect time to shine a spotlight on some of their other programs.

Since 2020, KTLCB has co-coordinated the “Green Team” at the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon, bringing supplies as well as recruiting volunteers to help manage recycling and composting at one of Toledo’s biggest events. They work behind the scenes with us to help race organizers make more sustainable choices. On the University of Toledo campus where the race after-party takes place, KTLCB supports and supplements University of Toledo’s recycling efforts.

KTLCB has also partnered on several clean-ups over the years. Last year, we worked together on an Ottawa River clean-up focused on the Stickney Ave. bridge where the Toledo Trash Trapper “Brute Bin” device was located. At that clean-up, volunteers collected 36 pounds of trash. That might sound like it’s on the lighter end, but a lot of what was collected included chunks of Styrofoam and paper that had been shredded by a lawnmower, meaning it filled several big bags!

In addition to hosting trash clean-ups of their own, KTLCB focuses on recycling education and sustainable event services. One of their latest efforts is a checkout system providing reusable, zero-waste dishware for events of up to fifty people. They also recently began a Sustainable Restaurant Program. After interested restaurants have completed a short survey and consultation regarding their green practices, KTLCB gives them a "Sustainable Leaf" rating of 1 to 5 leaves, indicating each location’s success in implementing green practices.

Over the years, KTLCB and PCS have worked together to share supplies and co-coordinate clean-up volunteers. We’re proud to be their partner in sustainability.

2022 Annual Report Cover. A group of volunteers stands in front of the Maumee River with their grabbers held aloft. The text above them reads "All Together Now..."We're proud to summarize and share last year's accomplishments with the publication of our 2022 Annual Report! Learn more about our programs, projects, and partnerships. Find it here plus all past reports on our Annual Reports page.

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