Currents | January 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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January 2023

2023 Board of DirectorsHappy 2023, clean water partners! As our current Program Coordinator Liv Simkins Bullock transitions to a communications and outreach role, we’re hiring a new part-time team member to manage our volunteer water stewardship programs. Learn more about this position and how to apply. 

We also welcomed a new Board member at our Annual General Meeting. Ryan Glynn had worked four years with Metroparks Toledo, and is currently the Park Supervisor for Howard Marsh and Pearson Metroparks. Ryan grew up in Toledo and graduated from Hocking College in Southeast Ohio, but he’s lived as far away as Vermont and Idaho. He’s an avid outdoorsman who enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and more! We’re grateful to have him as part of our board.

Thank you and welcome back to our returning Board members Joan King, Marilyn DuFour, Denise Fonner, and Bill Buri.

PartnershipAlthough they may not be the first resolutions that comes to mind, you can include protecting waterways in your New Year’s resolutions! The best goals are specific and measurable, so we’ve assembled some potential intentions you can commit to in 2023.

Commit to Using Reusables

• Buy no plastic water bottles this year. Even if you don’t regularly purchase bottled water, planning ahead to bring a reusable bottle when you go out for special events can make a difference.

• Practice skipping straws. When you order at a drive-through or in a restaurant, simply say “no straw, thank you” with your drink order. It’s just as easy as asking for no ice. If you prefer to drink some beverages with a straw, there are plenty of affordable options for reusable straws.

• Use your reusable bags at stores. When we’ve surveyed our volunteers, they tell us that they have reusable bags aplenty but often forget to bring them into a store. We recommend keeping reusable bags somewhere visible like the passenger seat or back seat of your vehicle to remind you to grab them.


• If you’ve followed our programs but never participated, you can make a resolution to participate for the first time! Volunteering as part of a group, like our sustainability work with the Glass City Marathon Green Team in April, can be a great way to get started.

• If you’ve already volunteered with us, you can resolve to step up your commitment to try a waterway clean-up once a season or even once a month. If you already like to go on walks along your favorite waterway and sometimes pick up trash, you can download the Clean Swell app to share data with us on the items you remove. Check out our Clean Swell refresher for more information.

Donate to support Partners for Clean Streams.

• Kick off the new year by making a gift to support our programs and projects using our secure PayPal link or send a check to PO Box 203 Perrysburg, OH 43552.

• If you’ve recently donated, consider upping your commitment to become a member.

For more ideas on New Year’s resolutions, check out Toledo Lake Erie’s Clear Choices Clean Water pledges. You can commit to planting native plants (next spring), fertilizing smart, or disposing of trash where it belongs.

PartnershipUsing too much salt to de-ice can have negative impacts on our streams. Fortunately, municipalities and individuals are stepping up their efforts to use salt smartly. Check out some of our favorite salt tips.

The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District has summarized best practices with an acronym that couldn’t be easier to remember: S.A.L.T. 

Stuff: Road salt (sodium chloride) works best above 20°F. For colder temperatures, you can use a small amount of sand for added traction, or switch to melting product designed to work at colder temperatures.

Amount: Contrary to popular belief, 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. Using a spread helps ensure consistent spacing, and you always sweep up excess salt if you find you’ve used too much.

Location: Salt only belongs on your sidewalk and driveway. That means there’s no need to salt your lawn, flower beds, or the bases of trees. Accidentally applying salt to these areas will likely harm your plants! 

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. While many people think of salt as “natural,” one teaspoon of salt permanently pollutes 5 gallons of freshwater, making it less suitable to support the fish and wildlife we love in our streams.

For more tips for managing salt use well for larger properties or businesses, our partner TMACOG has a YouTube video with more information.

PartnershipIn 2022, UT, TMACOG, and PCS began a project to help communities adjust road salt methods while reducing its harmful impacts on water. From local research to public education workshops, we’ve got project progress to share!

Ohio EPA awarded the University of Toledo a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant, with TMACOG and PCS, to better understand current conditions of urban streams in our area and make recommendations on how to reduce road salt pollution. Worldwide freshwater is becoming saltier and that changes the type and health of fish and macroinvertebrates that can thrive here. Locally we wanted to dig deeper and start making changes to better support aquatic life.

The first phase focuses on developing a chloride reduction plan, and all three partners have important parts. In broad terms, UT will focus on the chloride sampling and science side of things; TMACOG will identify specific equipment upgrades and new policies or practices to reduce salt pollution; and PCS will help coordinate project implementation plans with other organizations and government agencies and identify funding pathways.

This year, the UT team made significant progress on chloride data collection and analysis in our region. They began by analyzing historical chloride data and then began conducting new sampling of over fifty sites across Northwest Ohio waterways. They used this data to create maps of chloride concentrations and potential areas in need of reduction. They targeted multiple rounds of sampling in the most impacted waterways, and used this information to identify potential sources of chloride within these areas.

The project partners hosted a workshop for public works and road maintenance staff in October 2022. There, speakers went into detail on why salt management matters and how it can be done to not only help the environment, but also to help municipalities save money on the cost of salt itself and in turn, reducing the issues salt and cause for infrastructure and vehicles. You can learn more about the material covered in that workshop here.

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