Currents | June 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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June 2023

Two group photos from Clean Your Streams Day, the top photo from the 1st CYS Day in 1997 and the bottom photo from the 26th CYS Day in 2022.The Ohio Lake Erie Commission, Ohio EPA and the Maumee AOC Advisory Committee recommended the removal of Beneficial Use Impairment 11 (BUI 11), Degradation of Aesthetics, in the Maumee Area of Concern.

If you’re familiar with the Maumee AOC, you already know what momentous news this is for our region. (If you aren’t familiar, here’s some background on the Maumee AOC and its relationship to our organization.) If you’ve participated in Clean Your Streams, you’re already a part of the story of BUI 11’s removal.

In order to address the beneficial use impairments affecting our AOC when the region was first designated, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) set up a Maumee Remedial Action (RAP) Committee. Later reorganized as the Maumee AOC Advisory Committee (MAAC), this group is made up of government officials, businesses, industries, universities, and other interested individuals with an interest in fishable, swimmable, and drinkable water. The first Clean Your Streams Day was held in 1997, organized by RAP Committee members to work on BUI 11, Degradation of Aesthetics.

Over the years, many regulatory programs in our region have reduced egregious odors, sheens, and other types of waterway aesthetics degradations. Contaminated sediment removal, as well as state and local efforts to abate chronic spills, have tackled aesthetics degradations at their sources. In addition, twenty-seven years of marine debris removal via Clean Your Streams, as well as recycling and trash management programs and initiatives by area organizations, have made a difference! Thanks to all these efforts, the aesthetics of the Maumee AOC waterways have improved since they were first recognized as impaired in 1987.

In May of this year, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and Ohio EPA recommended the removal of BUI 11. Following a public comment period, the Maumee AOC Advisory Committee (MAAC) meeting, the Committee concurred with the recommendation, and it has now moved to US EPA and the International Joint Commission for approval

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission and Ohio EPA made this recommendation because the conditions in previously impaired Maumee AOC waterways now meet restoration criteria. This means that the Maumee AOC has addressed previously observed ongoing occurrences of sludge deposits, oil sheens, scum and other objectionable materials; specifically, materials that produce color, odor, or other nuisances.

BUI 11 is the third beneficial use impairment to be recommended for removal among the initial 10 BUIs identified as impaired in the Maumee AOC. It will be formally removed when the International Joint Commission accepts the recommendation. The first was BUI 1: Added Costs to Agriculture or Industry (removed in 2015) and the second was BUI 1: Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption (removed in 2022.) The formal removal of BUI 11 is anticipated later this year.

Volunteers pose during a Clean Your Streams 365 clean-up at Orleans Park in May 2023.Sign-up for our upcoming programs, including Clean Your Streams 365, a Get the Lead Out clean-up, and a paddle clean-up with Metroparks Toledo. Volunteer opportunities are on our website calendar and listed below.

June 10, 2:30pm-4:30pm
Clean Your Streams 365 – Middlegrounds Metropark
Remove marine debris from the shores of the Maumee River at Middlegrounds Metropark. Learn more and register:

June 11, 12:00pm-5:00pm
Educational Table at Metroparks Outdoor Expo – Glass City Metropark
Stop by our table to learn about the most prevalent types of marine debris in our area and check out fishing line recycling activities.

June 13, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Clean Your Streams 365 – Promenade Park
Remove marine debris from the shores of the Maumee River at Promenade Park. Learn more and register:

June 15, 6:00pm-8:30pm
Paddle Clean-up Clean Your Streams 365 – Swan Creek Landing
Remote marine debris from the shoes of Swan Creek via canoe! We’re working with Metroparks Toledo to clean up Swan Creek, preventing trash from reaching the Maumee River and Lake Erie. Learn more and register via the Metroparks Toledo volunteer portal.

June 25, 2:00pm-4:00pm
Get the Lead Out – Orleans Park
Remove fishing line, lead sinkers, hooks, lures and other debris from the shores of the Maumee River at Orleans Park. Learn more and register:

Nelli the dog hitches a ride on a kayak!Learn how you can keep e. coli out of our water just by picking up pet poo and by not feeding nuisance waterfowl. Reducing this waste adds up to make a major difference for our waterways.

A 1993 US EPA study showed that 95% of fecal coliform found in urban separated storm water was of non-human origin. The connection between clear, clean and safe water and pet waste might not be obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s trivial. Let’s take a look at the numbers provided by Clear Choices, Clean Water:

• About 47% of U.S. households have at least one dog
• That means there are approximately 53 million pet dogs in the U.S.
• Each of those 53 million dogs produces about 0.75 pounds of waste every day
• That equals about 400 pounds of poo every year for every household… or about 6.3 BILLION pounds nationally.

What happens to all that waste? After all, it would fill a space the size of a football field about 800 feet high. Believe it or not, pet poo left in a yard takes somewhere between three months and a full year to decompose, depending on temperature and weather conditions. That means that if pet poo isn’t picked up, rain will wash it away into storm drains, ditches, rivers, and eventually into Lake Erie. Ultimately, the waterways where we play and get our drinking water suffer from excess waste, and that waste is filled with bacteria like E. coli.

Ducks and geese are another source of E.coli-producing excessive waste in our waterways. These animals may seem like a beautiful natural part of a lakeside environment, and in small numbers, they are! However, large waterfowl populations fed by humans and encouraged by landscapes to stay in one place for long periods of time can cause problems.

These large wildfowl populations leave a lot of droppings behind.  For example, a single Canada Goose eats 3-4 pounds of grass and can create as much as 2-3 pounds of waste per day! Between their heavy grazing of grass and significant amounts of waste, a large flock of geese can make a backyard or park a very unpleasant place for people to spend time. These droppings are not only unsightly, they can also make people sick, adding nutrients and bacteria to our waterways.

Fortunately, solutions to these problems are easily implemented! For deterring ducks and geese, in addition to not feeding these animals, keep vegetation higher around ponds; they think there’s predators hiding there. There are also services for hire where trained herding dogs chase geese away from shorelines.

You can commit to making a difference take a pledge through Clean Choices, Clear Water to Pick Up Pet Poo and to Deter Waterfowl.

Properly disposed fishing line is removed from a recycling bin in order to be recycled.Our fishing line recycling bin program works thanks to organizations who host bins on their properties. Learn more about our recycling bin host partners, from public parks to private businesses, and discover some bin locations in unexpected places around our region.

PCS has fishing line recycling bins as far east as Port Clinton and as far west as Oak Openings Metropark. Across the region, more than 35 bins are currently in-use, with more in the works to be installed in 2023. We appreciate all our partners that keep the program strong. 

Bins can be found in park districts and city parks. Metroparks Toledo hosts 18 bins since so much of our region’s recreational waterways are found winding through or near Metroparks. The City of Toledo hosts bins on both the east and west sides of the Maumee River. Up north in Sylvania, Olander Parks maintains several fishing line recycling bins for young anglers getting their start in the inland lake. Down south in Wood County, the City of Perrysburg hosts several bins in parks like Orleans and Three Meadows. The Wood County Park District has a similar mix of Maumee River bins, as well as bins on other properties like W.W. Knight Preserve.

Did you know you can find a fishing line recycling bin inside Rossford’s Bass Pro Shops and Maumee Tackle Fishing and Kayaking Outfitters? Drop off fishing line to be recycled or if your line is being re-strung, ask the outfitters to make sure it’s recycled.

Check out a full map of our fishing line recycling bins. For more information about hosting or sponsoring a bin, visit our Reel in and Recycle 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