Currents | May 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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May 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.Did you know – Lake Erie starts in the storm drains, creeks, and ditches of your neighborhood! Lake Erie Starts Here NWO is a regional campaign to protect the health of our Great Lake for current and future generations. Campaign partners like us do this through public education, stewardship opportunities, and promoting sound policies and practices.

Lake Erie Starts Here NWO has different educational focuses that change throughout the seasons, highlighting the most relevant actions we can each take in our homes, green spaces, and yards to protect the health of our Great Lakes.

In April, you may have noticed us on social media posting more about using fertilizer wisely, focusing on the “Four Rs” – right source, right rate, right time, and right place. Fertilizer is our spring season theme, so keep your eyes peeled for more Lake Erie-friendly lawn and garden-care tips in May. The Lake Erie Starts Here website will be updated periodically throughout the year to highlight new seasonal themes.

Lake Erie Starts Here NWO’s municipal partners are Lucas County, Wood County, Ottawa County, and the Cities of Maumee, Oregon, Perrysburg, Sylvania, and Toledo. Some campaign partners work with WTOL for further media outreach. Depending on where you live in Northwest Ohio, you may spot Lake Erie Starts Here promotions on WTOL’s cable channel, streaming service, or ads on WTOL’s news and weather app.

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.In 2022, 84 PCS volunteers marked 548 storm drains, spreading the word that stormwater stewardship impacts our rivers and Great Lakes. Learn how you can coordinate a storm drain marking program with your business, civic organization, or a youth group.

Storm drains collect the runoff water from paved areas like parking lots, roads, and sidewalks, which allows runoff water from these surfaces to quickly reach the nearest waterway. This helps prevent 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, trash or lawn debris) can make its way from a storm drain directly into our waterways.

Our Storm Drain Marking program connects municipalities, citizens, and active volunteers to protect our drinking water. Throughout late spring and summer, volunteers use stencils to mark storm drains with messages that focuses no our local water system, either “Lake Erie Starts Here, Dump no waste,” or “Drains are for Rain, Flows to Waterway.” Some local municipalities prefer adhesive metal medallions for their storm drains. Regardless of marking method, volunteers also 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 can be fun and meaningful for adults, as well as a great learning opportunity for youth 10-years and older. 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.

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.Stop by the “Birders’ Marketplace” at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge May 10-13 to visit our educational table. We’ll have information on stewardship programs that improve waterways for humans and birds alike! Learn more about the connection between clean water and “The Biggest Week in American Birding.”

Organized and hosted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory, The Biggest Week In American Birding is a 10-day festival in Northwest Ohio celebrating the spring migration of dozens of bird species through our Lake Erie shores. Many birders are especially enthusiastic about the uncommon species of warblers that can be spotted this time of year, lending our region the nickname, “The Warbler Capital of the World.” Birders flock here from around the country and around the world—to date, BSBO has registered participants from 52 countries.

So why are there so many species of birds in Northwest Ohio in May? The short answer is: our unique position on the southern edge of Lake Erie, plus our pockets of rare and precious habitats. As BSBO puts it,

“The southern edge of Lake Erie acts as a barrier that the birds are reluctant to cross during migration. The birds tend to ‘pile up’ in the woodlots surrounded by marshland on the lake’s southern edge to rest and refuel before crossing the lake.”

Many of the top spots where birds rest and refuel are Lake Erie shoreline wetland habitats, including Magee Marsh, Metzger Marsh, and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. You can learn more about the history and protection of our local wetlands in our February 2023 “Why Wetlands Matter” story.

How do our programs fit in? We know marine debris poses a hazard to birds through accidental ingestion or entanglement. We’re proud of our volunteers’ marine debris removal and prevention efforts, from Get the Lead Out clean-ups to fishing line recycling bins, that make our waterways safer for our migratory friends.

PartnershipWe’re pleased to announce the return of our partner paddle clean-ups this year with the Wood County Park District and Metroparks Toledo. Experience a Clean Your Streams 365 program from a new point of view – on the water instead of beside it!

This month, the Wood County Park District is partnering with us to offer a paddle clean-up. On May 17, we’ll depart from the shore of Otsego Park to visit the beautiful Hedges Island and work to remove island trash brought in by early spring flood waters. All participants must register through the Park District volunteer portal.

Also partnering with us, Metroparks Toledo is offering three public paddle clean-ups this summer: June 15 beginning at the Erie Street Market Boast launch on Swan Creek, July 18 at Delaware Island in the Maumee River, and September 7 at Granger Island in the Maumee River. For more details and to register, use the Metroparks’ volunteer portal. All participants must pre-register for these programs.

For all the clean-ups listed above, the coordinating organizations will provide kayaks or canoes and all clean-up supplies, 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.

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