Let’s Kickstart a New Year and New Programs

Help kickstart 2024 with Partners for Clean Streams!

This year we will be continuing our much loved Clean Your Streams, Get the Lead Out, Storm Drain Marking, and Reel in and Recycle programs. We’ll also be launching the volunteering component of our brand-new Clean Water Action in Toledo water monitoring program!
Until our stewardship programs begin again later this spring, please stay connected and support our work by giving a gift to kickstart the new year. You can donate using our “Giving” link or send a check to PO Box 203 Perrysburg, OH 43552.
If you’ve already made a gift to us during our end-of-year giving fundraiser, thank you!Other ways for you to stay connected are to subscribe to our monthly “Currents” newsletter and to follow us on social media. We’re active on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram!

As we move into 2024, we are grateful for all the support in 2023 and looking forward to growing our impact with your help.

Resolve to Protect Your Waterways in 2024

Although 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 2024.

Commit to Using Reusables

  • 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. We’ve even given them out to our volunteers!
  • 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.
  • 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.

Did you know that 66% of marine debris found from Clean Your Streams volunteers in 2023 was single-use products? Your commitment to using reusable items makes a difference!


  • 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 during a Clean Your Streams 365 event, can be a great way to get started (You could even participate today if you wanted to!).
  • 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 Giving 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.

Smart Salt Refresher

Using 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.

UT-TMACOG Chlorides Project Continues

In 2023, UT, TMACOG, and PCS continued an ongoing project to help communities adjust road salt methods while reducing its harmful impacts on water. From local research to identifying key watersheds, 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.

This multi-year grant 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.

The UT team made significant progress on chloride data collection and analysis in our region. They began by analyzing historical chloride data and continued conducting new sampling of over fifty sites across Northwest Ohio waterways. They used this data to create maps of chloride concentrations and identify potential watersheds and even specific areas within a stream 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.

After last year’s workshop to introduce the topic and bring numerous from road staff and stormwater staff from various communities together, the project team began working with individual communities in target watersheds to identify their needs and next steps for reducing chlorides and better managing salt application. With this information, PCS submitted the first Non-Point Source Implementation Strategy in the state to Ohio EPA that includes chloride reduction critical areas, best management practices, and projects.

In 2024, municipalities will continue to submit ideas on how they plan to implement salt management practices for incorporation into plans and additional funding opportunities. PCS and TMACOG will work with these municipalities to help secure policies, plans, and practical equipment to reduce salt application in their communities.