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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Partners for Clean Streams, Clean Your Streams 365 Program is an extension of our Clean Your Streams Day event that takes place once a year. Although our volunteers remove tons (literally) of debris during our once a year cleanup, there are still mountains of trash floating around in and along our rivers. The Clean Your Streams 365 Program allows individuals and groups to go out, on their own time and clean up their local waterways. Partners for Clean Streams provides all of the equipment necessary to conduct a cleanup. You simply have to come and pick up a Clean Your Streams 365 Cleanup Kit from our offices. Once you are done with your cleanup, bring the kit back and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. All you have to do is email us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or give us a call (419-874-0727) and you will be on your way to helping us keep our rivers clean, clear and safe!


IMG 2220PCS would like to thank the 900+ volunteers who came out on Saturday, September 23rd for the 21st Annual Clean Your Streams Day! This event would not be possible without all the dedication of the volunteers, sponsors, and planning committee.  Thank you for making clean streams a priority in your community.  We have poured through the data cards and compiled the results from the day:

Volunteers: 910

Sites: 69, including one boat crew

River distance covered: 27.4 miles

Total number of trash collected: 23,798 pounds

Check our online photo album for pics from the day:  We hope everyone had a positive, impactful day.  Thank you for your hard work!!


Our final Get the Lead Out event will be on Wednesday, August 23rd from 6-8pm at Orleans Park in Perrysburg.

Join us on our annual Water Quality Boat Cruise aboard the Sandpiper – Saturday August 5th from 3:30-5:30. We will have water resource speakers, games and prizes, and a chance to ask any questions you have about our waterways. This event is $5 per person and registration can be done online or by calling our office at (419) 874-0727. We will meet at the Promenade Plaza off the Jefferson Street dock in downtown Toledo. Don’t miss your opportunity to mingle and enjoy the Mighty Maumee River with us!

We are very excited to share the 2015 Annual Report with you! Explore the Report online for now and we will have hard copies to distribute in the near future. It is also available for download in a PDF version. Thank you to all who contributed to our programs, events, and river cleanups in 2015! 

by Dr. Patrick Lawrence

As most people are aware, in the early morning hours of Saturday August 2nd, over 500,000 residents of the City of Toledo and surrounding communities awoke to the shocking news that their drinking water was contaminated and unsafe for consumption. For many the impacts that the annual blooms of green-blue algae in the western Lake Erie basin can have on their drinking supply came as a surprise. However, alarms over this potential disaster had been raised by many professionals and concerned citizens for over a decade.


Suddenly, the need to provide safe drinking water became a major issue, along with the need for many volunteers and efforts to secure bottled water and other sources of drinking water, and over the following two days provide and deliver that water to those in need. A major environmental and human health crisis was at hand.

Although the emergence of these blue-green algae blooms have occurred on Lake Erie for many years, over the last decade concerns were raised as the blooms increased in size, density in the water column and the length of time they remaining persistent in the western basin of Lake Erie during the late summer and early fall months. The breakdown of the algae at the surface can result in the release of a harmful toxin – Microcystin - into the lake water. Even at very, very small amounts (1 part per billion or the equivalent of one drop into a swimming pool), this toxin can cause serious impacts to human health if ingested.

In other locations around the United States and the world, similar cases of the growth of blue-green algae blooms and release of toxins have been observed and documented, including in Africa and China. These blooms are found naturally in the environment in ponds, lakes and rivers, but the situation has been a significant problem as human sources of nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrates, coming from various land uses and activities has resulted in excess amounts of these nutrients into water bodies, “feeding” the growth of the green algae present.  The typical human sources can include runoff of water and sediment from agricultural farm fields, human and animal wastes, and from fertilizers applied on residential lawns. Fortunately, after two days of further analysis of additional samples, discussion among federal, state and local officials and experts, and increased treatment at the City of Toledo Water Treatment Plant, the drinking water supply was deemed again safe for use.

But many questions and concerns remain, with answers often limited or lacking. Of particular importance is how the community can move forward with the reassurances that these problems will not occur in the future and what steps can be taken to resolve the situation. Options that need to be discussed and considered include the need to improve, expand and modernize the City of Toledo water treatment infrastructure - at an estimated cost of up to $1 billion - and means by which to reduce the amount of nutrients entering into the western Lake Erie basin from the Maumee Rive and other sources.


In terms of land management within the 6,000 square mile watershed of the Maumee River that drains into the western Lake Erie, the options and solutions to address nutrient runoff are many. Examples include more extensive use of no-till farming and buffer strips to keep the soil and nutrients on the farm fields; improved oversight of animal waste storage and applications and the operations of CAFO (Concentrated Animal Farm Operations); establishing wetlands and other bio-retention features to hold and filter water and sediment; and employing best management practices for fertilizers by farmers and residential landowners. The opportunities are many, the methods and techniques are well known and studied. What is now needed is the public pressure and political will power to act.


Moving forward the citizens of Toledo, and many other impacted cities in Ohio and along the Great Lakes, will need to make some hard decisions to tackle this complex problem and continue to press elected officials and government agencies into meaningful actions that will have effective impacts on ensuring that for future safe drinking water can be provided for all.


Partners for Clean Streams Inc., including our board, staff, members and the many agencies, groups, and citizens who work with us, remain committed to participating and engaging in the needed public and political dialogue that will be required to see steps taken so as to keep our rivers, streams and lakes drinkable, fishable, boatable and swimmable for everyone in our communities. Please consider joining us in this important endeavor and help preserve and protect your water.

PCS News

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