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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Clean Your Streams Day

Feature CYS 28

Clean Your Streams Day (CYS) provides a positive impact on the environment and in our community. For three hours on one day in September, hundreds of volunteers join forces to remove marine debris from over 30 miles of waterways in the greater Toledo area. Volunteers gather at one of several kickoff locations throughout the region, then travel to an assigned waterway site to clean up. Volunteers of all ages remove and record data on what they find. Partners for Clean Streams later sends this data to the Ocean Conservancy for inclusion in International Coastal Cleanup records. Many groups, such as youth volunteer groups, businesses, church groups, and environmental organizations participate in friendly CYS group challenges.

Clean Your Streams is held annually in September. If you would like to hold a clean-up at any other time of the year, check out our sister program CYS 365, a year-round effort to keep our waterways clean, clear, and safe.

2022 October Header 1For 27 years, we’ve been amazed by our volunteers’ determined water stewardship during Clean Your Streams. We’re proud to present their results with a full breakdown of the citizen science data collected this year.

Clean Your Streams is a watershed clean-up program where volunteers remove trash and record citizen science data on the items they collect. CYS is the largest cleanup in Ohio that contributes marine debris data to the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) database. Volunteers impact watersheds across our region, including the Ottawa River, Swan Creek, Maumee River, and Maumee Bay tributaries. Over the past 27 years of CYS, more than 16,250 volunteers have removed approximately 397,600 pounds of marine debris.

Like the last few years, the most frequently removed items from Northwest Ohio’s waterways were #1 food wrappers, #2 cigarette butts, and #3 plastic beverage bottles. Unusual finds this year included a message in a bottle, turtle-shaped sandbox, hot tub cover, bar stool, bowling ball, coffee table, plastic Christmas tree, and, puzzlingly, an inner tube full of bricks.

Total Impact of Remote and In-Person Kickoffs

Volunteers: 723
Sites cleaned: 70
Pounds of marine debris removed: 14,957
River miles: 37

Check out our full CYS 27 Fact Sheet and downloadable Infographic for more photos and information!

Photo Challenge Winners

We received so many incredible submissions this year for “Strangest Find” photos that we couldn’t pick just one favorite!

1st Place “Sloth Hanging Out” – Side Cut Kickoff site, photo by Gene Liegel

Side Cut Kickoff Sloth Hanging Out Gene Liegel

2nd Place “Couch Cushions from the Ottawa River” – Monroe St. UMC Kickoff site, photo by Jess Soffee

Monroe Street UMC Kickoff Couch Cushions from Ottawa River Credit Jess Soffee

3rd Place “Bowling Ball” – Side Cut Kickoff site, photo by Andrea Beach

Side Cut Bowling Ball Troop 66 Andrea Beach

Collegiate Winner – “Bike and Shopping Cart” – UT Kickoff site – from University of Toledo Environmental Law Society

Collegiate Winner UT Environmental Club

River Partner Certification

River Partner Certification recognizes businesses, nonprofits, agencies, and other civic groups who let us know they brought volunteer groups to Clean Your Streams.

River Guardian (30-49 volunteers) - The Andersons, Inc.

Stream Protector (10-29 volunteers) - Civil & Environmental Consultants, First Solar, Heritage Environmental Services, NSG Glass North America, Ohio EPA, Toledo Department of Public Utilities, Toledo FFA, Verdantas

Creek Crusader (1-9 volunteers) – Arcadis, Fort Industry Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, Lowes, Racing for Recovery, U.S. Coast Guard, Vacation Daze with Cassie

Youth Challenge Awards

Youth groups submitted their data at the post-clean-up volunteer appreciation picnic and winners were announced later that afternoon.

Most Volunteers: Awarded to the groups with the most CYS volunteers
1st    Toledo Early College High School (92 volunteers)
2nd   Northwood Pack 244 (35)
3rd    BSA Troop 66 (25)

Awesome Effort: Awarded to the groups with the greatest number of full bags per person
1st    Whitmer Science and Environmental Club
2nd   BSA Troop 66
3rd    BSA Pack 214

Bonus: Tire Champions. Special acknowledgement goes to the Toledo ZOOTeens, who removed an astounding 33 tires during their clean-up!

Battle of the Bags: Awarded to the groups who fill the greatest number of total trash bags
1st    Toledo Early College High School
2nd   BSA Troop 66
3rd    Toledo ZOOTeens

We would like to thank our generous sponsors for supporting the 27th Annual Clean Your Streams Day. Your gift helps our volunteers keep our region's water cleaner, clearer, and safer.  

CYS 27 Logo with outline

 

Grant Funders

SistersStFranLogoGTCF Logo CMYK Tag 

 

 

Community Partners

OI Logo

 

 

CYS Underwriters

Full Color Serving since 1947 image001 2 FSLogo RGB 1   JH Logo 2019 Vertical

Kwest Logo VERT w.tag PNGversion   LC SWU HiRes   NSG Logo

 Omni RGB Omni Primary Full   City of Oregon Logo   City of Toledo Logo Full Color CMYK UToledo VERT Logo RGB

 

 

CYS Contributors
CEC Logo  LowesLogo2023 RGB  Heritage Logo Perrysburg Rotary Logo tetratech VERDANTAS CMYK COLOR NOTAG

 

CYS Supporters

The Mannik & Smith Group

Monroe Street. United Methodist Church

Oak Openings Region Conservancy

 

 

 

Challenge winners celebrate their workTo make cleaning our streams even more exciting, Partners for Clean Streams hosts friendly challenges. Challenge your friends, family, a rival team, or collegeas to collect the most trash, find unusual items, or make a big impact by bringing the most volunteers or taking the best before-and-after clean-up photos!

Click here for a detailed guide on how to get involved in Youth, Collegiate, and General Challenges in the 27th Annual Clean Your Streams.

 

 

Youth Group CYS Challenge Awards
Most Volunteers: Awarded to the groups with the most CYS participants.
Battle of the Bags: Awarded to the groups who fill the greatest number of trash bags.
Awesome Effort: For youth groups, awarded to the groups with the largest average number of bags per person.

Collegiate Group CYS Challenge Awards
Most Volunteers: Awarded to the groups with the most CYS participants.
Battle of the Bags: Awarded to the groups who fill the greatest number of trash bags.
Awesome Effort: Awarded to the groups that find the most food wrappers, which have surpassed cigarette butts as the #1 removed trash on CYS Day.
Best Before-and-After: Awarded to the biggest before-and-after impact captured via photo.
Strangest Find: Awarded to the most unusual items removed and documented via photo.

Challenges for All
Everyone is welcome to share your Best Before-and-After and Strangest Find photos on social media with @PCSMaumee and use #CleanYourStreams419. You can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. PCS staff will vote for the winners!

Recognition for Businesses, Nonprofits, and Other Groups
When you check-in at your kickoff, let your Kickoff Coordinator know your group name and how many members are participating. Your group will be recognized with a River Partner Certification after CYS Day, as well as featured on the PCS webpage and other materials.

Watershed Warrior: 50+ volunteers
River Guardian: 30-49 volunteers
Stream Protector: 10-29 volunteers
Creek Crusader: 1-9 volunteers

Clean Your Streams 2022

Clean Your Streams 2021

Clean Your Streams 2020

Clean Your Streams 2019

Clean Your Streams 2018

Clean Your Streams 2017

Clean Your Streams 2016

Clean Your Streams 2015

Clean Your Streams 2014

Clean Your Streams 2013

Clean Your Streams 2012

 

Clean Your Streams Day is an annual event hosted by Partners For Clean Streams (with help from many partners) where over one thousand volunteers join forces to clean up tons of trash from over 60 sites in rivers in the greater Toledo area. We clean trash from the river during the event, educate our volunteers on marine debris, and celebrate our local, abundant rivers. We focus on high-profile, high-impact sites in need of cleaning. We hope that through Clean Your Streams, citizens take greater pride in their community and rivers, and become environmental stewards. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about Clean Your Streams:

What day is it?

The 27th Annual Clean Your Streams will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023.  If you cannot make the in-person clean-up, a clean-on-your-own option will be offered beginning on Saturday, September 23, concluding on Saturday, September 30.

What time does it start and end?

For regular kickoffs, you will meet at your registered kickoff location between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Clean-ups officially begin at 8:30am and wrap up around 11:30am. Afterward, you're invited to attend our volunteer appreication picnic where we celebrate your Clean Your Streams accomplishments. Picnic details will be provided in your registration confirmation email.

What if I'd like to register more than one group?

If you plan to register more than one group, you must contact us directly. Our registration system can only handle one email associated with each group leader. PCS staff will help you create a custom registration. Call us at 419-874-0727 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What is the Remote Kickoff option for Clean Your Streams?

Starting in 2020, some volunteers wanted to clean-up and record data on their own, outside of the larger kickoffs on Clean Your Streams Day. We have continued to offer our Remote Kickoff option since then. To participate in a remote clean-up, register for Clean Your Streams and select the Remote Kickoff option. You'll receive full instructions in your confirmation email, but the short version is: pick your own waterway site to clean, and complete a clean-up at your convenience any time between September 23 and September 30. Record your data using Partners for Clean Streams’ Clean Swell app. Remote volunteers are still welcome to attend the Clean Your Streams volunteer appreciation picnic on the afternoon of September 30.

What is a data card?

Your Kickoff Coordinator will pass these out the day of the event. These cards are used to record types of trash you find which are used for local and international programs as part of the International Coastal clean-up.

What is Clean Swell? How do I use it?

Clean Swell is a virtual data card in the form of an app on your phone. Once you create an account and sign in, you can start recording the trash collected for Clean Your Streams Day. Check out this video tutorial.

We ask that you use "CYS27 [Your Group Name]” when you start your Clean Swell entry, so PCS staff can easily find your data after you've submitted it.

How old do I need to be to participate? 

We generally recommend that participants are over the age of 4, though any age is welcome (with the exeception of the University of Toledo kickoff, where volunteers MUST be 18 years or older). You can expect to walk on a stream bank, ditch, or other sorts of uneaven ground, picking up various types of trash. For groups with young children, our Kickoff Coordinators will intentionally assign sites that are kid-friendly, such as a park.

What do I wear?

We recommend long pants and closed-toed shoes. The entire event is held outside, so dress for the weather.

What is a kickoff location?

Volunteers will meet in the morning at one of several kickoff locations and then spread out to over 60 different clean-up sites. A kickoff location is where your group meets up before traveling to your clean-up location.

Where and when do I register?

Find the registration link on the Clean Your Streams main page!

What is a challenge award and how do I win one?

In short, Challenge Competitions (and the awards that come with them!) are ways we make our program even more fun and exciting. We have a whole page with more information!

What is a group leader?

A group leader is responsible for the coordination of their organization; including registration of all the volunteers you recruited from your group, collecting liability forms, designating site captains that get trained, completing, and submitting the Challenge Entry Form for your organization.

What is a site captain and what do they do?

Site captains are responsible for the coordination of a group or team at a designated site, including assignment of team jobs (i.e. recorder, collector), having first aid materials (provided), knowing emergency numbers (provided), gives/takes supplies, and turning in extra supplies, completed data cards, and completed Site Captain Reports at the Supply Station at the Appreciation Picnic. Each group of over 10 participants is required to have 1 Site Captain for every 10 volunteers. Training for Site Captains are required and are usually scheduled for the week before Clean Your Streams Day.

What are the responsibilities of the volunteers?

Volunteers are responsible for the collection of trash and recording what types of trash are found on data cards. Your Site Captain or Group Leader will assign recorders and collectors. Recorders are responsible for recording what the collectors pick up and writing it on data cards. Collectors are responsible for picking up the trash and letting the recorders know what they find. Volunteers are also responsible for filling out their liability forms. 

 

 

Further questions can be directed to 419-874-0727 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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