Hundreds volunteer to help clean local waterways

Published: Sep. 22, 2017 at 5:30 PM EDT
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A lot of people are working to help clean up Lake Erie and a lot of other waterways around the region. Partners for Clean Streams is a local non-profit that's been on the front lines for decades.

On Saturday, nearly 1,000 volunteers will be part of a massive clean up effort at dozens of different sites. Kris Patterson is the Executive Director of the organization, "Last year we picked up over 26,000 pounds of garbage in one morning." The goal is to top that number this year.

The Maumee River near Side Cut Metropark is one of about 60 sites that will be part of the clean up effort. The river is certainly a beautiful natural resource for the region, but like a lot of waterways, it has been faced with numerous challenges. Patterson says the focus of Partners for Clean Streams is to help fix those challenges,"We focus on helping and educating people to become better stakeholders to help make sure we have clean, clear and safe water in northwest Ohio."

Of course safe water has been a big issue in recent years, the biggest concern is algal blooms on Lake Erie. Algae was also found in the river in downtown Toledo this week, but Hannah Smith says that won't change the clean up work tomorrow, "We encourage all our volunteers to stay out of the water. This is primarily a riverbank clean up, so no one should be in the water. We do a safety training in the morning to let them know about the contact advisory."

In addition to the safety briefing, the volunteers are also given tools, "We want to get trash before it gets into the water. If it is at the water's edge we give them grabbers or poles to get things out of the water."

Patterson says the work of the organization is more than a one-day effort, "We do clean-ups throughout the year educating and doing outreach for children and adults. We also do fishing line clean ups where we recycle the lines found along the Maumee River."

Smith hopes people take home some of the lessons they learn at the events, "One would be fertilize your lawn less the other would be to plant more native species to help retain moisture and prevent drainage into the waterways before it is filtered."

In addition to the Maumee River, volunteers will also be working at waterways including Swan Creek, The Ottawa River and a number of other Lake Erie tributaries.

As you heard, Partners for Clean Streams runs programs throughout the year. If you'd like to learn more, we've posted a link.