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21st Clean Your Streams' Impact on BUI

First Solar MiddlegroundsOn Saturday, September 23rd, over 900 volunteers joined forces to clean the waterways of Northwest Ohio. Together, they removed over 23,000 pounds of trash, litter, and marine debris at 69 different sites. The volunteers covered 25.57 miles of riverbank, impacting the Swan Creek, Ottawa River, Maumee Bay tributaries, Maumee River, and several small watersheds. 94 tires were removed from these riparian areas, which were then collected and recycled through Bridgestone’s Tires4Ward program. Volunteers for the cleanup completed data cards at each site that detailed what kinds of marine debris and how much were removed. These findings were tabulated and inputted into the International Coastal Conservancy’s TIDES database for 2017.

Clean Your Streams Day has a huge impact on Maumee AOC’s Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI). Specifically, BUI 11 (Degradation of Aesthetics) is significantly improved through these efforts. At many of the cleanup sites, trash and debris had littered the riverbanks. By removing the waste before it travels to the waterways of Northwest Ohio, or further downstream to Lake Erie, Clean Your Streams Day enhances the aesthetics of these areas and prevents potential pollutants. The sheer amount of trash picked up beautifies the parks and riparian areas and fosters stewardship of this natural resource among citizen volunteers. 99% of volunteers felt that they had a positive impact on their waterways and the aesthetic condition was undoubtedly improved.

Thank you to our Clean Your Streams 21 Volunteers!

CYS4upresultsOn Saturday, September 23rd, we had the 21st Annual Clean Your Streams Day across northwest Ohio.  It was a great, sunny day of cleaning up our rivers and streams followed by an appreciation picnic for all volunteers.  A big thank you to the 910 volunteers who participated!  Overall, they cleaned at 69 sites (and one water site) totaling over 25 miles.  23,789 pounds of trash and debris was removed from our community's waterways, including 94 tires.  Thank you for all your hard work in helping to keep our streams clean!

Delving Deeper into the Status of the BUIs

The Maumee AOC Advisory Committee recently formed numerous BUI-specific teams to examine the status of the Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) in a step-wise process. Teams have been busy meeting all summer and are working on delving deeper into data, the status of the BUI in the Maumee AOC, and what projects need to be implemented to make progress specific to fish habitat, terrestrial habitat, macro-invertebrates, fish diversity and abundance, & other indices of health of the waterways. The BUIs use Ohio’s specific indices and data to measure progress within the Beneficial Use Impairments and in such a geographically large and diverse Area of Concern the conditions of the waterways, terrestrial habitat, and wildlife can vary greatly from watershed to watershed. Teams will update the full committee in August and eventually make recommendations to the full committee on identified studies and/or projects necessary to improve each BUI by using the metrics it is measured against.

A Sign of Improvement on the Ottawa River

Ottawariver6.24.14In early April, the Ohio EPA announced the state’s updated guidelines for consuming fish caught from Ohio lakes, rivers, and streams. The do not eat advisories were lifted for all species in the Ottawa River and replaced with less strict recommendations. This is a sign of improved conditions in the Ottawa River.  During the official announcement at the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said, “the types of fish you find in a river are great indicators of the health of the water and the Ottawa River in Toledo represents one of Ohio’s great ongoing success stories. Through state and local cleanup efforts, and with help from federal funding through programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we are now able to remove the comprehensive do not eat fish advisory for the Ottawa River that was put in place in 1991. As we know, however, there is still more work to do to improve water quality throughout Lake Erie and Ohio River watersheds” (Ohio EPA News Release, 4/3/17).

The Ohio Department of Health advises everyone limit consumption of sport fish caught from all waterways in Ohio to one meal per week, unless there is a more or less restrictive rule. For the Ottawa River (from Sylvania to the mouth), the updated fish consumption guidelines are as follows: channel catfish, common carp, and golden shiner are all limited to one per month due to PCBs; pumpkinseed sunfish are limited to one per week due to PCBs. Lake Erie walleye are also in the one per week advice category.  For more information and to download the 2017 Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory, visit the Ohio EPA website or download the guide here.   

Clear Choices Clean Water Website Launch

C3WThe MAAC has partnered with Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), City of Toledo, Wood County, and all other members of the Stormwater Coalition to launch the Greater Toledo Lake Erie, Clear Choices Clean Water campaign and website.  The campaign aims to increase awareness about everyday choices that have an impact on our streams and lakes, provide suggestions on how to make better choices while keeping our waterways in mind, and hold citizens accountable by offering a pledge system. Within the larger campaign, there are four sub-topics for citizens to learn about and they include volunteer service, native plants and gardens, lawn fertilizer, and pet poo. The campaign also features a special section for kids, providing a Clean Water Superhero’s pledge, activities, and much more.  Partners for Clean Streams and the MAAC are proud supporters of this campaign as it is another avenue to engage the greater Toledo community in protecting local waterways and giving them easy, attainable actions to do so.  Explore the website and take a pledge today! 

The Maumee AOC Committee works toward fishable and swimmable waters in the Maumee Area of Concern and delisting the beneficial use impairments. The Committee is working towards all major restoration projects being completed by 2025, through collaboration of partners and volunteer opportunities by its facilitating organization, Partners for Clean Streams. The committee is made up of representatives from various organizations, citizens, businesses and non-government agencies to build long term solutions to the area’s water quality issues.