The MAAC facilitating organization, Partners for Clean Streams, has recently celebrated 20 years of an annual Clean Your Streams Day river cleanup. The river cleanup first started as a program under the RAP to address aesthetics in the Area of Concern. PCS adopted the program and continues its focus on aesthetics in the AOC. Each year, this cleanup has grown in size and impact. This was evident during this year’s cleanup on Saturday, September 17th. The PCS staff and CYS planning team are incredibly happy with the results of the 20th Annual Clean Your Streams Day, which would have been unreachable without the hard work and support of their Partners and volunteers! 960 volunteers participated in Clean Your Streams this year as a part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. On that rainy morning, volunteers dispersed across 8 kickoff locations and removed trash from 31.1 miles of stream bank along Swan Creek, the Ottawa River, the Maumee River, and creeks and ditches flowing into Maumee Bay and Lake Erie. 26,136 pounds of trash were collected, including 730 bags, 311 tires, and many other large pieces of garbage. The list of strange trash items is long and interesting! For example, volunteers found metal poles, mattresses, construction materials, road signs, fireworks, auto parts, baby strollers, and much more. Once volunteers were done pulling trash and themselves out of the rivers, we celebrated cleaner, clearer, and safer waters during the Appreciation Picnic. There, volunteers were thanked with a lunch, t-shirt, educational activities, door prizes, and more.
One of the Beneficial Use Impairments in the Maumee Area of Concern is degradation of aesthetics. Clean Your Streams Day works towards delisting that BUI and hopes to spread awareness in order to prevent marine debris from entering our rivers at all. For more information about the success at this year’s Clean Your Streams Day river cleanup, go to Partners for Clean Streams website.