What is Clean Your Streams Day?

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 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.


Help Support Clean Streams!

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