The City of Toledo partners with regional government entities, nonprofits, soil and water districts, and others stakeholders to educate the public about best practices for water stewardship within the Western Lake Erie Basin and increase awareness about how personal choices can impact sources of drinking water.

Collaborative public outreach and education has been an important component of the city’s initiative to raise awareness about protecting Lake Erie’s watersheds. For example, the Clear Choices Clean Water campaign is an initiative to increase awareness about personal choices and the impact they have on nearby streams and lakes. The campaign went live in spring 2017 as a result of collaborative efforts between the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Storm Water Coalition and other local partners.

The campaign urges people to take pledges that promote water friendly practices such as using phosphorus-free fertilizer, landscaping with native plants, managing yard and pet wastes, and volunteering to clean up local waterways. Each month, the campaign features a specific content area and promotes citizen involvement, provides information and encourages the public to get involved. There are five pledges to choose from: Volunteer Service, Super Kids, Lawn Fertilizer, Native Plants and Pollinators, and Pet and Other Poo. Each pledge provides educational information on how these problems affect Lake Erie and what can be done to be part of the solution. The results of this effort are displayed an interactive map that shows individuals and organizations who have taken a pledge through this campaign, as well as the estimated benefits of their actions.

This campaign and other outreach activities drive progress towards the Source Water Initiative’s first goal of protecting sources of drinking water from nutrient impacts.