Clean Drains Fort Wayne Encourages Community To Protect Rivers

“Clean Drains Fort Wayne” – a three-year initiative in Fort Wayne, IN – is working to encourage the community to protect its three rivers – the St. Marys, St. Joseph and Maumee – by ensuring nothing but clean rainwater enters the storm drains. The city has more than 20,000 storm drains and is concerned about trash, debris, and other pollutants that flow into the natural waterways each year.

“The clean rivers we all want begin with ‘Clean Drains Fort Wayne,’ the new three-year collaboration between Friends of the Rivers and Fort Wayne City Utilities. Initiative founders are calling on every resident to Be River SmART,” the city said.

The city points out that if the waterways are not protected, pollutants, chemical run off, and solid waste that enter storm drains will have a negative effect on the rivers. These negative effects include: 

  • an impact on the supply source for drinking water;
  • algae blooms that die and decompose, removing oxygen from the water making it difficult for fish and other aquatic organisms to survive; and
  • Litter – such as plastic bags, bottles and cigarette butts – that can harm aquatic life including ducks, fish, birds, and river otters.

Clean Drains Fort Wayne’s first project will be a 2021 storm-drain street-art mural project – Clean Drains Fort Wayne: Be River SmART. Friends of the Rivers will provide materials for the eco-friendly installations as well as a stipend for the artists’ work.  The artworks are intended to convey the message: “Be River SmART—only YOU can protect Fort Wayne’s rivers!” 

The first-year project will culminate with a free “Be River SmART: Clean Drains Fort Wayne Fest” to be held on World Rivers Day, Sept. 26, 2021.

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