Clean Drains Fort Wayne

Be River SmART

Fort Wayne’s vibrant riverfront and system of waterways are essential to the region’s high quality-of-place.

Clean Drains Fort Wayne is a collaborative effort between Friends of the Rivers, and Fort Wayne City Utilities. This three-year initiative emphasizes the value and importance of preserving and protecting Fort Wayne’s three rivers—the St. Marys, St. Joseph and Maumee.

Why Clean Drains?

Fort Wayne’s vibrant riverfront and system waterways are essential to the region’s high quality-of-place. It is essential that the Fort Wayne community learn and engage in efforts to protect Fort Wayne’s most precious natural resource from pollutants. If these essential waterways are not protected, pollutants, chemical run off and solid waste that enter storm drains will have a negative effect on the rivers such as:

  • Chemical residue, litter and other pollutants can impact the supply source for drinking water.
  • Excess fertilizer causes algae blooms that die and decompose which removes oxygen from the water making it difficult for fish and other aquatic organisms to survive.
  • Litter, including plastic bags, bottles and cigarette butts washed into water bodies can choke, suffocate or disable aquatic life including ducks, fish, birds and river otters.

Sponsor This Event!

Would you like to partner and financially support Friends of the Rivers and Clean Drains Fort Wayne over the next three years? Below are sponsorship opportunities and associated benefits available for each year of sponsorship. (CDFW is seeking three-year commitments at any level.) For details and more information, contact Irene Walters


Engagement Through Art: Local Artists Get Involved!

Clean Drains Fort Wayne initial activation project is a series of storm-drain street-art mural installations throughout Fort Wayne’s downtown and neighborhoods. These artworks will not only cleverly incorporate storm drains, but the designs will also convey the theme: Be River SmART, only YOU can protect Fort Wayne’s rivers!

Call for Artists: If you are interested in participating as a selected artist for this initiative, please contact Pam Holocher at You can find more information HERE.  Artists must be 18 or older, and install their work the week of September 10-19. Friends of the Rivers will provide materials for eco-friendly installation as well as a stipend for artists work. Application deadline: July 28, 2021.

Neighborhoods Get Involved!

There are plenty of ways to get involved with this initiative!  We need the help and support of the entire community in the areas of education, art, community outreach, event volunteer, and more.  If you are interested for yourself or for your neighborhood, please take time to contact Friends of the rivers HERE.

Schools Get Involved!

If your school would like to participate in a school-wide “Drain Day” contact Susan Burns at

Clean Drains Fort Wayne Fest

The entire community is invited to celebrate efforts and success of Clean Drains Fort Wayne on World Rivers Day, September 26 2021, at Promenade Park. This free event will include activities, entertainment, food trucks, and a special opportunity to meet the 2021 Storm Drain Artists. There will be opportunities to learn more about area environmental efforts and how you can contribute as a river steward. If you or your organization would like to be a presenter contact Nancy Stewart at

World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways – highlighting the value of rivers and increasing public awareness for improved stewardship of the rivers around the globe. World Rivers Day is a way to connect Fort Wayne to a greater goal and purpose.

Be River SmART: Clean Drains Fort Wayne Fest is supported by many local-environmental groups including the Allen County Partnership for Water Quality and Fort Wayne City Utilities.