Environmental Geology Case Study
November 22, 2011
Cuyahoga River Fires
“In the United States, a concerted effort is underway to reduce water pollution and thereby improve water quality.” (Keller) A case history of river pollution is the Cuyahoga River located in Northeastern Ohio. The river is 100 miles long flowing south to Cuyahoga Falls where it then turns north until it empties into Lake Erie. Cleveland and Akron are two major cities located along the river. The Cuyahoga is known as an infant glacial river, this is because it is one of the youngest river created from the melting of the glaciers. It is estimated that the river is about 13,000 year old. The story of the Cuyahoga is one with many lows and highs. The fires being the lows; new legislation and organizations formed to clean up and then prevent this from happening to other rivers being the highs. The name “Cuyahoga” comes from Native American word meaning crooked river. The river was very useful to early Native Americans; it allowed for easy transportation and plenty of food. The river supported all types of wildlife that the natives would kill for their furs. Just as the Cuyahoga was useful for Native Americans, the European settlers used it in many of the same ways. Early European fur traders may have played a large part in the demise of the Cuyahoga. Many hunters would set up trading post along the river. During the War of 1812 the Native American had been displace by the new settlers. The Cuyahoga River Basin was a desirable area for most settlers. The Founding Fathers knew that the area that is now Ohio would be of great importance. They knew that the Cuyahoga was the prime spot because the river empties into Lake Erie. Soon large steel and rubber industries would build factories that produced tremendous amounts of untreated wastes. These industries are characterized by heavy manufacturing activity and an outflow of production. The pollution that was produced by these...