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From Flames to Fish: Resurrection of the Cuyahoga

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In 1969, debris on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire, helping to raise the country's awareness of the need for improvements in water quality nationwide and eventually leading to passage of the legislation that became known as the Clean Water Act. At that time, the biological community in the river had been severely impacted by pollution and consisted mostly of pollution-tolerant organisms. Over the last forty years, however, consolidation of wastewater collection, wastewater treatment upgrades, wet-weather overflow control, industrial pretreatment implementation, and other remedial actions undertaken by numerous agencies and organizations have resulted in ecological recovery of the Cuyahoga River. Sampling conducted by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Ohio EPA in recent years has indicated that the fish and macroinvertebrates communities in many segments of the lower Cuyahoga River are currently attaining the Warmwater Habitat aquatic life use designated by Ohio EPA.

Keywords: Cuyahoga River; Index of Biotic Integrity; Invertebrate Community Index; Modified Index of Well-Being; Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District; biological assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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