Over the last 50 years, the Cuyahoga River has gone from being a flaming national joke to become not only a symbol of how a river can rebound, but an asset treasured by nearly every community along its more than 100-mile route.
Those who manage, safeguard and use the river today say it’s in the best shape they’ve ever seen, though there’s still room left for improvements they hope to see ahead.
In recent years, the river has done better and better on its water-test results.
“They all show an upward climb,” said Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
She watches the river’s water quality perhaps as closely as anyone, because her organization has a big impact on it and since 1972 has spent more than $5 billion on its treatment plants, in part to protect the river and therefore Lake Erie.