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Deceptive Beauty

Akron Reservoir

The Cuyahoga River has long been a focus of environmentalists, due to its high propensity to catch fire. Since 1969, the river has burst into flames an astounding thirteen times. During the industrial boom of the 1950s and 60s, factories in Akron and Cleveland saw the river as an easy dumping ground for liquid waste, turning the river into a dangerous cesspool nearly devoid of all life.

The river no longer bursts into flames. It no longer resembles a lifeless cesspool of toxic sludge. To a casual observer, the problems may seem to have simply vanished. It is this deceptive beauty that stands to undermine the river’s recovery. Life is returning. However, urban expansion, continued industrial activity, and overall poor water treatment methods threaten to disrupt this uncertain recovery. Bank erosion, human pollution, and run-off are among many of the challenges that must be faced before this river is fully restored.

M. Katie White

Summit Lake

Drainage in The Valley

Electric River Crossing

Cuyahoga Falls, Partially Removed Dam

Drainage in The Valley #2

River Dump

Lock 29 Akron, Ohio

EPA Brownfield Recovery Site

Removed Dam Kent, Ohio

Downstream from Kent Dam

EPA Bank Erosion Project

Cuyahoga River Cleveland, Ohio

Lock 29 Akron, Ohio

Factory drain Akron, Ohio

Akron Reservoir Dam

Business in the Valley

Tree Erosion

Lock 29 Path Akron, Ohio

Towpath Cleveland, Ohio

Wildlife Restoration Area A

The Flats

Akron Sewage


Bank Erosion Peninsula, Ohio

Fishing Akron,Ohio

View of the Flats

Trash view

Debris downstream from Akron Dam