Cuyahoga River is 48 years into a makeover since it caught fire

Updated: Jun. 22, 2017 at 2:02 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Restoration and civil leaders gathered today to evaluate the progress of the 48th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire. Significant progress has been made in the challenges the river faces on a daily basis.

Matt Gray, who is the director for the city of Cleveland's office of sustainability, said the industry has really stepped up and done its part in the last 48 years.

"It is important to create this green city on a blue lake," Gray said.

Recently, there has been many implications within climate change.

Peter Whiting, a Case Western Reserve University professor, said the threat in the community is climate change.

"Cleveland has become warmer by two degrees Fahrenheit since 1969, and we have seen a 15 percent increase in annual precipitation and a 30 percent increase in heavy down pours. These more intense rains produce more runoff of sediments and nutrients, meaning more containments from the landscape into the river," said Whiting.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been a partner over the decades in providing research, funding, and more to help address cleaning the river and restoring it to wild life.

President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt have a budget cut of 31 percent. This can harm the wildlife and ability to clean and protect the water.

Jane Goodman, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga River Restoration, said there is much to celebrate but still much to do.

In two years, this will mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration.

"The Cuyahoga River lives and life is good," Goodman said.

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