Restoring the Cuyahoga River

Many partners along the 100-mile Cuyahoga River are working toward its recovery. About a fifth, or 20 miles, of the river lies within Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Everything that happens upstream impacts the national park. What happens within the national park, impacts everything downstream. The Cuyahoga flows into Lake Erie at Cleveland. As a result, it is part of the world’s largest supply of surface freshwater: the Great Lakes. Water is vital to life. It connects us.

People have been trying to clean up the Cuyahoga since the early 1900s. This work has a special place in the history of the environmental movement, especially the fight for clean water. The most famous—or infamous—chapter was the 1969 fire. Now, we are writing new chapters as we heal our river, its wildlife, and its cities.

Click below to explore the national park's river renewal projects, as well as the history of how conditions have changed.

 
Three people kneeling in water. In their hands are white and yellow mesh bags which have muscles..

Can the River Support Rare Wildlife?

Teams of scientists are studying whether the Cuyahoga River is healthy enough to support freshwater mussels and lake sturgeon.

Volunteers carry equipment along the bank of the river, which is covered in green vegetation.

Current Restoration Projects

Restoration efforts continue throughout the park. Stay up to date on these ongoing river renewal projects.

Aerial view of a green-brown river at the Canal Diversion Dam; colorful fall trees line the banks.

Removing the Dam

The Canal Diversion Dam was removed in 2020. This will improve water quality and pave the way for further restoration efforts.

Behind a fence of wood and metal is a large industrial waste dump. A crane and pulley reach the sky.

Removing Toxins at Krejci Dump

Learn about how one of the most polluted sites in the National Park Service was cleaned up by the responsible parties.

Blurry black and white photo of two children standing on boulders in a river.

Memories of Fish and Wildlife Changes

Read and listen to experienced fisherman Steven Moss discuss his memories of the Cuyahoga River and how it has changed over the years.

Two paddlers in brightly-colored kayaks and helmets navigate around a downed tree in the river.

The Recovery Story

The Cuyahoga has gone from a source of shame to one of inspiration. Learn more about its ongoing story of renewal and recovery.

Last updated: September 1, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141

Phone:

(440) 717-3890

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