You’ve heard of the Ohio River. But do you know about it?
Well, of course you do, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway.
The Ohio River springs into existence in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers collide. The Ohio is 981 miles long, ending in Cairo, Illinois, after passing through (or being the border of) six states.
I’ll wait while you try to remember what they are.
Its largest tributary is the Tennessee River, but there are plenty of other tributaries along the way.
The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for more than 3 million people. Most of them prefer that it passes through a water treatment facility before being poured into their drinking cups.
There are currently 20 dams on the Ohio River watched over and managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The first locks on the river (the Louisville and Portland Canal) were built between 1825 and 1830 at the only major natural navigational barrier on the river, the Falls of the Ohio near Louisville. The Falls (it sounds so grand, doesn’t it?) were a series of rapids where the river dropped 26 feet in about 2 miles.
Approximately 164 species of fish have been found in the Ohio River (not all of them at the same time). In the early 19th century, many pirates were also found on the river (they weren’t nearly as nice as the fish).
80 species of mussels once lived in the Ohio River. Currently only 50 species occur and 5 of those are in danger of extinction.
There are fish consumption advisories in place for the entire length of the river. Basically, don’t fish in the river if you’re looking for lunch.
The Ohio River flows through or borders six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Want to know more about the Ohio River? Read more here.