Less fire, more fish: The story of a river reborn

BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection Ken Cline will speak at the next COA Human Ecology Forum on Thursday, March 5 at 4:10 p.m. in the McCormick Lecture Hall. Cline will explore Ohio’s Cuyahoga River, where environmental laws and regulations turned a highly polluted body of water into a national amenity, as a case study for how necessary such regulations are.

On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire. That event helped to change our national environmental politics and laws. It also changed the river.

Cline recently canoed down the Cuyahoga River from its headwaters to its mouth at Lake Erie, documenting some of those changes. Following the new Cuyahoga River Trail, Cline documented the ways in which citizen activism, government efforts, and federal laws have transformed an open sewer into a national amenity. Part history and part travelogue, the presentation looks at the role environmental laws and regulations can play to improve the quality of our environment and why we need to continue with those efforts and not abandon them.

“Yet how do we understand the meaning of water? Is it a physical substance that can be described by scientists or a cultural element that can be understood by anthropologists? Is it a spiritual icon or an economic good?” Cline said.

Cline teaches undergraduate classes on international water policy, river conservation, watershed planning, environmental law, and protected areas. He has done extensive work with local, national, and international river and watershed conservation groups.

Contact 288-5015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.