Good River

High Waters, More Hazardous Cargo In The Ohio Watershed Complicate The Job Of Keeping Waterways Safe

Jan 28, 2020
Alexandra Kanik / KyCIR

Just before dawn in January 2018, 27 barges were floating like a net along the banks of the Ohio River, downstream of the city of Pittsburgh. Instead of fish, the fleet caught chunks of ice that broke off in the warming, fast-moving waters as it waited for a tow through the nearby Emsworth Locks and Dams.

The area had experienced record rainfall, and the river rose more than 12 feet in about 30 hours. The barges, some loaded with coal and cement, were lashed together with steel cables in a grid-like pattern, then secured to pilings equipped with large metal mooring rings.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Us & Them host Trey Kay talks with Bob Garfield. Garfield is co-host of the NPR program “On the Media.” He is also co-founder of an initiative called “The Purple Project for Democracy.” Its goal is to help people believe in democracy once again and show them ways to get involved and re-engage.

Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ohio River
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Ohio River is an important ecological and economic force in the region. It provides drinking water for 5 million people, but it’s also one of the most polluted rivers in the U.S. A new regional journalism collaborative is digging into what it means to live in the Ohio River watershed.