The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is easing consumption restrictions for fish caught in the Cuyahoga River between the Gorge Dam in Cuyahoga Falls and Lake Erie in Cleveland because of improving water quality.
The Ohio EPA announced the news Monday.
The state agency asked the U.S. EPA to remove what’s known as a "Beneficial Use Impairment" last year after fish tissue sampling showed significant improvement in the health of fish. Removing the restriction moves Ohio one step closer to a goal of delisting the river as an "Area of Concern," the Ohio EPA said.
"This is an example of the progress that can be achieved when you collaborate and dedicate resources to improving the quality of water in our state,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a prepared statement. “We need to continue to invest in our water resources so that we can see additional improvements.”
The Ohio EPA recommends consumers follow state guidelines for eating fish caught in Ohio. They range from two meals per week to one meal per month depending on the type of fish.
In 1992, the Area of Concern advisory committee identified 10 issues with the Cuyahoga River. Seven impairments remain.
“If you safely can eat the fish, we know that’s a great indication that water quality is improving,” Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson said in a prepared statement. “The Ohio Areas of Concern are a priority and we look forward to working with our many partners in continuing progress in the Cuyahoga River, to advance Governor DeWine’s major priority of restoring our state’s crown jewel, Lake Erie.”
For more information about the health of the Cuyahoga River, go to: http://www.cuyahogaaoc.org/the-plan-and-targets.html.