OHIO RIVER WATERSHED
The Ohio River begins in Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers join. Farther downstream, the river joins the Mississippi River in Illinois. The Ohio River watershed includes an area of 528,000 square km (203,940 square miles) and six states. Over 25 million people live within the watershed and nearly 3 million people rely on the Ohio for drinking water.
How do AIS end-up in the Ohio River watershed? AIS can easily spread upstream and downstream in the watershed. In 1994, the zebra mussel that first appeared in the lower portion of the Allegheny River (tributary to the Ohio River) near Pittsburgh. Shipping and barge traffic spread zebra mussels from the Mississippi River upstream to the Ohio River and further upstream to the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh. Like the zebra mussel, other AIS can hitchhike on the equipment and the hulls of boats without being noticed. There is also concern that the Asian carp may also make their way upstream from the Mississippi to Pennsylvania via the Ohio River. Water gardening and the dumping of aquarium fish and plants into waterways are other activities that aid the spread of AIS.
Find out more about
other AIS threats to Pennsylvania:
Find out more about the Ohio River Basin; visit the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission Web site.