The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for more than 5 million people.

Rich Cogen, the executive director and co-founder of the Ohio River Foundation, talked with Mike Kallmeyer about preserving the resource. Education is an important component of what the Ohio River Foundation does.

“We also have an education program that focuses on the next generation of environmental stewards,” Cogen said.

In some ways the river is directly tied to Ohio’s economy when considering recreation, tourism, and the hospitality industry. Cogen said the river also serves as a water source for the manufacturing industry. Another key mission of the Ohio River Foundation is habitat restoration. “In the state of Ohio, more than 90% of the wetlands have been lost to habitat alteration.

"In some cases, we’re talking about basically development and paving over,” he said.

Looking at how to make the entire river system healthier is key for Cogen, especially as developed areas flood, and that water flows back into the river.