Documentary about Ohio River’s history and current challenges to debut on KET

Republished from Kentucky Lantern


A Louisville filmmaker is debuting a new documentary showcasing the rich history of the Ohio River and the future challenges it faces on Kentucky’s public television broadcaster. 

The one-hour documentary called “This Is The Ohio” features the travels of filmmaker Morgan Atkinson and his 981-mile journey along the river from the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers near Cairo, Illinois, to the city of Pittsburgh, according to a release. 

“I questioned the river’s true identity. I asked, ‘Is it solely a commercial highway essential to the economic well-being of the United States? Or is it a natural wonderwater providing incredible opportunities for recreational users? How about its status as America’s second most endangered waterway?’” Atkinson said in a statement. “I found the answers to be in all of the above.”

The nonprofit environmental advocacy organization American Rivers in an annual report last year ranked the Ohio River as the second most endangered river in the country, citing pollution and climate change as threats to wildlife and drinking water for millions of people who rely on the river. 

Kentucky Educational Television will premiere the documentary on Monday, May 6, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time with 12 subsequent airings. The documentary will also be able to be streamed online

The Ohio River, unlike other bodies of water across the country, doesn’t have a long-term strategic plan for its future nor does it receive federal funding. U.S. Rep. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat representing Louisville, in an interview included in the documentary noted the lack of federal funding and said he wants to make sure the waterway “is getting the resources it needs, that it deserves.” 

“That’s got to change,” McGarvey said in a statement. “Having a clean river is essential.” 

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