The Ohio River is 981 miles long, starting at the combining of the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and ending in Cairo, Illinois where it flows into the Mississippi River. The Ohio River flows through or borders six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennstlvania, and West Virginia.
More than 25 million people live in the basin of the Ohio River, which is 10 % of the total U.S. population. 3 Million people use the Ohio as a source of drinking water. the river supports 20 dams and 49 power generating facilities. These power plants create 6 % of the total power for the country. Some of the dams are used for navigation by creating a 9 foot depth which is neccessary for the travel of barges on the river. Over 230 million tons of cargo are transported on the Ohio River each year. Coal and other energy producing materials are the most common of all the cargos.
Approximately 120 species of fish have been collected from the Ohio River. At this time the Ohio river suffers from pollution caused by urban runoff, agricultural, and abandoned mines.