On June 22, 1969, the polluted Cuyahoga River caught fire. The river didn’t burn just in Cleveland — it burned in the nation’s imagination. The country was beginning to pay attention to what was happening to its natural resources. The fire started a chain of events that hasn’t stopped yet. These include the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Earth Day, the creation of environmental protection agencies at the federal and state levels and a rapidly growing consciousness in America about the environment. The Cuyahoga is America’s best example yet of a watery success story. The dead river came clean — and back to life again.