The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is a government agency established in 1948 to control and abate pollution of the interstate waters of the Ohio River Valley. ORSANCO, represented by eight states of the Ohio Valley and the federal government, carries out water quality monitoring and assessment programmes, co-ordinates spill response activities, promulgates pollution control standards for the Ohio River, and co-ordinates the individual programmes of state and federal agencies. ORSANCO recognizes that public and political support are as important to effective river basin management as technical knowledge and activities. Because such support is so closely related to economic interests, ORSANCO and the National Park Service commissioned a survey project in May 1993 to compile readily available data to estimate the “value” of the Ohio River from several key standpoints. This information is intended to draw attention to the national significance of the Ohio River in its economic, cultural and natural resource dimensions, and to illustrate the magnitude of positive economic impacts to be realized by achieving water quality improvements. This project brought together for the first time information that will serve to enhance public and political awareness of the Ohio River Valley, and thus enhance support for aggressive environmental management.