In the Watershed: A Journey Down the Maumee River
By Ryan Schnurr
Belt Publishing October 2017
For several years, Ryan Schnurr watched media coverage of Lake Erie algae blooms with a growing sense of unease. An Indiana native, he wanted to learn more about role of the Maumee River in the lake’s environmental woes: the Maumee is Lake Erie’s largest tributary and the center of the largest watershed in the region, spanning more than 6,600 square miles of land.
So in the summer of 2016, Schnurr walked and canoed the length of the river from its headwaters in Fort Wayne, Indiana to its mouth in Toledo, Ohio. In The Watershed: A Journey Down The Maumee River is the story of that voyage. As he walks the banks, Schnurr tells us the history of the river, from its formation by glaciers, function in Native American and American history, uses by industry, and role in current economic and environmental issues.
Part cultural history, part nature writing, and part narrative, In the Watershed is a lyrical work of non-fiction in the vein of John McPhee and Ian Frazier with a timely and important warning at the core. “What is happening in Lake Erie,” Schnurr tells us, “is a disaster by nearly any measure—ecologically, economically, socially, culturally.”
Ryan Schnurr is a writer and photographer from northeast Indiana.