The upper Cuyahoga River extends along a portion designated by Ohio as
a State Scenic River. The IBA includes the corridor of the Cuyahoga River including Burton Wetlands, Punderson Lake District, Eldon Russell Park, LaDue Reservoir (dammed portion of Bridge Creek), and Alban Wildlife Area. In the upper reaches, the river is narrow and undeveloped along the flat, low, and swampy shore dominated by willow, sycamore, elm, and buttonbush. Below the Hiram Rapids the river changes in character, with steep sections where hillsides are dominated by beech-maple forests with components of ash, oak, and hickory. Historically, effects by two glaciers have provided the source for a constant gentle current.
High density of Prothonotary Warblers and Veeries; LaDue is a good spring and fall waterfowl site, also good for transient Tundra Swans.
The City of Akron is the main property owner of the Upper Cuyahoga River Corridor. Other private property owners also front the river. Water quality is affected by City of Burton water treatment outflow, agricultural runoff, as well as construction runoff, and septic leaching may become increasingly important with ongoing development. The fact that the river corridor is largely undeveloped and in a natural state is attributable largely to the City of Akron's watershed management and extensive holdings along the river.