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The Wabash River was named Indiana's official river.
The Wabash River is the subject of Indiana's state song. It is also referenced in the state poetry and on the state's honorary medal.
Indiana's most famous river has traditionally been the Wabash. The river runs through the state's heartland. It drains two-thirds of the 92 counties on its way to its confluence with Ohio under Mount Vernon. The river begins at Fort Recovery in Ohio. It travels for 30 miles before becoming an Indiana River completely.
The Wabash River has different personalities and moods. It runs through a partly filled valley that was established before the glacier advanced. At times, the waters occupy a huge valley cut by glacial runoff. The Wabash flows across rich, flat ground in a narrow, shallow trench at its higher reaches.
The Wabash River is over 500 miles long and runs across Indiana's entire state. Let us learn some amazing facts about the river.
72% of Indiana counties get their drinking water from the Wabash and its related rivers and streams.
The 'Wah-Bah Shik-Ki' means 'pure white.' It was the name given to it by the Indians. When the French came, they changed the term by calling it 'Quabache.' The settlers subsequently anglicized it by spelling it 'Wabash.'
The Wabash's banks were initially populated by Indians. Numerous major settlements were placed along its length.
The earliest European settlers were French explorers, missionaries, and fur merchants. The Wabash quickly established itself as a major commerce route between the lower Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
The Wabash was the site of most of the French and British wars for dominance of the New World.
The river was a center for scholars and social advancement. It was also a location of strife and tragedy.
The Rappites were a religious community. They established a communal colony at New Harmony on the lower Wabash.
Their experiment lasted ten years until they sold their land to Robert Owen. He established a community colony centered on education and science rather than religion.
Owen's work at New Harmony was brief. However, it was essential in the founding of the Geological Survey and the notion of free public schools.
The Wabash's most important contribution to Indiana's development was as a critical transportation route.
The Wabash-Erie Canal was created along the river when the water proved to be too unpredictable. The arrival of the locomotive in 1865 signaled the canal's demise.
The different ethnic groups that came to work on the canal subsequently remained and left a long-lasting legacy. The 'canal towns' that sprung up were rapidly industrialized.
The river was a hotbed of pearling activity in the early 1900s. Mussels were taken in large numbers from the water to be utilized in the production of buttons from their shells. The discovery of pearls in the mussels sparked an unparalleled flurry of activity.
The Wabash is a magnificent river that can be explored again and over again. In this section, we will learn some facts about the river.
The Wabash River watershed's water quality has deteriorated due to decades of draining and development.
Flooding has increased as wetlands, and natural areas have been lost. Riverbank erosion has increased as a result of deforestation.
The 'hypoxic zone' in the Gulf of Mexico has been exacerbated by sediments and pollution from agricultural fields and urban areas. This has wreaked havoc on the Gulf's fisheries and animals.
The hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico was originally identified in 1972 and is one of the world's biggest of the 400 hypoxic zones.
The Wabash River is the Ohio River's greatest southward-flowing tributary. In this section, we will learn some more facts.
The river rises near Grand Lake in western Ohio. It travels westward across Indiana via Huntington, Wabash, Logansport, and Lafayette. Then it turns south to Terre Haute.
The river forms a 200 mi (320 km) border between Indiana and Illinois just south of that city. Then it joins Ohio in the southwestern part of Indiana after a total distance of 529 mi (851 km).
The White River and Tippecanoe Rivers are its main tributaries.
The Little Wabash, Embarrass, and Vermilion are three further tributaries that all go north.
The Wabash has its lone impoundment near Huntington, Indiana. Powerboats must be launched from a ramp on the lakeside. Otherwise, the Huntington Dam must be portaged.
The Wabash River meets the Ohio River, which then joins the Mississippi River. The water then flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
The river meanders a lot when it enters Indiana. There are a lot of historic, ribbon-like channels. During high water, it's easy to get lost amid the cutoffs and oxbows.
The river serves as a boundary between Indiana and Illinois. Although the initial line was put in the center of the river, the river's path has shifted in numerous locations. State boundaries do not alter the course of the river. Thus, the whole river is often contained within one state or the other.
Several railroad bridges were constructed to allow for river transport. To accommodate the towering steamboats, these swing bridges were created with a span on a pivoting wheel.
The Nature Conservancy works with private landowners, state and federal agencies, and farmers. They aim to keep Indiana's state river a healthy environment for the wildlife it supports and the people who rely on it.
There are 120 Endangered, threatened, or unusual plants and animals in the river. Keep reading to learn some more facts about the river.
The river is home to 150 kinds of fish. This includes largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sauger, rock bass, catfish, and paddlefish. They are North America's oldest surviving animal species.
The Wabash provides diversified fishing opportunities due to its unusual properties for a big river in Illinois.
The stretch of river around Darwin, Vincennes, Indiana, Mt. Carmel, and New Harmony are all known for their fishing spots.
On the Illinois and Indiana banks of the Wabash, public boat ramps provide access to the river.
The Wabash River lacks a navigation channel as the river level varies from place to place. This makes it difficult for boats unfamiliar with the waters to navigate.
At lower river phases, there are sections that cannot be navigated by boat.
The river's distinctiveness and diverse fisheries give anglers a variety of satisfying experiences.
Many natural species live in the forests and wetlands along the river. This includes osprey, bald eagles, bobcats, and the Indiana bat.
Seven fish species and 18 mussel species that were formerly present in the waters have vanished.
The Wabash Heritage Trail runs from Battle Ground's Tippecanoe Battlefield to the Wabash River via Burnett Creek. It runs through Lafayette and West Lafayette before ending at Fort Ouiatenon.
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