The Wabash is a river of many faces and moods. In addition to being Indiana's official state river, the Wabash is also the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. A trip down any other river in the state will not give as complete a view of Indiana as the Wabash as it offers a view of Indiana today and a glimpse of the past.
The Wabash served as a vital conduit for trade, travel and settlement in the Midwest. Today, with more than seven hundred thousand Hoosier living within fifteen miles of the Wabash, the river continues to be an irreplaceable natural resource for trade, industry, tourism and economic development.
The Wabash River is also ranked among the most diverse rivers in the United States. It is a biological treasure chest housing more than 400 species of native plants and wildlife within its drainage. While the Wabash River is rich with life, thirty species of fish and freshwater mussels that were once native to the river are no longer found. Deforestation, sedimentation, pollution and the loss of floodplain wetlands have negatively impacted the water quality and diversity of life of the Wabash and its tributaries.
These days the Wabash is also a great example of the work that can be accomplished when conservation groups and both state and federal agencies can come together to protect a major waterway, both for nature and for people. Last year Governor Mitch Daniels announced a land conservation initiative concerning the Wabash River will surely make an indelible impact on this important natural resource and habitat.
For more information on the Indiana Chapter's work, visit our Wabash Rivers Initiative page.