Wabash River Watershed Essay


Wabash River Initiative

Our new video shows how we're working with industry and farmers to improve water quality--here in Indiana and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Watch the video

The Wabash River has served as a vital conduit for trade, travel, and settlement in the Midwest for more than two centuries. It is inextricably linked to Indiana’s economy and well-being. Apart from its historic significance, the Wabash is also a treasure-chest of rare and endangered species, and serves as the habitat for a wide diversity of plant and animal life.

Facts about the Wabash River 
  • The Wabash River is nearly 500 miles long and spans the entire state of Indiana.
  • The Wabash and its connected rivers and streams provide drinking water to 72% of Indiana counties.
  • The river is home to 120 endangered, threatened, or rare plants and animals.
  • In addition to these species, the river is home to 150 species of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sauger, rock bass, catfish, and paddlefish – the oldest surviving animal species in North America.
  • Forests and wetlands along the Wabash River harbor many native species, including osprey, bald eagles, bobcats, river otters, and the Indiana bat.
Issues in the Wabash River 
  • 7 fish species and 18 mussel species that were once native to the river are no longer found there.
  • Decades of draining and developing land in the Wabash River watershed has degraded the quality of its waters.
  • Loss of wetlands has increased flooding, and deforestation has increased riverbank erosion.
  • Sediments and pollutants from agricultural fields and urban areas have contributed to the Gulf of Mexico’s “hypoxic zone,” and has severely affected the Gulf’s fisheries and wildlife.

Through partnerships and community-outreach, we are constantly working to conserve and protect the Wabash River and its surrounding lands. The Nature Conservancy continues to collaborate with private landowners, state and federal agencies, and farmers to ensure that Indiana’s state river remains a healthy habitat for the life it supports and the communities that depend on it.

WREC Reports

Looking for documents funded by the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation? Look no further!

River Corridor Development

Northern Reach Schematic Design


Two Cities, One River Master Plan for the Wabash River Urban Corridor, 2011

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reconnaissance Assessment, 2011

Master Plan for the Wabash River Greenway, 2010

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic and Hydraulic Assessments Phase I Report, 2007

Water Quality Management and Improvement

Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River Water Quality Summary Report, December 2016

Engaging Stakeholders in Small Projects for Big Impacts in the Wabash River Watershed, 2016

The Wabash Sampling Blitz: A Study on the Effectiveness of Citizen Science, 2016

Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River Watershed Implementation Section 319 Final Report (ARN 305-2-6), February 2015

Deer Creek-Sugar Creek Watershed Management Plan, Version 4, October 2013 (low res)

Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River Watershed Section 319 Final Report (ARN 305-9-54), May 2012

Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River Watershed Section 319 Final Report (ARN 305-9-54), Executive Summary, May 2011

Region of the Great Bend of the Wabash River Watershed Management Plan, Wabash River Enhancement Corporation, 2011 (low res)
Part 1       Part 2     Part 3


Understanding urban-suburban adoption and maintenance of rain barrels, 2016

Using Social Indicators to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Outreach in Two Indiana Watersheds, 2015

2014 Great Bend of the Wabash Watershed Urban Residents vs Rain Barrel Adoptees Survey Comparison Executive Summary

2014 Great Bend of the Wabash Watershed Rain Barrel Adoptee Survey Executive Summary

Tippecanoe County Farmers Survey, 2010

Region of the Great Bend Urban and Agricultural Awareness, Attitudes and Behavior Survey, 2010

Views on the Wabash River Survey, 2009

Living Laboratories on the Wabash Survey, 2006


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