About Basin

FACTS!

  • Ohio River Basin encompasses approximately 204,430 square miles (130.5 million acres).
  • Over 27 million people live within the basin, almost 10 percent of the U.S. population.
  • At the turn of the century, the Ohio River Basin was home to 127 of the 297 freshwater mussel species native to North America.
  • The Ohio River’s major tributaries are the Tennessee, Cumberland, Kentucky, Wabash and Kanawha Rivers.
  • A 9 foot navigation channel is maintained for the entire length of the Ohio River.
  • Ohio River contributes over 60% of the flow in the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois.
  • The widest point along the Ohio River is approximately 1 mile at the Smithland Dam.
  • There are over 400 power generation facilities (coal, oil, gas, hydropower, biofuels, nuclear and wind) in the basin.
  • 11 mussel species are now extinct, and 46 others are now classified as endangered or species of concern (USFWS).
  • The main stem Ohio River is a source of drinking water for more than three million people.
  • The average depth of the Ohio River is approximately 24 feet.
  • Over 230 million tons of cargo is transported on the Ohio River each year. Coal and other energy products make up approximately 70 percent of the commerce traveling by barge.
  • Pollution from urban runoff, agricultural activities, and abandoned mines are major causes of water pollution in the Ohio River.
  • As of 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams, floodwalls and levees have prevented  over $35 billion in flood damages.
  •  The economic impacts of the Ohio River navigation system is $27.4 billion annually.