If you live in or visit Marietta Ohio and the surrounding area, chances are you have had to either cross, run near or see the Ohio River. It is a fixture in the region, as well as being the namesake of the state that we’ve all come to know.

But exactly how much do you know about this important river? Sure, you probably know that it forms the border between Ohio and West Virginia as well as Kentucky, but did you know that the river itself travels through nearly 204,430 square miles of different landscapes? Here are a few more facts about the Ohio River that you might not know.

file121254146738The Ohio River is the source for drinking water for more than three million people.

The river is one of the longest in the United States — traveling nearly 981 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois.

Nearly 10{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} of the U.S. population — over 25 million people — live in the Ohio River basin.

Nearly 150 species of fish have been found in the Ohio River, including the threatened paddlefish.

The Ohio River basin supports about 50{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} of the freshwater fishes and 30{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} of mussel species in the United States.


Over 230 million tons of cargo are transported on the Ohio River, including coal and energy products that make up nearly 70{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} of its traffic.

The Ohio River drainage basin draws water from 14 different states.

One of the only two Civil War battles fought in Ohio was fought on Buffington Island in the Ohio River, just east of Pomeroy, on July 19, 1863.

SDRandCo (8)The Ohio River was once supposedly called “La Belle Riviere,” or “The Beautiful River,” by  Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1669.

In his Notes on the State of Virginia published in 1782, Thomas Jefferson said, “The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted.”


What other trivia do you know about the Ohio River?