2009 Views on the Wabash River Survey

In the winter of 2009, the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation and Purdue University conducted a fact-finding survey to collect information about local resident’s perceptions and awareness of the Wabash River. The data collected will be used to help shape outreach efforts provided by WREC. The survey was funded by the Living Laboratories on the Wabash (LLOW). The report was prepared by the Natural Resources Social Science Lab in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University.

Eight hundred and fifty (850) residents in Tippecanoe County were selected for participation in this survey. Respondents could complete the questionnaire in two ways; by completing the survey on-line, or filling out and returning a paper copy of the survey. Two hundred fifty-seven (257) people chose to complete the paper copy of the survey and 56 people completed the survey online, yielding a 39.9% response rate.

Survey Results

Results of the survey indicate that most individuals (>80%) identify the Wabash River as a symbol of the region. Furthermore, Tippecanoe County residents like living along the river and like being a river city. However, a majority indicated their concern that no matter the level of effort, cleaning up the Wabash River seems an impossible task.

  • 83% viewed the Wabash River as a symbol of the region.

  • 78% said that the parks along the Wabash provide opportunities for children to play and interact with nature.

  • 78% agreed that it is important for community members to take an active role in determining the future of the Wabash River.

  • 55% said that they don’t spend much time thinking about the Wabash River.

  • 50% admitted that they don’t know very much about the river’s natural processes.

  • 91% agreed that there was potential to make the river cleaner and healthier.

  • 69% thought that funding to revitalize the river is a great investment in our future.

  • 44% said they would minimize their stormwater impact by installing a rain barrel or rain garden; 21% said they would use their project plot as a public demonstration area.