The Tippecanoe is an exceptional coolwater stream in Northern Indiana, with the headwaters comprised of glacial lakes that feed it. The Nature Conservancy considers the Tippecanoe River one of the top ten rivers in America that must be preserved. Of the 57 species of mussels the river historically harbored, there are 49 species still residing there, including 6 species of federally- endangered mussels; one of which is the Clubshell, documented approximately 2 miles upstream of Warsaw dam. Tippecanoe River is also listed Critical Habitat for Federally Threatened Rabbitsfoot, and Northern Riffleshell have recently been reintroduced. Four of Indiana’s twelve state-endangered fish species (Blue Breast Darter; Gilt Darter, Spotted Darter, and the Tippecanoe Darter) are located in this river. The Tippecanoe is an excellent fishery and recreational stream which is also aesthetically pleasing, making it an important and beloved resource to the community. The economic and cultural values linked to this stream are directly proportional to the fishing, recreational opportunity, and aesthetic quality.
The Warsaw Dam blocks organism passage to the 104 miles of headwater streams and numerous glacial lakes feeding the Tippecanoe. Over 500 miles of free-flowing water are downstream of this obstruction, and it is the only dam between those located at the mouth and extreme upper end. The dam pool extends over two miles upstream, negatively impacting habitat and water quality. Warsaw Dam also poses a safety concern for canoers or anglers who portage around it. Removal of the structure will have immense ecological and social benefits, with little or no negative impacts.