|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
The Obion River near Obion, Tennessee
|Mouth||Mississippi River on the border of Dyer and Lauderdale counties.|
|Mouth elevation||230 ft (70 m)|
The Obion has four major forks, the North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork and Rutherford Fork (the last being named for the town of Rutherford). The confluences of these forks are only a few miles above the mouth of the Obion's discharge into the Mississippi River. For the majority of their lengths, the forks exist as separate streams.
In the mid-20th century, the Obion system was largely channelized for agricultural purposes, under the auspices of the Obion-Forked Deer Basin Authority, a Tennessee state agency which coordinated this work with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Some of the results of channelization included increasing erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, and increased flooding downstream. Now this process has been halted, and, in a few places, even somewhat reversed, with the restoration of wetlands.
The origin of the name "Obion" is obscure, with some contending that it derives from a Native American word and others that it represents a corruption of the name of an Irish trapper, O'Bion or, perhaps, O'Brien.
Obion County, Tennessee, is named after the Obion River.