Delaware River

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Delaware River
Delaware River (2019).jpg
Delaware River at New Hope, Pennsylvania
Delaware river basin map.png
Map of the Delaware River watershed, showing major tributaries and cities
Location
Country United States
State New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland
Cities Margaretville, NY, Delhi, NY, Deposit, NY, Hancock, NY, Callicoon, NY, Lackawaxen, PA, Port Jervis, NY, Stroudsburg, PA, Easton, PA, New Hope, PA, Trenton, NJ, Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Chester, PA, Wilmington, DE , Salem, NJ, Dover, DE
Physical characteristics
Source West Branch
  location Mount Jefferson, Town of Jefferson, Schoharie County, New York, United States
  coordinates 42°27′12″N74°36′26″W / 42.45333°N 74.60722°W / 42.45333; -74.60722
  elevation2,240 ft (680 m)
2nd source East Branch
  locationGrand Gorge, Town of Roxbury, Delaware County, New York, United States
  coordinates 42°21′26″N74°30′42″W / 42.35722°N 74.51167°W / 42.35722; -74.51167
  elevation1,560 ft (480 m)
Source confluence 
  location Town of Hancock, Delaware County, New York, United States
  coordinates 41°56′20″N75°16′46″W / 41.93889°N 75.27944°W / 41.93889; -75.27944
  elevation880 ft (270 m)
Mouth Delaware Bay
  location
Delaware, United States
  coordinates
39°25′13″N75°31′11″W / 39.42028°N 75.51972°W / 39.42028; -75.51972 Coordinates: 39°25′13″N75°31′11″W / 39.42028°N 75.51972°W / 39.42028; -75.51972
  elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Length301 mi (484 km)
Basin size14,119 sq mi (36,570 km2)
Discharge 
  location Trenton
  average12,100 cu ft/s (340 m3/s)
  minimum4,310 cu ft/s (122 m3/s)
  maximum329,000 cu ft/s (9,300 m3/s)
Discharge 
  location Port Jervis
  average7,900 cu ft/s (220 m3/s)
  minimum1,420 cu ft/s (40 m3/s)
  maximum52,900 cu ft/s (1,500 m3/s)
Basin features
Tributaries 
  left Neversink River, Pequest River, Musconetcong River
  right Lehigh River, Schuylkill River, Christina River
TypeScenic, Recerational
Delaware River
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East Branch Delaware River
NY
PA
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West Branch Delaware River
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Lordville–Equinunk Bridge
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Kellams Bridge
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Callicoon Bridge
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Cochecton–Damascus Bridge (PA 371)
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Skinners Falls–Milanville Bridge
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Narrowsburg–Darbytown Bridge (PA 652 / NY 52)
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Tusten Station Railroad Bridge (NS Rail)
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Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct
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Barryville–Shohola Bridge (PA 434 / NY 55)
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Pond Eddy Bridge
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Millrift Railroad Bridge (NS Rail)
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Mid-Delaware Bridge (US 6 / US 209)
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Interstate 84 Bridge (I-84)
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NY
NJ
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Neversink River
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Milford–Montague Toll Bridge (US 206)
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Dingman's Ferry Bridge
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Depue Island
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Shawnee Island
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Brodhead Creek
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Schellenbergers Island
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Delaware Water Gap Toll Bridge (I-80 / AT)
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Delaware Water Gap
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Delaware River Viaduct
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Portland–Columbia Pedestrian Bridge
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Portland–Columbia Toll Bridge (NJ 94)
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Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
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Dildine Island
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Belvidere - Riverton Bridge
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Pequest River
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Roxburg Branch
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Keifer Island
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Martins Creek Branch
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Martins Creek
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Getters Island
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Bushkill Creek
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Easton–Phillipsburg Toll Bridge (US 22)
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Northampton Street Bridge
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Lehigh River
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Lehigh and Hudson River Railway
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Central Railroad of New Jersey Bridge
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Lehigh Valley Railroad
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Interstate 78 Toll Bridge (I-78)
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Whippoorwill Island
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Raubs Island
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Riegelsville Bridge
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Musconetcong River
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Upper Black Eddy–Milford Bridge
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Uhlerstown–Frenchtown Bridge (NJ 12)
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Marshall Island
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Treasure Island
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Phrahls Island
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Tohickon Creek
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Delaware & Raritan Canal
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Lumberville Wing Dam
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Bull's Island
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Lumberville–Raven Rock Bridge
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Lockatong Creek
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Hendrick Island
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Wickecheoke Creek
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Centre Bridge–Stockton Bridge (PA 263)
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New Hope–Lambertville Toll Bridge (US 202)
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New Hope–Lambertville Bridge (PA 179 / NJ 179)
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Lambertville Wing Dam
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Washington Crossing Bridge
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Scudder Falls Bridge (I-295)
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West Trenton Railroad Bridge (West Trenton Line)
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Rotary Island
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Calhoun Street Bridge
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Assunpink Creek
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Lower Trenton Bridge (US 1 Bus.)
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Trenton–Morrisville Toll Bridge (US 1)
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Morrisville–Trenton Railroad Bridge (NEC)
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Falls of the Delaware
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Biles Creek
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Crosswicks Creek
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Newbold Island
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Tullytown Cove
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Delaware River–Turnpike Toll Bridge (I-95)
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Burlington Island
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Assiscunk Creek
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Burlington–Bristol Bridge (PA 413 / NJ 413)
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Neshaminy Creek
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Poquessing Creek
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Rancocas River
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Pennypack Creek
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Pompeston Creek
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Tacony–Palmyra Bridge (PA 73 / NJ 73)
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Palmyra Cove
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Pennsauken Creek
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Betsy Ross Bridge (NJ 90)
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Frankford Creek
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Delair Bridge (Atlantic City Line)
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Petty Island
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36th Street Bridge
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Cooper River
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Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 / US 30 / PATCO)
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RiverLink Ferry (summer only)
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Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76)
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Newton Creek
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Big Timber Creek
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Schuylkill River
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Woodbury Creek
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Little Mantua Creek
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Mantua Creek
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Little Tinicum Island
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Darby Creek
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Crum Creek
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Ridley Creek
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Chester Island
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Chester Creek
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Old Canal
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Commodore Barry Bridge (US 322 / CR 536)
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Raccoon Creek
PA
DE
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Naamans Creek
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Oldmans Creek
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Shellpot Creek
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Christiana River
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Salem Canal
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Delaware Memorial Bridge (I-295 / US 40)
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Pea Patch Island
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Forts Ferry Crossing (summer only)
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Branch Canal
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Salem River
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Chesapeake & Delaware Canal
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Alloway Creek
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Delaware Bay
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Cape May–Lewes Ferry (US 9)
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Atlantic Ocean

The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States. It drains an area of 14,119 square miles (36,570 km2) in four U.S. states: Delaware (Delaware is technically named after the river), New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Rising in two branches in New York state's Catskill Mountains, the river flows 419 miles (674 km) into Delaware Bay where its waters enter the Atlantic Ocean near Cape May in New Jersey and Cape Henlopen in Delaware. Not including Delaware Bay, the river's length including its two branches is 388 miles (624 km). [1] [2] The Delaware River is one of nineteen "Great Waters" recognized by the America's Great Waters Coalition. [3]

Contents

The Delaware River rises in two main branches that descend from the western flank of the Catskill Mountains in New York. The West Branch begins near Mount Jefferson in the Town of Jefferson in Schoharie County. The river's East Branch begins at Grand Gorge in Delaware County. These two branches flow west and merge near Hancock in Delaware County, and the combined waters flow as the Delaware River south. Through its course, the Delaware River forms the boundaries between Pennsylvania and New York, the entire boundary between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and most of the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey. The river meets tide-water at the junction of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey, at the Falls of the Delaware. The river's navigable, tidal section served as a conduit for shipping and transportation that aided the development of the industrial cities of Trenton, Camden and Philadelphia.

Before the arrival of European settlers, the river was the homeland of the Lenape Native Americans. They called the river Lenapewihittuk, or Lenape River, and Kithanne, meaning the largest river in this part of the country. [4]

In 1609 the river was visited by a Dutch East India Company expedition led by Henry Hudson. Hudson, an English navigator, was hired to find a western route to Cathay (present-day China), but his discoveries set the stage for Dutch colonization of North America in the 17th century. Early Dutch and Swedish settlements were established along the lower section of river and Delaware Bay. Both colonial powers called the river the South River, compared to the Hudson River, which was known as the North River. After the English expelled the Dutch and took control of the New Netherland colony in 1664, the river was renamed Delaware after Sir Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and the Virginia colony's first royal governor who defended the colony during the First Anglo-Powhatan War.

Origin of the name

Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr 3rdLordDeLaWarr.jpg
Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr

The Delaware River is named in honor of Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (1577–1618), an English nobleman and the Virginia colony's first royal governor who defended the colony during the First Anglo-Powhatan War. [5] Lord de la Warr waged a punitive campaign to subdue the Powhatan after they had killed the colony's council president, John Ratcliffe, and attacked the colony's fledgling settlements. [6] [7] Lord de la Warr arrived with 150 soldiers in time to prevent colony's original settlers at Jamestown from giving up and returning to England and is credited with saving the Virginia colony. [5] The name of barony (later an earldom) is pronounced as in the current spelling form "Delaware" ( /ˈdɛləwɛər/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) DEL-ə-wair) [8] and is thought to derive from French de la Guerre.

It has often been reported that the river and bay received the name "Delaware" after English forces under Richard Nicolls expelled the Dutch and took control of the New Netherland colony in 1664. [9] [10] However, the river and bay were known by the name Delaware as early as 1641. [11] The state of Delaware was originally part of the William Penn's Pennsylvania colony. In 1682, the Duke of York granted Penn's request for access to the sea and leased him the territory along the western shore of Delaware Bay which became known as the "Lower Counties on the Delaware." [12] In 1704, these three lower counties were given political autonomy to form a separate provincial assembly, but shared its provincial governor with Pennsylvania until the two colonies separated on June 15, 1776 and remained separate as states after the establishment of the United States. The name also came to be used as a collective name for the Lenape, a Native American people (and their language) who inhabited an area of the basins of the Susquehanna River, Delaware River, and lower Hudson River in the northeastern United States at the time of European settlement. [13] As a result of disruption following the French & Indian War, American Revolutionary War and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, the name "Delaware" has been spread with the Lenape's diaspora to municipalities, counties and other geographical features in the American Midwest and Canada. [14]

Watershed

The Delaware River's drainage basin has an area of 14,119 square miles (36,570 km2) and encompasses 42 counties and 838 municipalities in five U.S. states—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. [15] :9 This total area constitutes approximately 0.4% of the land mass in the United States. [15] :9 In 2001, the watershed was 18% agricultural land, 14% developed land, and 68% forested land. [15] :vi

There are 216 tributary streams and creeks—an estimated 14,057 miles of streams and creeks—in the watershed. [15] :p.11,25 While the watershed is home to 4.17 million people according to the 2000 Federal Census, these bodies of water provide drinking water to 17 million people—roughly 6% of the population of the United States. [15] :vi, 9 The waters of the Delaware River's basin are used to sustain "fishing, transportation, power, cooling, recreation, and other industrial and residential purposes." [15] :9 It is the 33rd largest river in the United States in terms of flow, but the nation's most heavily used rivers in daily volume of tonnage. [15] :p.11 The average annual flow rate of the Delaware is 12,100 cubic feet per second at Trenton, New Jersey. [15] :9 With no dams or impediments on the river's main stem, the Delaware is one of the few remaining large free-flowing rivers in the United States. [15] :11

Course

West Branch of the Delaware

The headwaters of the Delaware River including the river's East and West Branches and other tributaries Delaware headwaters map.png
The headwaters of the Delaware River including the river's East and West Branches and other tributaries

The West Branch of the Delaware River (also called the Mohawk Branch) spans approximately 90 miles (140 km) from the northern Catskill Mountains to its confluence with the Delaware River's East Branch at Hancock, New York. The last 6 miles (9.7 km) forms part of the boundary between New York and Pennsylvania.

The West Branch rises in Schoharie County, New York at 1,886 feet (575 m) above sea level, near Mount Jefferson, and flows tortuously through the plateau in a deep trough. The branch flows generally southwest, entering Delaware County and flowing through the towns of Stamford and Delhi. In southwestern Delaware County it flows in an increasingly winding course through the mountains, generally southwest. At Stilesville the West Branch was impounded in the 1960s to form the Cannonsville Reservoir, the westernmost of the reservoirs in the New York City water system. It is the most recently constructed New York City reservoir and began serving the city in 1964. Draining a large watershed of 455 square miles (1,180 km2), the reservoir's capacity is 95.7 billion US gallons (362,000,000 m3). This water flows over halfway through the reservoir to enter the 44-mile (71 km) West Delaware Tunnel in Tompkins, New York. Then it flows through the aqueduct into the Rondout Reservoir, where the water enters the 85 miles (137 km) Delaware Aqueduct, that contributes to roughly 50% of the city's drinking water supply. At Deposit, on the border between Broome and Delaware counties, it turns sharply to the southeast and is paralleled by New York State Route 17. It joins the East Branch at 880 feet (270 m) above sea level at Hancock to form the Delaware.

East Branch of the Delaware

The East Branch of the Delaware River near Margaretville, New York East Branch Delaware River at Margaretville, NY.jpg
The East Branch of the Delaware River near Margaretville, New York

Similarly, the East Branch begins from a small pond south of Grand Gorge in the town of Roxbury in Delaware County, flowing southwest toward its impoundment by New York City to create the Pepacton Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the New York City water supply system. Its tributaries are the Beaver Kill River and the Willowemoc Creek which enter into the river ten miles (16 km) before the West Branch meets the East Branch. The confluence of the two branches is just south of Hancock.

The East Branch and West Branch of the Delaware River parallel each other, both flowing in a southwesterly direction.

Upper Delaware Valley

Canoeing on the river at Hawk's Nest, New York Hawk's Nest view of DelawareR.jpg
Canoeing on the river at Hawk's Nest, New York

From Hancock, New York, the river flows between the northern The Poconos in Pennsylvania, and the lowered shale beds north of the Catskills. The river flows down a broad Appalachian valley, passing Hawk's Nest overlook on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway. The river flows southeast for 78 miles through rural regions along the New York-Pennsylvania border to Port Jervis and the Shawangunk Mountains.

The Minisink

At Port Jervis, New York, it enters the Port Jervis trough. At this point, the Walpack Ridge deflects the Delaware into the Minisink Valley, where it follows the southwest strike of the eroded Marcellus Formation beds along the Pennsylvania–New Jersey state line for 25 miles (40 km) to the end of the ridge at Walpack Bend in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. [16] [17] The Minisink is a buried valley where the Delaware flows in a bed of glacial till that buried the eroded bedrock during the last glacial period. It then skirts the Kittatinny ridge, which it crosses at the Delaware Water Gap, between nearly vertical walls of sandstone, quartzite, and conglomerate, and then passes through a quiet and charming country of farm and forest, diversified with plateaus and escarpments, until it crosses the Appalachian plain and enters the hills again at Easton, Pennsylvania. From this point it is flanked at intervals by fine hills, and in places by cliffs, of which the finest are the Nockamixon Rocks, 3 miles (5 km) long and above 200 feet (61 m) high.

The Appalachian Trail, which traverses the ridge of Kittatinny Mountain in New Jersey, and Blue Mountain in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River at the Delaware Water Gap near Columbia, New Jersey.

Central Delaware Valley

The "Falls" at Trenton 2014-05-12 12 17 50 View of the "Falls of the Delaware" and downtown Trenton, New Jersey from Morrisville, Pennsylvania.JPG
The "Falls" at Trenton

At Easton, Pennsylvania, the Lehigh River enters the Delaware. At Trenton there is a fall of 8 feet (2.4 m).

The Lower Delaware and Tide-Water

The lower Delaware as viewed from New Castle, Delaware Delaware River New Castle.jpg
The lower Delaware as viewed from New Castle, Delaware

Below Trenton the river flows between Philadelphia and New Jersey before becoming a broad, sluggish inlet of the sea, with many marshes along its side, widening steadily into its great estuary, Delaware Bay.

The Delaware River constitutes the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey. The Delaware-New Jersey border is actually at the easternmost river shoreline within the Twelve-Mile Circle of New Castle, rather than mid-river or mid-channel borders, causing small portions of land lying west of the shoreline, but on the New Jersey side of the river, to fall under the jurisdiction of Delaware. The rest of the borders follow a mid-channel approach.

History

Benjamin West's painting The Treaty of Penn with the Indians (1771-1772), depicts the 1683 peace treaty at Shackamaxon between William Penn and Tamanend, the chief of the Lenape's "Turtle Clan." Voltaire referred to it as "the only treaty never sworn to and never broken." Treaty of Penn with Indians by Benjamin West.jpg
Benjamin West's painting The Treaty of Penn with the Indians (1771–1772), depicts the 1683 peace treaty at Shackamaxon between William Penn and Tamanend, the chief of the Lenape's "Turtle Clan." Voltaire referred to it as "the only treaty never sworn to and never broken."

At the time of the arrival of the Europeans in the early 17th century, the area near the Delaware River was inhabited by the Native American Lenape people. They called the Delaware River "Lenape Wihittuck", which means "the rapid stream of the Lenape". [18] The Delaware River played a key factor in the economic and social development of the Mid-Atlantic region. In the seventeenth century it provided the conduit for colonial settlement by the Dutch (New Netherland), the Swedish (New Sweden). Beginning in 1664, the region became an English possession as settlement by Quakers established the colonies of Pennsylvania (including present-day Delaware) and West Jersey. In the eighteenth century, cities like Philadelphia, Camden (then Cooper's Ferry), Trenton and Wilmington, and New Castle were established upon the Delaware and their continued commercial success into the present day has been dependent on access to the river for trade and power. The river provided the path for the settlement of northeastern Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, and northwestern New Jersey by German Palatine immigrants—a population that became key in the agricultural development of the region.

Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, 1851. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851.jpg
Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, 1851. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Perhaps the most famous "Delaware Crossing" was George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River with the Continental Army on the night of December 25–26, 1776, leading to a successful surprise attack and victory against the Hessian troops occupying Trenton, New Jersey on the morning of December 26.

Canals

A remaining section of the Delaware and Hudson Canal seen from U.S. 209 near Summitville, New York Delaware and Hudson Canal near Summitville, NY.jpg
A remaining section of the Delaware and Hudson Canal seen from U.S. 209 near Summitville, New York

The magnitude of the commerce of Philadelphia has made the improvements of the river below that port of great importance. Small improvements were attempted by Pennsylvania as early as 1771. Commerce was once important on the upper river, primarily prior to railway competition (1857).

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

On the Delaware River, oil on canvas (circa 1861-63) by George Inness Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Museum - On the Delaware River - George Inness - overall.jpg
On the Delaware River, oil on canvas (circa 1861-63) by George Inness Brooklyn Museum

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area came about as a result of the failure of a controversial plan to build a dam on the Delaware River at Tocks Island, just north of the Delaware Water Gap to control water levels for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. The dam would have created a 37-mile (60 km) lake in the center of present park for use as a reservoir. Starting in 1960, the present day area of the Recreation Area was acquired for the Army Corps of Engineers through eminent domain. Between 3,000 and 5,000 dwellings were demolished, including historical sites, and about 15,000 people were displaced by the project.

Because of massive environmental opposition, dwindling funds, and an unacceptable geological assessment of the dam's safety, the government transferred the property to the National Park Service in 1978. The National Park Service found itself as the caretaker of the previously endangered territory, and with the help of the federal government and surrounding communities, developed recreational facilities and worked to preserve the remaining historical structures. [19] [20]

The nearby Shawnee Inn, [21] [22] was identified in the 1990s as the only resort along the banks of the Delaware River. [23] [24]

America Rivers, an environmental advocacy group, named the Delaware River as the river of the year for 2020.

Commerce

Wine regions

In 1984, the U.S. Department of the Treasury authorized the creation of a wine region or "American Viticultural Area" called the Central Delaware Valley AVA located in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The wine appellation includes 96,000 acres (38,850 ha) surrounding the Delaware River north of Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey. [25] In Pennsylvania, it consists of the territory along the Delaware River in Bucks County; in New Jersey, the AVA spans along the river in Hunterdon County and Mercer County from Titusville, New Jersey, just north of Trenton, northward to Musconetcong Mountain. [26] As of 2013, there are no New Jersey wineries in the Central Delaware Valley AVA. [26] [27]

Shipping

Walt Whitman Bridge crossing with port facilities of Camden-Gloucester at right and Philadelphia at left Walt Whitman Bridge from the air.jpg
Walt Whitman Bridge crossing with port facilities of Camden-Gloucester at right and Philadelphia at left

In the "project of 1885" the U.S. government undertook systematically the formation of a 26-foot (7.9 m) channel 600 feet (180 m) wide from Philadelphia to deep water in Delaware Bay. The River and Harbor Act of 1899 provided for a 30-foot (9.1 m) channel 600 feet (180 m) wide from Philadelphia to the deep water of the bay. [28]

Since 1941, the Delaware River Main Channel was maintained at a depth of 40 ft (12 m). There is an effort underway to deepen the 102.5-mile stretch of this federal navigation channel, from Philadelphia and Camden to the mouth of the Delaware Bay to 45 feet. [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]

The Delaware River port complex refers to the ports and energy facilities along the river in the tri-state PA-NJ-DE Delaware Valley region. They include the Port of Salem, the Port of Wilmington, the Port of Chester, the Port of Paulsboro, the Port of Philadelphia and the Port of Camden. Combined they create one of the largest shipping areas of the United States. In 2015, the ports of Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington handled 100 million tons of cargo from 2,243 ship arrivals, and supported 135,000 direct or indirect jobs. The biggest category of imports was fruit, carried by 490 ships, followed by petroleum, and containers, with 410 and 381 ships, respectively. The biggest category of exports was of shipping was containers, with 470 ships. [35] In 2016, 2,427 ships arrived at Delaware River port facilities. Fruit ships were counted at 577, petroleum at 474, and containerized cargo at 431. [36]

At one time it was a center for petroleum and chemical products and included facilities such as the Delaware City Refinery, the Dupont Chambers Works, Oceanport Terminal at Claymont, the Marcus Hook Refinery, the Trainer Refinery, the Paulsboro Asphalt Refinery, [37] [38] [39] Paulsboro Refinery, Eagle Point Refinery, and Sunoco Fort Mifflin. As of 2011, crude oil was the largest single commodity transported on the Delaware River, accounting for half of all annual cargo tonnage. [31] [40]

Crossings

The Dingman's Ferry Bridge connecting Sandyston Township, in Sussex County, New Jersey and Delaware Township in Pike County, Pennsylvania is the last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware River and one of the last few in the United States. DingmansFerryBridgeSide.jpg
The Dingman's Ferry Bridge connecting Sandyston Township, in Sussex County, New Jersey and Delaware Township in Pike County, Pennsylvania is the last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware River and one of the last few in the United States.

The Delaware River is a major barrier to travel between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Most of the larger bridges are tolled only westbound, and are owned by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, Delaware River Port Authority, Burlington County Bridge Commission or Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

Environmental issues

The river within the southern portion of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, near Worthington State Forest in New Jersey Delaware River DWG USA.jpg
The river within the southern portion of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, near Worthington State Forest in New Jersey
A flood in Westfall, Pennsylvania in 2006 2006 flood Westfall PA.png
A flood in Westfall, Pennsylvania in 2006

New York City water supply

After New York City built 15 reservoirs to supply water to the city's growing population, it was unable to obtain permission to build an additional five reservoirs along the Delaware River's tributaries. As a result, in 1928 the city decided to draw water from the Delaware River, putting them in direct conflict with villages and towns across the river in Pennsylvania which were already using the Delaware for their water supply. The two sides eventually took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in 1931, New York City was allowed to draw 440 million US gallons (1,700,000 m3) of water a day from the Delaware and its upstream tributaries.

Pollution

The Delaware River has been attached to areas of high pollution. The Delaware River in 2012 was named the 5th most polluted river in the United States, explained by PennEnvironment [41] and Environment New Jersey. [42] The activist groups claim that there is about 7–10 million pounds of toxic chemicals flowing through the waterways due to dumping by DuPont Chambers Works. PennEnviornment also claims that the pollutants in the river can cause birth defects, infertility among women, and have been linked to cancer. [41]

In 2015, the EPA saw the Delaware River as a concern for mass pollution especially in the Greater Philadelphia and Chester, Pennsylvania area. The EPA was involved after accusations that the river met standards made illegal by the Clean Water Act. In complying with the Clean Water Act, the EPA involved the Delaware County Regional Water Authority (DELCORA) where they set up a plan to spend around $200 million to help rid the waterway of about 740 million gallons of sewage and pollution. DELCORA was also fined about $1.4 million for allowing the Delaware River to have so much pollution residing in the river in the first place and for not complying with the Clean Water Act. [43]

The Clean Water Act explains the importance of low pollution for human and species health. One of the sectors in the Clean Water Act explains how conditions of the river should be stable enough for human fishing and swimming. Even though the river has had success with the cleanup of pollution, the Delaware River still does not meet that standard of swimmable or fishable conditions in the Philadelphia/ Chester region.

Flooding

With the failure of the dam project to come to fruition, the lack of flood control on the river left it vulnerable, and it has experienced a number of serious flooding events as the result of snow melt or rain run-off from heavy rainstorms. Record flooding occurred in August 1955, in the aftermath of the passing of the remnants of two separate hurricanes over the area within less than a week: first Hurricane Connie and then Hurricane Diane, which was, and still is, the wettest tropical cyclone to have hit the northeastern United States. The river gauge at Riegelsville, Pennsylvania recorded an all-time record crest of 38.85 feet (11.84 m) on August 19, 1955.

More recently, moderate to severe flooding has occurred along the river. The same gauge at Riegelsville recorded a peak of 30.95 feet (9.43 m) on September 23, 2004, 34.07 feet (10.38 m) on April 4, 2005, and 33.62 feet (10.25 m) on June 28, 2006, all considerably higher than the flood stage of 22 feet (6.7 m). [44]

Since the upper Delaware basin has few population centers along its banks, flooding in this area mainly affects natural unpopulated flood plains. Residents in the middle part of the Delaware basin experience flooding, including three major floods in the three years (2004–2006) that have severely damaged their homes and land. The lower part of the Delaware basin from Philadelphia southward to the Delaware Bay is tidal and much wider than portions further north, and is not prone to river-related flooding (although tidal surges can cause minor flooding in this area).

The Delaware River Basin Commission, along with local governments, is working to try to address the issue of flooding along the river. As the past few years have seen a rise in catastrophic floods, most residents of the river basin feel that something must be done. The local governments have worked in association with FEMA to address many of these problems, however, due to insufficient federal funds, progress is slow. [45]

Major oil spills

A number of oil spills have taken place in the Delaware over the years. [46] [47] [48]

Atlantic sturgeon

The National Marine Fisheries Service is considering designating sixteen rivers as endangered habitat for the Atlantic Sturgeon which would require more attention to be given to uses of the rivers that affect the fish. [49]

National Wild and Scenic River

The river is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

See also


A 1655 Swedish nautical chart showing part of the Delaware River, from when the river was part of the Swedish colony New Sweden Delaware river chart 1655.jpeg
A 1655 Swedish nautical chart showing part of the Delaware River, from when the river was part of the Swedish colony New Sweden

Notes

  1. The main stem from Hancock, New York to the head of Delaware Bay is 301 miles (484 km).
  2. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived March 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine , accessed April 1, 2011
  3. National Wildlife Federation (August 18, 2010). "America's Great Waters Coalition". Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  4. Heckewelder, John; Du Ponceau, Peter S. (1834), "Names which the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians, who once inhabited this country, had given to Rivers, Streams, Places, &c.", Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 4: 351–396, doi:10.2307/1004837, JSTOR   1004837
  5. 1 2 Pollard, Albert Frederick (1899). "West, Thomas (1577–1618)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 60. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 344–345.
  6. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. (1915). Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. I. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 33–34.
  7. Grenier, John (2005). The First Way of War: The American War-Making of the Frontier, 1607–1814 . New York: Cambridge University Press. pp.  24–25. ISBN   0-521-84566-1.
  8. Random House Dictionary
  9. World Digital Library. Articles about the Transfer of New Netherland on the 27th of August, Old Style, Anno 1664 Archived January 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved March 21, 2013
  10. Versteer, Dingman (editor). "New Amsterdam Becomes New York" in The New Netherland Register . Volume 1 No. 4 and 5 (April/May 1911): 49-64.
  11. Evelin, Robert. A direction for Adventurers With small stock to get two for one, and good land freely : And for Gentleman, and all Servants, Labourers, and Artificers to live plentifully, And the true Description of the healthiest, pleasantest and richest plantation of New Albion in North Virginia. (London, s.n., 1641).
  12. Munroe, John A. (2006). "Chapter 3. The Lower Counties On The Delaware". History of Delaware. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press. p. 45. ISBN   0-87413-947-3.
  13. Schutt, Amy C. (2007). Peoples of the River Valleys: The Odyssey of the Delaware Indians. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN   978-0-8122-3993-5.
  14. Weslager, Charles A. (1990). The Delaware Indians: A History. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. ISBN   0-8135-1494-0.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Philadelphia Water Department. "Moving from Assessment to Protection…The Delaware River Watershed Source Water Protection Plan" (PWSID #1510001) Archived July 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (June 2007). Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  16. White, Ron W.; Monteverde, Donald H. (February 2006). "Karst in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area" (PDF). Unearthing New Jersey Vol. 2, No. 1. New Jersey Geological Survey. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 10, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  17. White, I.C.; Chance, H.M. (1882). The geology of Pike and Monroe counties. Second Geol. Surv. of Penna. Rept. of Progress, G6. Harrisburg. pp. 17, 73–80, 114–115.
  18. Delaware Place Names Archived August 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine United States Geological Survey
  19. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (pp. 7–8), Obiso, Laura, 2008.
  20. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Archived August 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine , njskylands.com.
  21. "Shawnee Marking Golden Season". The Daily Record. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. June 17, 1960.
  22. Squeri, p. 182.
  23. Fodor's national parks and seashores of the east (1 ed.). New York: Fodor's Travel Publications. 1994. p. 164.
  24. Shea, Barbara (September 11, 1994). "Let the current set the pace at the Delaware Water Gap". The Courier-News. Somerville, New Jersey.
  25. The Wine Institute. "American Viticultural Areas by State" Archived January 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (2008). Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  26. 1 2 Code of Federal Regulations. Section 9.49 Central Delaware Valley. Archived April 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (27 CFR 9.49) from Title 27 - Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms. CHAPTER I - ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO TAX AND TRADE BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. SUBCHAPTER A - LIQUORS. PART 9 - AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS. Subpart C - Approved American Viticultural Areas. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  27. New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "New Jersey ABC list of wineries, breweries, and distilleries" (February 5, 2013). Retrieved May 2, 2013. An analysis was done comparing a list of wineries provided by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control with the AVA's description in the Code of Federal Regulations.
  28. Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Delaware River". Encyclopædia Britannica . 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 951.
  29. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Archived July 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  30. Ruch, Robert J. Ruch (Lt. Col.), District Engineer, Philadelphia District. Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project Archived September 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (January 20, 2005). Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  31. 1 2 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project Archived September 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine . (May 2012). Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  32. Delaware Riverkeeper. The Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project: Background Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  33. "Epic Effort to Deepen Delaware River Shipping Channel Nears End". www.njspotlight.com – NJ Spotlight. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  34. "Murky Bottom: Will Deeper Delaware River Make Philly More Competitive?". www.njspotlight.com – NJ Spotlight. May 25, 2016. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  35. "Delaware River Ports Fight For Market as Dredging Project Nears Completion". www.njspotlight.com – NJ Spotlight. May 23, 2016. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  36. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. "Paulsboro Refinery". June 26, 2013. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  38. Tuttle, Robert (February 3, 2017). "America's Biggest Asphalt Plant Is Shutting When the Country Might Need It Most". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  39. Renshaw, Jarrett (January 18, 2017). "Axeon plans to shutter New Jersey asphalt refinery: sources". Reuters. Archived from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  40. American Waterways. New Jersey A key link in the nation's import/export economy [ permanent dead link ]. Retrieve July 26, 2013.
  41. 1 2 "Environmental group: Delaware River tops list of most polluted waterways". Bucks Local News. March 29, 2012. Archived from the original on January 28, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  42. Augenstein, Seth (April 5, 2012). "Delaware River is 5th most polluted river in U.S., environmental group says". NJ.com News. Archived from the original on January 28, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  43. "Settlement to Improve Water Quality in Delaware River, Philadelphia-Area Creeks". U.S. EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division. August 20, 2015. Archived from the original on January 28, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  44. USGS Archived February 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine See Also: State of New Jersey: Recent flooding events in the Delaware River basin Archived September 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  45. Delaware River Basin Commission (July 20, 2005). "Delaware River Basin Commission's Role in Flood Loss Reduction Efforts." Archived August 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine West Trenton, NJ.
  46. "Athos 1 Oil Spill". University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. November 3, 2005. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2006.
  47. "1985 Grand Eagle Oil Spill". University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. December 16, 2004. Archived from the original on April 18, 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2006.
  48. "Presidente Rivera Spill – June 24, 1989". University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. December 8, 2004. Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2006.
  49. "Feds Move to Protect Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon in Delaware River - NJ Spotlight". www.njspotlight.com. June 8, 2016. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.

Related Research Articles

Port Jervis, New York City in New York, United States

Port Jervis is a city located at the confluence of the Neversink and Delaware rivers in western Orange County, New York, north of the Delaware Water Gap. Its population was 8,828 at the 2010 census. The communities of Deerpark, Huguenot, Sparrowbush, and Greenville are adjacent to Port Jervis. Matamoras, Pennsylvania, is across the river and connected by bridge. Montague Township, New Jersey, borders here.

Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna River is a major river located in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States. At 444 miles (715 km) long, it is the longest river on the East Coast of the United States. It drains into the Chesapeake Bay. With its watershed, it is the 16th-largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the early 21st-century continental United States without commercial boat traffic.

Raritan River

The Raritan River is a major river of central New Jersey in the United States. Its watershed drains much of the mountainous area of the central part of the state, emptying into the Raritan Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.

Delaware and Raritan Canal United States historic place

The Delaware and Raritan Canal is a canal in central New Jersey, United States, built in the 1830s, that served to connect the Delaware River to the Raritan River. It was an efficient and reliable means of transportation of freight between Philadelphia and New York City, especially coal from the anthracite fields in eastern Pennsylvania. The canal allowed shippers to cut many miles off the existing route from the Pennsylvania coal fields, down the Delaware, around Cape May, and up along the Atlantic Ocean coast to New York City.

Delaware Valley Metropolitan area in the United States

The Delaware Valley is the valley through which the Delaware River flows. By extension, this toponym is commonly used to refer to Greater Philadelphia or the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The Delaware Valley is coterminous with a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and broader combined statistical area (CSA), and is composed of counties located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As of the 2010 Census, the MSA has a population of over 6 million, while the CSA has a population of over 7.1 million.

Lenapehoking

Lenapehoking is a term for the lands historically inhabited by the Native American people known as the Lenape in what is now the Mid-Atlantic United States. Much of this land is now heavily urbanized and suburbanized.

Delaware Bay The estuary outlet of the Delaware River on the northeast seaboard of the United States

Delaware Bay is the estuary outlet of the Delaware River on the northeast seaboard of the United States. Approximately 782 square miles (2,030 km2) in area, the bay's fresh water mixes for many miles with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean.

Tulpehocken Creek (Pennsylvania)

Tulpehocken Creek is a 39.5-mile-long (63.6 km) tributary of the Schuylkill River in southeastern Pennsylvania in the United States, and during the American Canal Age, once provided nearly half the length of the Union Canal linking the port of Philadelphia, the largest American city and the other communities of Delaware Valley with the Susquehanna basin and the Pennsylvania Canal System connecting the Eastern seaboard to Lake Erie and the new settlements of the Northwest Territory via the Allegheny}, Monongahela. and Ohio Rivers at Pittsburgh.

West Branch Delaware River

The West Branch Delaware River is one of two branches that form the Delaware River. It is approximately 90 mi (144 km) long, and flows through the U.S. states of New York and Pennsylvania. It winds through a mountainous area of New York in the western Catskill Mountains for most of its course, before joining the East Branch along the northeast border of Pennsylvania with New York. Midway or so it is empounded by the Cannonsville Dam to form the Cannonsville Reservoir, both part of the New York City water supply system for delivering drinking water to the City.

Neversink River

The Neversink River is a 55-mile-long (89 km) tributary of the Delaware River in southeastern New York in the United States. The name of the river comes from the corruption of an Algonquian language phrase meaning "mad river."

A 1950s proposal to construct a dam near Tocks Island across the Delaware River was met with considerable controversy and protest. Tocks Island is located in the Delaware River a short distance north from the Delaware Water Gap. In order to control damaging flooding and provide clean water to supply New York City and Philadelphia, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed building a dam. When completed, the Tocks Island Dam would have created a 37-mile (60-km) long lake between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with depths of up to 140 feet. This lake and the land surrounding were to be organized as the Tocks Island National Recreation Area. Although the dam was never built, 72,000 acres (291 km²) of land were acquired by condemnation and eminent domain. This incited environmental protesters and embittered local residents displaced by the project's preparations when their property was condemned. After the Tocks Island Dam project was withdrawn, the lands acquired were transferred to the oversight of the National Park Service which reorganized them to establish the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) protected area designated by the National Recreation Area administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service. It is located along the middle section of the Delaware River in New Jersey and Pennsylvania stretching from the Delaware Water Gap northward in New Jersey to the state line near Port Jervis, New York, and in Pennsylvania to the outskirts of Milford. A 40-mile (64 km) section of the Delaware River, entirely within the National Recreation Area, has been granted protected status as the Middle Delaware National Scenic River under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and is also administered by the National Park Service. This section of the river is the core of the historical Minisink region.

Neshaminy Creek

Neshaminy Creek is a 40.7-mile-long (65.5 km) stream that runs entirely through Bucks County, Pennsylvania, rising south of the borough of Chalfont, where its north and west branches join. Neshaminy Creek flows southeast toward Bristol Township and Bensalem Township to its confluence with the Delaware River. The name "Neshaminy" originates with the Lenni Lenape and is thought to mean "place where we drink twice". This phenomenon refers to a section of the creek known as the Neshaminy Palisades, where the course of the water slows and changes direction at almost a right angle, nearly forcing the water back upon itself. These palisades are located in Dark Hollow Park, operated by the county, and are flanked by Warwick Township to the south and Buckingham Township to the north.

Paulins Kill

The Paulinskill is a 41.6-mile (66.9 km) tributary of the Delaware River in northwestern New Jersey in the United States. With a long-term median flow rate of 76 cubic feet of water per second (2.15 m³/s), it is New Jersey's third-largest contributor to the Delaware River, behind the Musconetcong River and Maurice River. The Paulinskill drains an area of 176.85 square miles (458.0 km2) across portions of Sussex and Warren counties and 11 municipalities. The Paulinskill flows north from its source near Newton, and then turns southwest. The river sits in the Ridge and Valley geophysical province.

Millstone River

The Millstone River is a 38.6-mile-long (62.1 km) tributary of the Raritan River in central New Jersey in the United States.

Old Mine Road is a road in New Jersey and New York said to be one of the oldest continuously used roads in the United States of America. At a length of 104 miles (167 km), it stretches from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to the vicinity of Kingston, New York.

Minisink

The Minisink or Minisink Valley is a loosely defined geographic region of the Upper Delaware River valley in northwestern New Jersey, northeastern Pennsylvania and New York.

Wallpack Ridge

Wallpack Ridge is a mountain located in the Ridge and Valley Appalachians physiographic province in Sussex County in northwestern New Jersey. Oriented northeast to southwest, Wallpack Ridge spans 25 miles (40 km) from Montague Township south of Port Jervis, New York to the Walpack Bend in the Delaware River near Flatbrookville in Walpack Township. It is a narrow ridge ranging between 0.67 miles (1.08 km) to 1.7 miles (2.7 km) in width, and its highest elevation reaches 928 feet (283 m) above sea level. The ridge separates the Wallpack Valley from the valley of the Delaware River, and contains the watershed of the Flat Brook and its main tributaries Big Flat Brook and Little Flat Brook.

Wallpack Valley

Wallpack Valley is a valley located in Sussex County in northwestern New Jersey formed by Wallpack Ridge on the west, and Kittatinny Mountain on the east. Wallpack Ridge separates the Wallpack Valley from the valley of the Delaware River, and contains the watershed of the Flat Brook and its main tributaries Big Flat Brook and Little Flat Brook. It is a narrow valley, roughly 25 miles (40 km) in length running from Montague Township south of Port Jervis, New York to the Walpack Bend in the Delaware River near Flatbrookville in Walpack Township where the Flat Brook enters the Delaware at 300 feet above sea level.

References

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