Maumee River

The Maumee River (pronounced /mɔːˈmiː/)[1] (Shawnee: Hotaawathiipi;[2] Miami-Illinois: Taawaawa siipiiwi)[3] is a river running from northeastern Indiana into northwestern Ohio and Lake Erie in the United States. It is formed at the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Marys rivers, where Fort Wayne, Indiana, has developed, and meanders northeastwardly for 137 miles (220 km)[4] through an agricultural region of glacial moraines before flowing into the Maumee Bay of Lake Erie. The city of Toledo is located at the mouth of the Maumee. The Maumee was designated an Ohio State Scenic River on July 18, 1974. The Maumee watershed is Ohio’s breadbasket; it is two-thirds farmland, mostly corn and soybeans. It is the largest watershed of any of the rivers feeding the Great Lakes,[5] and supplies five percent of Lake Erie’s water.[6]

Maumee River
Maumee River at Mary Jane Thurston State Park in Grand Rapids, Ohio
The Maumee River at Grand Rapids, Ohio
refer to caption
Map of the Maumee River watershed
CountryUnited States
StatesIndiana, Ohio
Cities and townsFort Wayne, Indiana; New Haven, Indiana; Antwerp, Ohio; Cecil, Ohio; Defiance, Ohio; Florida, Ohio; Napoleon, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Ohio; Waterville, Ohio; Maumee, Ohio; Perrysburg, Ohio; Rossford, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Oregon, Ohio
Physical characteristics
 - locationFort Wayne by the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Marys
 - coordinates41°04′58″N 85°07′56″W / 41.0827778°N 85.1322222°W
 - elevation750 ft (230 m)
 - location
Lake Erie at Toledo
 - coordinates
41°41′58″N 83°27′36″W / 41.6994444°N 83.46°WCoordinates: 41°41′58″N 83°27′36″W / 41.6994444°N 83.46°W
 - elevation
571 ft (174 m)
Length137 miles (220 km)
Basin size6,354 sq mi (16,460 km2)
 - average5,297 cu ft/s (150.0 m3/s)
Basin features


Historically the river was also known as the "Miami" in United States treaties with Native Americans. As early as 1671, French colonists called the river Miami du Lac, or Miami of the Lake (in contrast to the "Miami of the Ohio" or the Great Miami River, called in Miami-Illinois Ahsenisiipi). Maumee is an anglicized spelling of the Ottawa or Odawa name for the Miami tribe, Maamii. The Odawa had a village at the mouth of the Maumee River and occupied other territory in northwestern Ohio.[7]

The Battle of Fallen Timbers, the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, was fought 34 mile (1.2 km) north of the banks of the Maumee River. After this decisive victory for General Anthony Wayne, Native Americans ceded a twelve mile square tract around Perrysburg and Maumee to the United States by the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.[8] Lands north of the river and downstream of Defiance were ceded in the 1807 Treaty of Detroit,[9] and the rest of the Maumee River valley was ceded in the 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs.[10]

Prior to the development of canals, portages between the rivers were important trade routes. U.S. forces built forts such as Fort Loramie, Fort Recovery, and Fort Defiance. In honor of General Wayne's victory on the banks of the Maumee, the primary bridge crossing the river near downtown Toledo is named the Anthony Wayne Suspension Bridge.

A dispute over control of part of the Maumee River region led to the so-called Toledo War between Ohio and the Michigan Territory.

Agricultural practices along the Maumee River have contributed in the 21st century to high phosphate levels in Lake Erie. This triggered algae blooms in the lake,[6] rendering drinking water from the city of Toledo unsafe for consumption for nearly a week in August 2014.[11]

Natural history

The general extent of the Great Black Swamp prior to the 19th century

The Maumee River watershed was once part of the Great Black Swamp, a remnant of Glacial Lake Maumee, the proglacial ancestor of Lake Erie. The 1,500-square-mile (3,900 km2) swamp was a vast network of forests, wetlands, and grasslands, a rich habitat for numerous species of birds, animals, fish and flora. During the 19th century, European-American settlers struggled to drain the swamp and to convert the land to farmland; they dramatically altered the habitat, reducing areas where species could flourish.


The mouth of the river at Toledo and Lake Erie is wide and supports considerable commercial traffic, including oil, grain, and coal. About 12 miles (19 km) upstream, in the town of Perrysburg, Ohio, the river becomes much shallower and today supports only recreational navigation above that point. The Miami and Erie Canal was built parallel to and north of the Maumee between Toledo and Defiance, Ohio, to enable extended transportation of shipped goods. The canal entered the river at a "slackwater" created by Independence Dam. It exited the river at Defiance and was built to the south, ending at Cincinnati, Ohio. While abandoned for commercial use, portions of the canal's towpath are maintained for recreational use in both Lucas and Henry counties. A restored section of canal, including a canal lock, is operated at Providence Metropark, where visitors can ride an authentic canal boat.

The Wabash and Erie Canal was constructed on the south side of the river, continuing southwest from Defiance to Fort Wayne, Indiana, crossing the "summit" to the Wabash River valley (in Miami-Illinois the Wabash River was known as Waapaahšiki siipiiwi). Both canals were important pre-railway transportation methods in the 1840–60 period.


The Maumee has the largest watershed of any Great Lakes river,[5] with 8,316 square miles (21,540 km2). This area includes a portion of southern Michigan. In addition to its source tributaries – the St. Joseph River (in Miami-Illinois: Kociihsasiipi) and St. Marys (in Miami-Illinois: Nameewa siipiiwi), the Maumee's principal tributaries are the Auglaize River and the Tiffin River, which join it at Defiance from the south and north, respectively.


Three Rivers, Fort Wayne, Indiana
The St. Marys River (left) and St. Joseph River (right) converge to form the Maumee River (foreground) in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

There are several small islands in the section of the Maumee River in northwest Ohio. The names of the islands are:[12]

  • Indian Island – near Farnsworth Park west of Toledo
  • Woodcock Island – just west of Indian Island, adjacent to Missionary Island
  • Missionary Island – near Farnsworth Park west of Toledo
  • Granger Island – near Waterville, Ohio
  • Butler Island – near Side Cut Metropark, adjacent to Missionary Island's North East side
  • Grave Island – adjacent to Missionary Island on its south side, opposite of Butler Island
  • Bluegrass Island – part of Side Cut Metropark
  • Audubon Island – the largest island in the Maumee River, formerly McKee's Island or Ewing Island, part of SideCut Park
  • Marengo Island – near Maumee, Ohio
  • Horseshoe Island – near Walbridge Park in Toledo
  • Clark Island – near Walbridge Park in Toledo
  • Corbutt Island – in Toledo
  • Grassy Island – at the mouth of Grassy Creek at Rossford, Ohio.
  • Girty's Island – two miles downstream of Florida, Ohio
  • Preston Island – near Defiance, Ohio
  • Little sisters Island – near Rossford, Ohio

Walleye run

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the annual walleye run up the Maumee River is one of the largest migrations of riverbound walleyes east of the Mississippi. The migration of the walleye normally starts in early March and runs through the end of April. Although the first week of April is "historically" the peak of the migration, it varies according to environmental conditions. When river flows rise due to snow melt-off and the river water temperature reaches 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C), the migration begins. Walleye come to spawn from the western end of Lake Erie and the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair in Michigan. The most popular method of fishing for the migrating walleye is by wading out into the river and casting.

Cities and towns along the river

Veterans' Glass City Skyway 1
The Veterans' Glass City Skyway in Toledo, Ohio
Skyline of Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio
The river in Grand Rapids, Ohio

See also


  1. ^ "Maumee – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  2. ^ "Shawnees Webpage". Shawnee's Reservation. 1997. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  3. ^ Myaamiaatawaakani | Myaamia Dictionary
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed May 19, 2011
  5. ^ a b "Maumee River Area of Concern". Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b Wines, Michael (15 March 2013). "Spring Rain, Then Foul Algae in Ailing Lake Erie". The New York Times. p. 1.
  7. ^ David M. Stothers, Patrick M. Tucker (2006). The Fry Site: Archaeological and Ethnohistorical Perspectives on the Maumee River Ottawa of Northwest Ohio. Volume 2 of Laboratory of Archaeology Publications: Occasional Monographs. Morrisville, North Carolina: LuLu Press. ISBN 1430304294.
  8. ^ Stat. 49 – Text of Treaty of Greenville Library of Congress
  9. ^ Stat. 105 – Text of Treaty of Detroit Library of Congress
  10. ^ Stat. 160 – Text of Treaty of Fort Meigs Library of Congress
  11. ^ "Toledo, Ohio Water Supply Contaminated by Algae From Lake Erie". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  12. ^ Sidecut Metropark History Archived 2007-09-11 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

External links

Battle of Fallen Timbers

The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794) was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between Native American tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and a British company, against the United States for control of the Northwest Territory. The battle took place amid trees toppled by a tornado just north of the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio at the site of the present-day city of Maumee. Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States along with Gen. Charles Scott's Kentucky Militia were victorious against a combined Native American force of Shawnee under Blue Jacket, Miami under Little Turtle, and numerous others. The battle ended major hostilities in the region. This resulted in British and Indian withdrawal from the southern Great Lakes, western Ohio and northeastern Indiana following the Treaty of Greenville and Jay's Treaty.

Bend View Metropark

Bend View Metropark is a regional park located in Toledo, Ohio that is part of the Toledo Metroparks. It is managed by Farnsworth Metropark and got its name from having a supreme view of a 90-degree bend of the Maumee River.

Farnsworth Metropark

Farnsworth Metropark is a regional park located in Waterville, Ohio that is part of the Toledo Metroparks. The long narrow parks sits on the western shore of the Maumee River with a view of several islands, including Missionary, Butler and Indian islands, all of which are owned by the State of Ohio.

Independence Dam State Park

Independence Dam State Park is a 591-acre (239 ha) in Defiance County, Ohio in the United States. This Ohio state park lies on the banks of the Maumee River and features ruins of the Miami and Erie Canal. The park was established in 1949 and is open for year-round recreation including, boating, fishing, hiking and picnicking. It is off U.S. Route 24 just east of Defiance, Ohio.

Interstate 280 (Ohio)

Interstate 280 (I-280) is a 12.41-mile-long highway that connects I-75 in northeast Toledo, Ohio with I-80/I-90 (part of the Ohio Turnpike) southeast of the city in northeastern Wood County, Ohio. Built between 1955 and 1959, the route was originally part of the Detroit-Toledo Expressway. Although first designated in 1959, the highway originally contained several at-grade intersections and other features which left it substandard to the Interstate Highway System until 1990. Further construction in 2007 built a new crossing of the Maumee River, replacing an outdated drawbridge. The highway serves as an easterly bypass of metropolitan Toledo, passing through the communities of Northwood and Oregon. It is one of two auxiliary Interstate highways serving Toledo, the other being Interstate 475.

List of cities and towns along the Maumee River

This is a list of cities and villages along the Maumee River in the United States.

List of rivers of Indiana

This is a list of rivers in Indiana (U.S. state).

Lucas County, Ohio

Lucas County is a county located in the U.S. state of Ohio and bordered on the east by Lake Erie, and on the southeast by the Maumee River, which runs to the lake. As of the 2010 census, the population was 441,815. Its county seat is Toledo, located at the mouth of the Maumee River on the lake. The county was named for Robert Lucas, 12th governor of Ohio, in 1835 during his second term. Its establishment provoked the Toledo War conflict with the Michigan Territory, which claimed some of its area.

Lucas County is the central county of the Toledo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Mary Jane Thurston State Park

Mary Jane Thurston State Park is a 591-acre (239 ha) Ohio state park in Wood and Henry Counties, Ohio in the United States. It is named for Mary Jane Thurston, a schoolteacher from Grand Rapids, Ohio who bequeathed 14 acres (57,000 m2) of land for the establishment of a park. The park is along the Maumee River near the remains of the historic Miami and Erie Canal. Mary Jane Thurston State Park is open for year-round recreation including, hunting, fishing and boating, picnicking, camping and hiking.

Maumee, Ohio

Maumee ( maw-MEE) is a city in Lucas County, Ohio, United States. Located along the Maumee River, it is about 10 miles southwest of Toledo. The population was 14,286 at the 2010 census. Maumee was declared an All-America City by the National Civic League in June 2006.

Perrysburg, Ohio

Perrysburg is a city in Wood County, Ohio, United States, along the south side of the Maumee River. The population was 20,623 at the 2010 census. It was founded before Toledo, now a larger port city located about 12 miles (19 km) to the northeast on Lake Erie. Perrysburg is now a suburb of Toledo, Ohio.

Sandusky River

The Sandusky River (Wyandot: saandusti; Shawnee: Potakihiipi ) is a tributary to Lake Erie in north-central Ohio in the United States. It is about 133 miles (214 km) long and flows into Lake Erie at the southwest side of Sandusky Bay.

The Sandusky River, like the Maumee River to the west, is home to the annual walleye run in the spring, specifically March–April. The river also receives a run of white bass around the same time in the spring. The numbers of walleye that return to spawn upstream are not as great as those that return to the Maumee River. The Ballville Dam, built on the Sandusky River in Fremont, Ohio, blocked migration for walleye and other fish. As fish can swim farther upstream in the Maumee, they have access to more spawning areas and have developed a larger population than in the Sandusky River.

Opponents of the dam projected that its removal would improve access for walleye and other migratory fish to areas upstream and lead to an increase in their population, as has happened on other rivers where dams have been removed. The Ballville Dam was no longer used for power generation or navigation improvements. The city of Fremont undertook a study to explore the options of tearing it down or repairing it. A 2014 study found that removal would have little adverse effect on city conditions and would strongly improve the fisheries. In 2016 voters approved taking down the dam. (Note: The Balville dam was demolished in July 2018).

The river's name derives from the Wyandot words saandusti, meaning "water (within water-pools)" or from andusti, meaning "cold water". It was transliterated in various spellings by French and English colonists.

St. Joseph River (Maumee River tributary)

The St. Joseph River is an 86.1-mile-long (138.6 km) tributary of the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio and northeastern Indiana in the United States, with headwater tributaries rising in southern Michigan. It drains a primarily rural farming region in the watershed of Lake Erie.

The St. Joseph River of Lake Michigan is an entirely separate river that rises in western Michigan, dips into Indiana, and flows west into Lake Michigan.

St. Marys River (Indiana and Ohio)

The St. Marys River (Shawnee: Kokothikithiipi, in Miami-Illinois: Nameewa siipiiwi) is a 99-mile-long (159 km) tributary of the Maumee River (Miami-Illinois: Taawaawa siipiiwi) in northwestern Ohio and northeastern Indiana in the United States. Prior to development, it was part of the Great Black Swamp. Today, it drains a primarily rural farming region in the watershed of Lake Erie.

It is formed in southern Auglaize County in western Ohio by the confluence of the short East Branch and Center Branch. It flows briefly west to St. Marys, approaching to within two miles of Grand Lake before turning to the north. In northwestern Auglaize County it turns sharply to the west-northwest, flowing past Rockford and Willshire into Adams County, Indiana. In northeastern Indiana it flows northwest through Decatur, then enters Fort Wayne. It hooks around in its last half mile (0.8 km) to join the St. Joseph River (in Miami-Illinois: Kociihsasiipi) from the west to form the Maumee in downtown Fort Wayne.

The World War II-era US Navy vessel St. Mary's River was named after this river.

Tiffin River

The Tiffin River is a 54.9-mile-long (88.4 km) tributary of the Maumee River in northwestern Ohio in the United States. Headwater tributaries of the river rise in southeastern Michigan. The river drains a primarily rural farming region in the watershed of Lake Erie. Early French traders called the river Crique Féve, translated as Bean Creek, due to the natural growth of bean plants along the shores.The stream was renamed officially as the Tiffin River in 1822 after Edward Tiffin, the first governor of the state of Ohio. The 56.3-mile-long (90.6 km) upper section of the river north of the Ohio Turnpike is still referred to as Bean Creek.

Treaty of Detroit

The Treaty of Detroit was a treaty between the United States and the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot and Potawatomi Native American nations. The treaty was signed at Detroit, Michigan on November 17, 1807, with William Hull, governor of the Michigan Territory and superintendent of Indian affairs, the sole representative of the U.S.With this treaty, the First Nations ceded claim to a large portion of land in what is now Southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. The boundary definition in the treaty began with the "mouth of the Miami river of the lakes," or what is now known as the Maumee River at Toledo, Ohio. From there the boundary ran up the middle of the river to the mouth of its tributary Auglaize River at what is now Defiance, Ohio, then due north until it intersected a parallel of latitude at the outlet of Lake Huron into the St. Clair River.

This north-south line would become the Michigan Meridian used in surveying of Michigan lands. The intersecting parallel of latitude crossed the meridian at the northwest corner of what is now Sciota Township in Shiawassee County in the middle of the border with Clinton County. From this point the treaty boundary ran northeast to White Rock in Lake Huron, then due east to the international boundary with what was then Upper Canada, and then along the international boundary through the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and then into Lake Erie to a point due east of the mouth of the Maumee River, and finally west back to the point of beginning.

Veterans' Glass City Skyway

The Veterans' Glass City Skyway, commonly called the Toledo Skyway Bridge, is a cable-stayed bridge on Interstate 280 in Toledo, Ohio. After many delays, it opened in 2007. The bridge has taken traffic and reduced delays on the Robert Craig Memorial Bridge, a bascule bridge that was, until its transfer to local control, one of the last moveable bridges on the Interstate highway system. The Skyway is Ohio Department of Transportation's (ODOT) biggest single construction project.

Wabash and Erie Canal

The Wabash and Erie Canal was a shipping canal that linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River via an artificial waterway. The canal provided traders with access from the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Over 460 miles long, it was the longest canal ever built in North America.

The canal known as the Wabash & Erie in the 1850s and thereafter, was actually a combination of four canals: the Miami and Erie Canal from the Maumee River near Toledo, Ohio to Junction, Ohio, the original Wabash and Erie Canal from Junction to Terre Haute, Indiana, the Cross Cut Canal from Terre Haute, Indiana to Worthington, Indiana (Point Commerce), and the Central Canal from Worthington to Evansville, Indiana.

Waterville, Ohio

Waterville is a city in Lucas County, Ohio, United States, along the Maumee River, a suburb of Toledo. The population was 5,523 at the 2010 census.


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