The Mohawk River is a 149-mile-long (240 km) river in the U.S. state of New York. It is the largest tributary of the Hudson River. The Mohawk flows into the Hudson in Cohoes, New York, a few miles north of the city of Albany. The river is named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. It is a major waterway in north-central New York.
Hudson River watershed map showing the Mohawk River
|Etymology||Named for Mohawk Nation|
|Cities||Schenectady, Amsterdam, Utica, Rome|
|Source||East Branch Mohawk River and West Branch Mohawk River|
|- location||Ava, Oneida County, New York|
|- elevation||920 ft (280 m)|
|Border of Albany County, Saratoga County, and Rensselaer County, New York|
|10 ft (3.0 m)|
|Length||149 mi (240 km)|
|Basin size||3,412 sq mi (8,840 km2)|
|- average||5,908 cu ft/s (167.3 m3/s)|
|- minimum||6 cu ft/s (0.17 m3/s)|
|- maximum||200,000 cu ft/s (5,700 m3/s)|
|- left||Lansing Kill, West Canada Creek, |
East Canada Creek, Caroga Creek,
North Chuctanunda Creek, Alplaus Kill
|- right||Oriskany Creek, Schoharie Creek,|
Otsquago Creek, Canajoharie Creek,
From its source in Lewis County, the Mohawk River flows generally east through the Mohawk Valley, passing by the cities of Rome, Utica, Little Falls, Canajoharie, Amsterdam, and Schenectady before entering the Hudson River at Cohoes, just north of Albany.
The river and its supporting canal, the Erie Canal, connect the Hudson River and port of New York with the Great Lakes at Buffalo, New York. The lower part of the Mohawk River has five permanent dams, nine movable dams (seasonal), and five active hydropower plants.
Schoharie Creek and West Canada Creek are the principal tributaries of the Mohawk River. Both of these tributaries have several significant dams including the Hinckley Dam on the West Canada and the Gilboa Dam on the upper reaches of Schoharie Creek. The Gilboa Dam, which was completed in 1926 as part of the New York City water supply system, is the subject of an active and aggressive rehabilitation project.
The river has long been important to transportation and migration to the west as a passage through the Appalachian Mountains, between the Catskill Mountains and Allegheny Plateau to the south and the Adirondack Mountains to the north. The Mohawk Valley allowed easier passage than going over the mountains to the north or south of the valley. As a result, it was strategically important during the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War, and a number of important battles were fought here. The fertile Mohawk Valley also attracted early settlers.
In the early nineteenth century water transport was a vital means of transporting both people and goods. A corporation was formed to build the Erie Canal off the Mohawk River to Lake Erie. The canal cut shipping costs to Lake Erie by 95%. It also simplified and reduced the difficulties of westward settler migration.
The Mohawk River Heritage Corridor Commission was created to preserve and promote the natural and historic assets of the Mohawk River. This commission was created by the NY State Legislature in 1997 to improve historic preservation along the river.
The Mohawk watershed drains a large section of the Catskill Mountains, the Mohawk Valley proper, and a section of the southern Adirondack Mountains. All three regions have distinct bedrock geology, and the underlying rocks become progressively younger to the south. Overall, this part of New York is represented by lower Paleozoic sedimentary rocks that unconformably overlie the Grenville-aged (Proterozoic, here about 1.1 billion years old) metamorphic rocks of the Adirondacks. In the watershed, these rocks are only significant in the headwaters of the West Canada Creek. Much of the main trunk of the Mohawk River sits in Cambro-Ordovician carbonates (limestone) and Middle Ordovician sandstones and shales. The southern tributaries (Catskill Mountains) are underlain by a thin sequence of Devonian limestones that are overlain by a thick sequence of sandstones and shale of the Catskill Delta, which is also Devonian in age.
During the Pleistocene (c. 1.8 to 0.01 mya), the watershed was extensively modified by continental glaciation. As a result of glacial scour and deposition, the surficial deposits in much of the watershed are poorly sorted boulder- and clay-rich glacial till. During deglaciation, several glacial lakes left varved clay deposits. In the final stages of deglaciation, approximately 13,350 years ago, the catastrophic draining of Glacial Lake Iroquois, a pro-glacial lake, was through what would become the modern Mohawk Valley. In this final phase, the enormous discharge of water caused local deep scour features (e.g. the Potholes at Little Falls), and extensive sand and gravel deposition, which is one of the key sources of municipal groundwater including the Scotia Delta, which is also known as the Great Flats Aquifer.
The river was the highway of the native Mohawk people. the Mohawk name for the river was Tenonanatche, "A river flowing through a mountain":p.71 (or Yenonanatche, "going round a mountain"). The first recorded European exploration of the Mohawk was a trip by the Dutchman Harman Meyndertsz van den Bogaert in 1634. He followed the river upstream from Albany for a distance of 100 miles, including all the territory of the Mohawks.
In 1661 Dutch colonists founded the city of Schenectady on the Mohawk River approximately 19 miles (31 km) from Albany. "For fifty years Schenectady was the outpost of civilization and Dutch-English rule in the Mohawk valley."
In 1712 the British, now in control of New York, built Fort Hunter at the confluence of the Mohawk and the Schoharie Creek, about 22 miles (35 km) upriver from Schenectady. Around 600 Palatine Germans were settled along the Mohawk and Schoharie Creek.
Historically, the Mohawk watershed has lacked a watershed management plan typical in many adjacent basins. In 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda, which is the first framework for a watershed management plan in this basin. This plan identifies five priority goals for the Mohawk River Basin that are designed to enhance ecosystem health and the vitality of the region. The Action Agenda, developed by the NYS DEC in collaboration with a number of stakeholders in the basin with public input, advocates an ecosystem-based approach to watershed management. In October 2014, Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy and clean water watchdog organization, announced that they will be expanding the reach of their efforts from the Hudson River to the Mohawk as well.
The Mohawk River has a relatively long record of flooding that has been documented back to settlement in the 17th century. The average volume of water that flows through the Mohawk is about 184 billion cubic feet (5.21 km3) every year. Much of the water flows through the watershed in the spring as snow melts rapidly and enters the tributaries and the main trunk of the river. The maximum average daily flow on the river occurs between late March and early April. For the period between 1917 and 2000, the highest mean daily flow is c. 18,000 cu ft (510 m3) as measured at Cohoes, near the confluence with the Hudson. The lowest mean daily flow of 1,400 cu ft (40 m3) occurs in late August. There is a long record of significant and damaging floods along the entire length of the river.
Because the river and its tributaries typically freeze in the winter, the spring melt is commonly accompanied by ice floes that get stuck and jammed along the main trunk of the river. This annual spring breakup typically occurs in the last few weeks of March, although there are plenty of floods that have occurred before or after this time, such as in 2018 when the ice jam breakup happened in late February after record warmth in the region. These ice jams can cause considerable damage to structures along the riverbanks and on the floodplain. The most severe flood of record on the main trunk of the Mohawk River was the spring breakup flood that occurred from 27–28 March 1914. This flood caused a tremendous amount of damage to the infrastructure because it was a spring breakup flood with enormous amounts of ice. Ice jams of some significance occur about every other year.
One major flood on the Mohawk was on 26–29 June 2006, during the Mid-Atlantic United States flood of 2006. Flooding was caused by a stalled frontal system that resulted in 50 to 330 millimeters (2.0 to 13.0 in) of rain across central New York and widespread flooding occurred in the Mohawk, Delaware, and Susquehanna watersheds. Across the state, this event caused over US$227m in damage and resulted in the loss of four lives. This flooding was acute in the upper parts of the Mohawk watershed.
The Mohawk River also saw significant flooding during the weeks between August 21, 2011 and September 5, 2011 due to torrential rains experienced from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Many of the Mohawk Barge Canal locks sustained major damage, especially near Waterford and Rotterdam Junction.
Another major flood was on June 28, 2013. It was caused because of heavy rain that had fallen in the region for weeks, and then on the night of June 27, 2013, it was reported in the Jordanville area that 4 inches of rain fell in one hour that night. The next day, the Mohawk River completely flooded the valley, residents were stranded, and without power for approximately one week. There was extreme damage everywhere, especially Mohawk and Fort Plain.
Media related to Mohawk River (New York) at Wikimedia Commons
Amsterdam is a city in Montgomery County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 18,620. The city is named for Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
The city of Amsterdam is surrounded on the north, east, and west sides by the town of Amsterdam. The city developed on both sides of the Mohawk River, with the majority located on the north bank. The Port Jackson area on the south side is also part of the city.Canajoharie Creek
The Canajoharie Creek flows into the Mohawk River in the village of Canajoharie, New York. The name "Canajoharie" is said to be a Mohawk language term meaning "the pot that washes itself," referring to the "Canajoharie Boiling Pot," a circular gorge in the Canajoharie Creek, just south of the village of Canajoharie, New York.Caroga Creek
The Caroga Creek starts at the East Caroga Lake and flows south passing through Rockwood Lake before converging with the Mohawk River in Palatine Church, New York.Cayadutta Creek
Cayadutta Creek flows into the Mohawk River near Fonda, New York. The Indian meaning of Cayadutta is "rippling waters" or "shallow water running over stones". This stream has commercial and historical importance as the cities of Johnstown and Gloversville lie on its banks.East Branch Mohawk River (New Hampshire)
The East Branch of the Mohawk River is a 4.6-mile-long (7.4 km) river in northern New Hampshire in the United States. It is a tributary of the Mohawk River, which flows west to the Connecticut River, which in turn flows south to Long Island Sound, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.
The East Branch rises in Coleman State Park in Stewartstown, New Hampshire, just south of Little Diamond Pond. The river flows south through forests and fields, joining the West Branch at the village of Upper Kidderville in the town of Colebrook.Fulmer Creek
Fulmer Creek flows into the Mohawk River in Mohawk, New York. The creek derives its name from the "Felmore" family, who bought land through the Burnetsfield patent of 1725, in which lands on the present village site were granted out.Glenville, Schenectady County, New York
Glenville is a town in Schenectady County, New York, United States. It was incorporated in 1821. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 29,480.Including the village of Scotia, the town of Glenville is that part of Schenectady County north of the Mohawk River.Mohawk River (New Hampshire)
The Mohawk River is a 13.8-mile-long (22.2 km) river in northern New Hampshire in the United States. It is a tributary of the Connecticut River, which flows south to Long Island Sound, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Mohawk River rises in the area of Dixville Notch and flows west-northwest to the Connecticut River in the town of Colebrook. It is paralleled for most of its length by New Hampshire Route 26.Mohawk River State Park
Mohawk River State Park is a 105-acre (0.42 km2) undeveloped state park in the town of Niskayuna in Schenectady County, New York. The park is located adjacent to the Mohawk River.Moyer Creek
Moyer Creek starts at Wheelock Pond near Jerusalem Hill, New York. Past Gulph, New York Moyer Creek follows a deep ravine, the Frankfort Gorge, south towards Frankfort, New York before converging with the Mohawk River in Frankfort, New York. The headwaters of Moyer Creek rise within a half mile of the source of the Unadilla River which is the most northerly headwater source of the Susquehanna and the closest to the Mohawk River.Nowadaga Creek
The Nowadaga Creek basin drains portions of the towns of Danube, Stark, and Little Falls, as well as a small portion of the town of Warren, in southern Herkimer County before converging with the Mohawk River in Indian Castle, New York. The drainage basin is approximately 49 percent forested. The creek has an average slope of 1.7 percent over its entire stream length of 10.0 miles. On a 1790 land patent map it is spelled "Inchanando Creek".Oriskany Creek
Oriskany Creek is a 33-mile-long (53 km) river in New York, United States. It rises in Madison County and flows northeastward, primarily through Oneida County. Oriskany Creek is a tributary of the Mohawk River and therefore part of the Hudson River watershed.
Oriskany Creek is wide and shallow, affording passage to only canoes, and that for only part of its length. The creek is known for its brown trout, which are caught from the shore or by wading.Otsquago Creek
Otsquago Creek enters the Mohawk River at Fort Plain, New York. Otsquago is a Mohawk Indian word meaning "under the bridge," probably referring to an early bridge of felled trees along the creek, a way of making small bridges. It is also referred to as Otsquage on old maps, which is an Indian word for "healing waters".
The source of the Otsquago Creek is about 12 miles southeast from its outlet, 1,360 feet above sea level and about 1,000 feet above the Mohawk River, in a marshy field by Van Hornesville, New York. Creamery Falls and Van Hornesville Falls are two waterfalls on the creek near Van Hornesville.Rotterdam (town), New York
Rotterdam is a town in Schenectady County, New York, United States. The population was 29,094 at the 2010 census.The town of Rotterdam is in the south-central part of the county. It was founded by Dutch settlers, who named it after the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where many immigrants last touched European grounds. The town borders the city of Schenectady.Sauquoit Creek
Sauquoit Creek is a 17.0-mile-long (27.4 km) river in New York, United States. It lies within the southern part of Oneida County. The creek flows eastward, then turns sharply and flows generally northward through the Sauquoit Valley to the Mohawk River, entering the river on the east side of Whitesboro. It is therefore part of the Hudson River watershed.Scotia, New York
Scotia is a village in Schenectady County, New York, United States, incorporated in 1904. The population was 7,729 at the 2010 census. Scotia is part of the town of Glenville, and is connected with the city of Schenectady by the Western Gateway Bridge over the Mohawk River.Steele Creek (Mohawk River tributary)
Steele Creek begins in an unnamed swamp south of Cedarville and flows northeast before emptying into the Mohawk River in the Village of Ilion, New York. Steele Creek travels through the Ilion Gorge and alongside NY-51 for most of its length. Steele Creek derives its name from Rudolph Stahl (Staele, Staley, Steele), who built the first grist mill in Ilion along the creek.Waterford, New York
Waterford is a town in Saratoga County, New York, United States. The population was 8,515 at the 2000 census. The name of the town is derived from its principal village, also called Waterford. The town and village are in the southeast corner of Saratoga County, and north-northwest of Troy, New York. It is located at the junction of the Erie Canal and the Hudson River.West Branch Mohawk River (New Hampshire)
The West Branch of the Mohawk River is a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) long river in northern New Hampshire in the United States. It is a tributary of the Mohawk River, which flows west to the Connecticut River, which in turn flows south to Long Island Sound, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.
The West Branch rises in Stewartstown, New Hampshire, between Mudget Mountain to the west and Holden Hill to the east. The river flows south past Lovering Mountain and joins the East Branch at the village of Upper Kidderville in the town of Colebrook.
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