Delaware River: Wikis

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Delaware River
River
Delaware River above the Delaware Water Gap
Country United States
States New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware
Tributaries
 - left Neversink River, Musconetcong River
 - right Lehigh River, Schuylkill River
Cities Port Jervis, NY, Easton, PA, Trenton, NJ, Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Wilmington, DE
Source West Branch
 - location Mount Jefferson, Town of Jefferson, Schoharie County, New York, USA
 - elevation 2,240 ft (683 m)
 - coordinates 42°27′12″N 74°36′26″W / 42.45333°N 74.60722°W / 42.45333; -74.60722
Secondary source East Branch
 - location Grand Gorge, Town of Roxbury, Delaware County, New York, United States
 - elevation 1,560 ft (475 m)
 - coordinates 42°21′26″N 74°30′42″W / 42.35722°N 74.51167°W / 42.35722; -74.51167
Source confluence
 - elevation 880 ft (268 m)
 - coordinates 41°56′20″N 75°16′46″W / 41.93889°N 75.27944°W / 41.93889; -75.27944
Mouth Delaware Bay
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 39°25′13″N 75°31′11″W / 39.42028°N 75.51972°W / 39.42028; -75.51972
Length 360 mi (579 km)
Basin 14,119 sq mi (36,568 km2)
Discharge for Trenton
 - average 13,100 cu ft/s (371 m3/s)
 - max 64,800 cu ft/s (1,835 m3/s)
 - min 4,310 cu ft/s (122 m3/s)
Discharge elsewhere (average)
 - Port Jervis 7,900 cu ft/s (224 m3/s)
Delaware River (and Delaware Bay) watershed

The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States. The Delaware was explored by Adriaen Block as part of the New Netherlands Colony, and was named the South River to mark the southernmost reach of that colony.

The river meets tide-water at Trenton, New Jersey. Its total length, from the head of the longest branch to Cape May and Cape Henlopen, is 410 miles (660 km), and above the head of the Delaware Bay its length is 360 miles (579 km). The mean freshwater discharge of the Delaware River into the estuary is 11,550 cubic feet (330 m³) per second.

The Delaware River constitutes, in part, the boundary between Pennsylvania and New York, the entire boundary between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and most of the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey. A historical oddity, the Delaware-New Jersey Border is actually at the eastern-most river shoreline within the Twelve-Mile Circle of New Castle, rather than the usual mid river or mid channel borders, causing small portions of the New Jersey peninsula falling west of the shoreline to fall under the jurisdiction of Delaware. The rest of the borders follow a mid-channel approach.

Commerce was once important on the upper river, primarily prior to railway competition (1857).

The mean tides below Philadelphia are about 6 feet (2 m). 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.

In the "project of 1885" the United States government undertook systematically the formation of a 26 ft (8 m) channel 600 ft (180 m) wide from Philadelphia to deep water in Delaware Bay. The River and Harbor Act of 1899 provided for a 30 foot (9 m) channel 600 feet (180 m) wide from Philadelphia to the deep water of the bay.

Contents

Course

The main, west or Mohawk branch rises in Schoharie County, New York, about 1886 feet (575 m) above the sea, near Mount Jefferson, and flows tortuously through the plateau in a deep trough, impounded at one point to create the Cannonsville Reservoir, and then becoming the state boundary at the 42nd parallel, until it emerges from the Catskills. Similarly, the East Branch begins from a small pond south of Grand Gorge in the town of Roxbury in Delaware County, flowing southward toward its impoundment by New York City to create the Pepacton Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the New York City water supply system. The confluence is just south of Hancock.

Delaware above Walpack Bend, where it leaves the buried valley eroded from Marcellus Shale bedrock

After leaving the mountains and plateau, the river flows down broad Appalachian valleys, passing Hawk's Nest overlook on the "Upper Delaware Scenic Byway". Below Port Jervis, New York, 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 Wallpack Bend in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.[1][2] 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 limestone, and 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 (60 m) high.

At Trenton there is a fall of 8 feet (2.4 m). 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.

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Tributaries

Its main tributaries in New York are the Mongaup and Neversink rivers and Callicoon Creek; from Pennsylvania, the Lackawaxen, Lehigh, and Schuylkill rivers; and from New Jersey, Rancocas Creek and the Musconetcong and Maurice rivers. Oldmans and Raccoon creeks are tributaries in New Jersey.

A 1655 Swedish nautical chart showing part of the Delaware River. The map is from when Delaware River was under the Swedish colony New Sweden.
The upper Delaware River near Barryville, New York
Canoeing on the river at Hawk's Nest, New York
The middle Delaware viewed from Ewing, New Jersey.
The lower Delaware as viewed from New Castle, Delaware

Flooding

The Delaware has experienced a number of serious flooding events as the result of snow melt and/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, PA recorded an all time record crest of 38.85 feet 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 on September 23, 2004, 34.07 feet on April 4, 2005, and 33.62 feet on June 28, 2006, all considerably higher than the flood stage of 22 feet (7 m).[3]

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. However, due to insufficient federal funds, progress is slow.[4]

New York City Water Supply

After New York City had made 15 reservoirs (with more to come) for their water supply, and with a growing population, the city tried to gain permission to make five reservoirs along the Delaware River's tributaries. However, they were denied the permission to impound the Delaware's tributaries to make new reservoirs. So in 1928, New York City decided to draw water from the Delaware River to feed the population boom that had started during the beginning of the Great Depression. There were, however, villages and towns across the river in Pennsylvania that 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 finally allowed to draw 440 million gallons of water a day from the Delaware and its upstream tributaries.

Crossings

George Washington crossing the Delaware River prior to the Battle of Trenton

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.

Washington's crossing of the Delaware

Perhaps the most famous “Delaware Crossing” involved the improvised boat crossing undertaken by George Washington’s army during the American Revolution on Christmas Day, 1776. This led to a successful surprise attack on the Hessian troops occupying Trenton, New Jersey.

Major oil spills

A number of oil spills have taken place in the Delaware over the years.[5][6][7]

  • 01-31-1975 — 11,000,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the Corinthos tanker
  • 09-28-1985 — 435,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the Grand Eagle tanker after running aground on Marcus Hook Bar
  • 06-24-1989 — 306,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the Presidente Rivera tanker after running aground on Claymont Shoal
  • 11-26-2004 — 265,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the Athos 1 tanker; the tanker's hull had been punctured by a submerged, discarded anchor

See also

The Delaware River at New Hope, Pennsylvania

Notes

  1. ^ White, Ron W.; Monteverde, Donald H. (02-01-2006). "Karst in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area" (pdf). Unearthing New Jersey Vol. 2, No. 1. New Jersey Geological Survey. http://www.njgeology.org/enviroed/newsletter/v2n1.pdf. Retrieved 06-07-2008.  
  2. ^ 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.  
  3. ^ USGS See Also: (State of New Jersey: Recent flooding events in the Delaware river basin
  4. ^ http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/Flood_Website/10ptsJuly2005.pdf
  5. ^ "Athos 1 Oil Spill". University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. 03-11-2005. http://www.ocean.udel.edu/oilspill/. Retrieved April 29, 2006.  
  6. ^ "1985 Grand Eagle Oil Spill". University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. 12-16-2004. http://www.ocean.udel.edu/oilspill/Grandeagle.html. Retrieved April 29, 2006.  
  7. ^ "Presidente Rivera Spill – June 24, 1989". University of Delaware Sea Grant Program. 2004-12-08. http://www.ocean.udel.edu/oilspill/PresidenteRiveraSpill.html. Retrieved April 29, 2006.  

References

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DELAWARE RIVER, a stream of the Atlantic slope of the United States, meeting tide-water at Trenton, New Jersey,130 m. above its mouth. Its total length, from the head of the longest branch to the capes, is 410 m., and above the head of the bay its length is 360 m. It constitutes in part the boundary between Pennsylvania and New York, the boundary between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and, for a few miles, the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey. The main, west or Mohawk branch rises in Schoharie county, N.Y., about 1886 ft. above the sea, and flows tortuously through the plateau in a deep trough until it emerges from the Catskills. Other branches rise in Greene and Delaware counties. In the upper portion of its course the varied scenery of its hilly and wooded banks is exquisitely beautiful. After leaving the mountains and plateau, the river flows down broad Appalachian valleys, skirts the Kittatinny range, which it crosses at Delaware Water-Gap, between nearly vertical walls of sandstone, and 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, Pa. From this point it is flanked at intervals by fine hills, and in places by cliffs, of which the finest are the Hockamixon Rocks, 3 m. long and above zoo ft. high. At Trenton there is a fall of 8 ft. Below Trenton the river becomes a broad, sluggish inlet of the sea, with many marshes along its side, widening steadily into its great estuary, Delaware Bay. Its main tributaries in New York are Mongaup and Neversink rivers and Callicoon Creek; from Pennsylvania, Lackawaxen, Lehigh and Schuylkill rivers; and from New Jersey, Rancocas Creek and Musconetcong and Maurice rivers. Commerce was once important on the upper river, but only before the beginning of railway competition (1857). The Delaware division of the Pennsylvania canal, running parallel with the river from Easton to Bristol, was opened in 1830. A canal from Trenton to New Brunswick unites the waters of the Delaware and Raritan rivers; the Morris and the Delaware and Hudson canals connect the Delaware and Hudson rivers; and the Delaware and Chesapeake canal joins the waters of the Delaware with those of the Chesapeake Bay. The mean tides below Philadelphia are about 6 ft. 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, but apparently never by New Jersey. The ice floods at Easton are normally Io to 20 ft., and in 1841 attained a height of 35 ft. These floods constitute a serious difficulty in the improvement of the lower river. In the "project of 1885" the United States government undertook systematically the formation of a 26-ft. channel 600 ft. wide from Philadelphia to deep water in Delaware Bay; $1,532,688.81 was expended - about $200,000 of that amount for maintenance - before the 1885 project was superseded by a paragraph of the River and Harbor Act of the 3rd of March 1899, which provided for a 30-ft. channel 600 ft. wide from Philadelphia to the deep water of the bay. In 1899 the project of 1885 had been completed except for three shoal stretches, whose total length, measured on the range lines, was 42m. The project of 1899, estimated to cost $5,810,000, was not completed at the close of the fiscal year (June 30) 1907, when $4,93 6 ,55 0.6 3 had been expended by the Federal government on the work; in 1905 the state of Pennsylvania appropriated $75 0, 000 for improvement of the river in Pennsylvania, south of Philadelphia.


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Simple English

[[File:|frame|right|The Delaware River at Trenton, New Jersey]] The Delaware River is a large river estuary in the Northeast United States. It is about 280 miles (450 km) long. It begins in the Catskill Mountains in southeast New York State and ends at the Atlantic Ocean at Delaware Bay. It forms the border or part of the border between the states of Pennsylvania and New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and also between Delaware and New Jersey. The cities of Trenton, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are on the Delaware River.

Another name for this river is the South River. It is named for Thomas West, 3rd Lord De La Warr, a colonial Governor of Virginia.


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