The Allegheny Front is the principal drainage divide in West Virginia. It separates rivers draining into the Ohio River and its tributaries from those draining across the Eastern Seaboard to Chesapeake Bay. East of the front the rivers form a trellislike pattern, flowing for many miles along narrow valleys before making nearly right-angled bends across ridges into adjoining valley lowlands. On the western side of the front the rivers form a dendritic system, which resembles the branches and trunk of a tree.
The most important river is the Ohio, which is navigable for its entire length along the state’s western border. Its principal West Virginia tributaries are the Monongahela, Little Kanawha, Kanawha, Guyandotte, and Big Sandy rivers.
The Monongahela River drains much of north central West Virginia, and the Kanawha and Big Sandy rivers collect most of the waters in the southern half of the state. The Potomac is the most important river east of the Allegheny Front. Its principal West Virginia tributaries are the North Branch and the South Branch. The Shenandoah River drains the northeastern part of the state.
There are no large natural lakes in West Virginia. The largest reservoir is Summersville Lake, on the Gauley River. Other reservoirs, most of them built to control floods, include Bluestone Lake, on the New River; Sutton Lake, on the Elk River; Tygart Lake, on the Tygart Valley River; and East Lynn Lake, on Twelvepole Creek. "West Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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