Delaware borders the estuary of the Delaware River, which is considered to be the state’s principal river. The wide, lower portion of the estuary is called Delaware Bay. In northeastern Delaware, the New Jersey state line follows the east bank of the Delaware River so that the river there lies entirely in Delaware. In northern Delaware, rivers flowing into the Delaware River include the Christina and its tributary, Brandywine Creek, which join to form Wilmington’s harbor. Other rivers flowing into Delaware Bay include the Appoquinimink, Smyrna, and Saint Jones rivers in central Delaware, and the Mispillion River, which enters the bay in southern Delaware. The Nanticoke and its tributary, Broad Creek, are the principal rivers in southwestern Delaware and flow westward across Maryland into Chesapeake Bay. There are many other short rivers and streams in the state.
Except for the Delaware River, most of the major rivers in the state are navigable only by small craft. Oceangoing vessels and barges can navigate Delaware Bay and the Delaware River to Wilmington and other ports farther upriver. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal extends across the northern part of the state to link Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay. The canal forms part of the Intracoastal Waterway.
In colonial times the small waterfalls that occur where Brandywine Creek and other tributaries of the Christina River flow over the Fall Line provided waterpower for Delaware’s flour mills and other factories.
There are no large lakes in Delaware. However, there are numerous small lakes and ponds, which are often used for fishing and other recreational activities.
The state’s ocean coastline is only 45 km (28 mi) long. The shoreline, which includes all bays and inlets, is 613 km (381 mi) long. Extensive saltwater marshes are found along the shores of the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. By contrast, south of Cape Henlopen the seacoast is fringed by sand dunes and long sandy barrier beaches. Indian River Inlet, which allows small vessels to reach the shallow lagoons behind the coast, is the only break in the barrier beaches. Behind the beaches are Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and other lagoons. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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