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Rivers of New York state


Ellis Island (NY)
Ellis Island (NY)

The largest rivers in the state of New York are the St. Lawrence, Hudson, Mohawk, Genesee, Susquehanna, Allegheny, and Delaware rivers. The Hudson River, New York’s largest river, rises in Lake Tear of the Clouds, in the southeastern Adirondacks. North of Troy the Hudson is a relatively narrow river, but from Troy south to New York City it widens. The Hudson River, with its major tributary, the Mohawk River, has played a significant role in the development of the state and the nation. The rivers provided an important lowland route through the Appalachians.

The western Catskill Mountains are drained by the Delaware River, which cuts through the southern portion of the mountains and separates them from the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

The Susquehanna River rises in Otsego Lake northeast of Binghamton and enters the Atlantic through the Chesapeake Bay. The Genesee River flows almost due north, rising near the southern boundary of New York State and emptying into Lake Ontario. There are falls along its course, and those near Rochester have been harnessed to provide power for the city.

The Allegheny River, flowing southward to Pittsburgh, makes only a small loop into western New York from Pennsylvania. The shortest but perhaps one of the most famous rivers in the state of New York is the Niagara River. Measuring 56 km (35 mi), it crosses an escarpment, forming the Niagara Falls. These falls constitute not only a valuable scenic and tourist attraction but are a great source of hydroelectric power. The St. Lawrence River, which rises in Lake Ontario, forms New York State’s boundary with eastern Ontario. In this stretch lie the Thousand Islands and, farther east, the International Rapids section. The St. Lawrence is a vital transportation artery and a major source of hydroelectric power.

Lakes of New York


New York’s natural lakes number in the thousands. Two of the Great Lakes—Lake Erie and Lake Ontario—lie along the state’s western border. The largest lake lying wholly within the state is Oneida Lake, covering 210 sq km (80 sq mi) and located northeast of Syracuse.

Lake Champlain, a much larger and deeper lake, forms part of the boundary between New York and Vermont. Just south of Lake Champlain is Lake George. Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, and many others on the northern rim of the Adirondacks are popular resorts. Along the northern edge of the Appalachian Plateaus are the well-known Finger Lakes, the largest of which are Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake. Also of glacial origin in the western portion of the state is Chautauqua Lake, well known as the birthplace of the Chautauqua Institution, where summer lectures and concerts are held. Among the largest reservoirs in New York are Great Sacandaga Lake and Allegheny, Ashokan, Pepacton, and Cannonsville reservoirs.

Nineteen reservoirs, principally in the Catskill Mountains, provide pure, untreated water to New York City and its 8 million people. As New York City’s only source of fresh water, protection of these reservoirs from agricultural, industrial, and residential pollution is extremely important to the city’s government. Because of land use controls imposed by the city, the reservoir system is also an important political issue for residents of the Catskill region. Although most of the upstate reservoirs are used for urban water supplies, some serve flood control duties. "New York" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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