New York has over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. The water bodies are important sources of water for household and industrial use, provide flood control, act as recreational sites, and act as habitat for aquatic animals. Five of New York’s rivers are at least 300 miles long while the rest are less than 200 miles long. Below are some of the longest rivers in New York and their courses.
Longest Rivers In New York
Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River is a large river that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, forming the Great Lakes Basin’s primary drainage outflow. It begins at the outflow of Lake Ontario and flows through several towns and cities in Canada and the US before draining into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In New York, the river passes through Morristown, Ogdensburg, and Massena. It is also part of an international boundary between the US state of New York and Ontario, Canada. From the furthest headwaters to the mouth, Saint Lawrence River runs for approximately 1,900 miles and from the outflow, at Lake Ontario, it runs for approximately 744 miles.
The Susquehanna River is the 16th longest river in the US at 464 miles and drains into the Atlantic Ocean. The river is formed from two major branches; the North Branch and the West Branch. The North Branch is considered as the headwaters and rises in Cooperstown in New York while the West Branch rises in Pennsylvania and merge the North Branch near Northumberland in central Pennsylvania. Susquehanna River drains an area of over 27,000 square miles including almost half of Pennsylvania.
The Allegheny River is a major tributary of the Ohio River. Located in the Eastern US, it joins the Monongahela River to form Ohio River. Allegheny River is about 325 miles long. It runs through the states of Pennsylvania and New York and drains an area of approximately 11,580 square miles. The river rises on Cobb Hill in Central Pennsylvania and flows through Western New York before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico via Mississippi and Ohio River. The river is characterized by several tunnels throughout its course including the Allegheny River Tunnel that went into service in 2012.
Hudson River is the fourth-longest river in the US at 315 miles. The river flows from north to south through New York and originates from the Adirondack Mountains. It flows through the Hudson Valley before draining into the Atlantic Ocean. From the source to its confluence with Calamity Brook, the river is called Feldspar Brook and from the Calamity Brook to Indian Pass Brook it is named Calamity Brook. It is then named Hudson River from that point on.
Management of New York's Rivers
The rivers in New York are managed through programs and activities that aim to protect and restore the quality of water in the state. These programs include action agendas, local actions, commissions and partnerships that vary in scope. Some of the programs focus on the entire or multiple drainage basins while others focus locally on small parts of the larger rivers. Lakes and other water bodies are also managed alongside the rivers and streams.