The Delaware River, United States

The metropolis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States along the banks of the Delaware River.

5. Description

Running through a distance of 484 kilometers, the Delaware River is an important river on the Atlantic slope of USA. It passes through five states in the U.S., namely New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. The main branch arises in the west in Schoharie County in New York passing through the plateau, and finally emerges from behind the Catskill Mountains. The eastern flank arises from Grand Gorge near Roxbury County in Delaware. From here, the two wings meet at Hancock and flow southwards to end into the Delaware Bay. The river forms boundaries between Pennsylvania and New York and between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

4. Historical Role

The Delaware River got its name after the third Baron De La Warr, Thomas West, who was Virginia’s first Royal Governor. He became famous for his campaign to protect the Virginia County from newer settlements that had attacked the county’s native dwellers. This Englishman’s contribution had supposedly given the river the name Delaware, after De La Warr. The river and the bay area already got the name by 1641. The river established an even greater place of prominence in history when Continental General and U.S. President-to-be George Washington crossed it on the 25th and 26th of December in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War to give a surprise attack near Trenton on the morning of the 26th of December to the Hessian mercenary army in service to the British.

3. Modern Significance

The Delaware River passes through the industrial regions and one of the most modern cityscapes. However, the river is yet one of the last of the major undammed ones to be found across the country. The river has its own store of history. It had groups of people settling down near its banks and nurtured bio diversity like never before. New Sweden existed on its basin back in the past and even the Dutch and English forces had their say. Today, the Central Delaware Valley near southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey witnesses a booming of its wine industry. The river’s 102.5 mile-long main channel is prosperous thanks to the commerce being conducted here.

2. Habitat and Biodiversity

The entire stretch of the Delaware River is ideal for picnickers and campers. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protect the river and its tributaries. Several organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and others have been tasked to maintain the integrity of the native wildlife and their habitats. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area came when there was a supposed plan to have a dam. However, understanding the danger it could cause to the environment, it was suspended. The river welcomed migratory fish like the American Shad and the American eel, and Shortnose Sturgeon. Its basin is providing habitat to black bears, otters, Cerulean Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, and many others.

1. Environmental Threats and Conservation Efforts

There is currently being experienced a rise in hydro-fracking activities for the purpose of extracting natural gas in the Delaware River Valley, especially in Western Pennsylvania. This poses threat to the Delaware River and its watershed. Since there are many companies laying down pipelines underground for the purpose and using massive quantities of fresh river water for such work, the locals should take immediate action in alerting the government, and stop the companies from damaging the river, its watershed, it communities, and even the environment around it.


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