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Facts About The Delaware River For Kids


The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States. Rising in two branches in New Yorkstate’s Catskill Mountains, the riverflows 419 miles (674 km) into DelawareBay where its waters enter the Atlantic Ocean near Cape May in New Jersey and Cape Henlopen in Delaware. The Delaware River is one of nineteen “Great Waters” recognized by the America’s Great Waters Coalition.

  • Through its course, the Delaware River forms the boundaries between Pennsylvania and New York, the entire boundary between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and most of the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey.
  • The river meets tide-water at Trenton, New Jersey (once called “Falls of the Delaware”) and the river’s navigable and tidal section served as a conduit for shipping and transportation that aided the development of the industrial cities of Trenton, Camden and Philadelphia.
  • After the English expelled the Dutch and took control of the New Netherland colony in 1664, the river was renamed Delaware after Sir Thomas West 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and the Virginia colony’s first royal governor who defended the colony during the First Anglo-Powhatan War.
  • In 1704, these three lower counties were given political autonomy to form a separate provincial assembly, but shared its provincial governor with Pennsylvania until the two colonies separated on 15 June 1776.
  • The name also became used as a collective name for the Lenape, a Native American people (and their language) who inhabited an area of the basins of the Susquehanna River, Delaware River, and lower Hudson River in the northeastern United States at the time of European settlement.
  • The average discharge of the river at Trenton, New Jersey is 13,000 cubic feet per section (371m3/s) The West or Mohawk branch rises in Schoharie County, New York, about 1,886 feet (575 m) above sealevel, near Mount Jefferson, and flows tortuously through the plateau in a deep trough, impounded at one point to create the Cannonsville Reservoir, and then becoming the state boundary of New York and Pennsylvania at the 42nd parallel, until it emerges from the Catskills.
  • Similarly, the East Branch begins from a small pond south of Grand Gorge in the town of Roxbury in Delaware County, flowing southwest toward its impoundment by New York City to create the Pepacton Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the New York City water supply system.
  • At this point, the Walpack Ridge deflects the Delaware into the Minisink Valley, where it follows the southwest strike of the eroded Marcellus Formation beds along the Pennsylvania–New Jersey state line for 25 miles (40 km) to the end of the ridge at Walpack Bend in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
  • The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area came about as a result of the failure of a controversial plan to build a dam on the Delaware River at Tocks Island, just north of the Delaware Water Gap to control water levels for flood control and hydroelectric power generation.
  • Residents in the middle part of the Delaware basin experience flooding, including three major floods in the three years (2004–2006) that have severely damaged their homes and land.