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Protecting the ecology and heritage of the Mohawk River through research and education.

The Mohawk River Watershed

The Mohawk River is located in central New York State; with its headwaters located within the southwestern portion of the Adirondack Mountains and the eastern edge of the Tug Hill Plateau. From here the river flows south towards Rome. In the area of Rome where Wood Creek begins to flow west, the Mohawk turns due east and continues 140 miles to join the Hudson River in Cohoes.

The Mohawk River is the largest tributary to the Hudson River making up roughly 25% of the entire Hudson River drainage area, with a basin area approximately 3,460 square miles. The basin consists of roughly 6,656 miles of rivers, streams, and canals and 135 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs which are greater than 6.4 acres in size. There are several tributaries to the Mohawk which constitute a substantial number of river miles within the basin. Schoharie Creek is the largest tributary making up 25% of basin miles, the second largest is West Canada Creek (18%), and the third largest is East Canada Creek (8%). The largest ponded bodies of water within the Mohawk River basin are man made reservoirs. Together the Hinckley Reservoir, Delta Reservoir, Schoharie Reservoir, and Peck Lake make up 42% of total lake acres.

The Mohawk River flows through many counties on its way to the Hudson including Albany, Delaware, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Schoharie. Most of the major centers of population within the basin have evolved in close proximity to the river. This is likely a function of the productive floodplain soils and the ability to use the waterway for transportation. The total basin population in 2000 was 583,500 with Albany (95,658), Schenectady (61,821), Utica (60,651), Rome (34,950), and Amsterdam (18,355), being the largest centers of population.

The above information was collected from: NYSDEC. 2003. 2002 Mohawk River Basin Waterbody Inventory and Priority Waterbodies List. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water. 318 pages plus appendices.

Land-use The majority of the Mohawk River drainage basin is forested with agriculture land-use second. Within the Adirondack Mountains and the Schoharie Creek watershed, forest cover dominates, while agriculture dominates in areas adjacent to the main stem of the Mohawk River. There is very little residential, commercial, or industrial land-use in relation to basin size, most of which occurs within centers of high population (e.g., within the Capital District at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers).

Data collected by the Mohawk River Research Center: Analysis of Mohawk River drainage basin land-use. United States Geological Survey, New York Land Cover Data Set (GeoTIFF: UTM Zone 18N : NAD83 : 1997).

Map of the Mohawk River drainage basin showing the various land-use categories found in the basin. Forest cover dominates in the north near the Adirondack Mountains, and in the Schoharie Creek watershed. Residential, commercial, and industrial land-use dominates at the western and eastern edges of the basin in the proximity of the main stem of the river. Agricultural practices dominate in the immediate area surrounding the main stem of the river.

Percent of land-use within the Mohawk River drainage basin. Forest cover dominates within the watershed with agriculture as the second highest use of land area. Residential, commercial, and industrial land-use is minimal within the basin in relation to basin area. However, there are areas of significantly concentrated populations.



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