The Hudson River Watershed

The Hudson River watershed has two main branches, the Upper Hudson River and the Mohawk River (Fig. 3.1). The Upper Hudson extends 160 miles from Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adiron-dacks to the Federal Dam at Troy. The upper Hudson is a steep-gradient river with numerous rapids, flowing through the rough terrain of the Adirondacks. Just north of the Federal Dam at Troy, the Mohawk River joins the Hudson from the west. The Mohawk follows a gentler gradient than the upper Hudson, draining the farm country between the Catskills and the Adirondacks. Although it flows through very different terrain, it contributes nearly the same discharge as the upper Hudson and comparable sediment loads.

The upper Hudson is unusual among rivers in the heavily industrialized eastern United States in that it is nearly unimpeded by dams. Although there are several dams along its course, their reservoirs are small, representing relatively little storage compared to the magnitude of the flow. Thus the seasonal flow characteristics of the river are close to their natural state.

A freshet occurs during the spring, when snow-melt from the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains

Figure 3.1. The Hudson River watershed. The length of the river, from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Battery, is 725 km, and the area of its drainage basin is 34,700 km2 (Howells, 1972).

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