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Upper Hudson River Watershed

A brief overview of this watershed and its water quality is presented below. For more detailed information about the Upper Hudson River Watershed, published NYSDEC reports are also available. General information about watersheds is available at the "We All Live in a Watershed" webpage.

Facts about this Watershed

Map of NYS identifying the Upper Hudson River Watershed
Click image to view a detailed
map of the watershed

The Upper Hudson River Watershed originates in the Adirondack Mountains and flows south to the Hudson River confluence with the Mohawk River at the Troy Dam. The watershed lies primarily in New York State River but also drains a portion of southwestern Vermont and a small part of Massachusetts. The Upper Hudson Watershed makes up about one-third of the larger Hudson River Basin, which also includes the Mohawk River Watershed.

Location: Northeastern New York State

  • Most of Saratoga, Washington and Warren Counties,
  • Much of Essex and Hamilton Counties, and
  • Portions of northern Rensselaer and northeastern Fulton Counties.

Size: 4,620 square miles of land area within New York State

Rivers and Streams: 7,140 miles of freshwater rivers and streams. Major tributary watersheds to the Upper Hudson River include:

  • Sacandaga River (1,740 river/stream miles)
  • Schroon River (822 miles)
  • Fish Creek (551 miles)
  • Hoosic River (533 miles)
  • Batten Kill (334 miles)

Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs: 229 significant freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (76,940 acres), including:

  • Great Sacandaga Lake (26,800 lake/reservoir acres)
  • Indian Lake (4,465 acres)
  • Schroon Lake (4,130 acres)
  • Saratoga Lake (4,030 acres)

How is the Water?

Water Quality in The Upper Hudson River Watershed

In the Upper Hudson Watershed, about 53% of river/stream miles, and 61% of lake, pond and reservoir acres have been assessed (see Assessment Report).

Water quality Pie Chart. Rivers: 46% good, 2% Satisfactory, 5% Poor, 47% unassessed. Lakes: 7% good, 8% satisfactory, 46% poor, 39% unassessed
Good: Fully supports designated activities and uses.
Satisfactory: Fully supports designated activities, but with minor impacts.
Poor (Impaired): does not support designated activities and uses.
Unassessed: Insufficient data available.

Water quality in the Upper Hudson Watershed is very good in many respects. However three issues dominate water quality concerns in the watershed. The first of these is the legacy industrial impacts on the river from past PCB discharges which are in the process of being remediated. The other two primary concerns are acid rain and its impact of aquatic life and atmospheric deposition of mercury which restricts the consumption of fish from waters of the Upper Hudson Watershed.

Major water quality concerns in the watershed are:

  • Impacts from Legacy Industrial PCB Discharges to Upper Hudson currently being remediated
  • Acid Rain which limits the fish community and aquatic life
  • Atmospheric Deposition of Mercury which restricts fish consumption

About Water Quality in New York State

Water chemistry sampling in a NYS stream
Water Chemistry Sampling

Each waterbody in NYS has been assigned a classification, which reflects the designated "best uses" of the waterbody. These best uses typically include the ability to support fish and aquatic wildlife, recreational uses (fishing, boating) and, for some waters, public bathing, drinking water use or shellfishing. Water quality is considered to be good if the waters support their best uses. NYSDEC routinely monitors and assesses water quality throughout the state and publishes detailed reports of these findings. For more information on these monitoring and assessment programs, see Water Quality Monitoring, Assessment and Planning.

What You Can Do!

Each of us lives in a watershed. On our Watershed Stewardship page are some tips on actions that you and your friends can take to help your watershed.

Water Information for Public Officials and Municipal Employees

On this page you will find information on: announcements, meetings, hearings, training schedules, applications, regulations, permits, guidance, and more.

Biological kick sampling in a NYS stream
Biological Kick Sampling

Published Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Reports


More about Upper Hudson River Watershed: