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Mohawk River Watershed

A brief overview of this watershed and its water quality is presented below. For more detailed information about the Mohawk River Watershed, published NYSDEC reports are also available.

Facts about this Watershed

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

The Mohawk River Watershed lies entirely within the borders of New York State. The Mohawk River originates in the valley between the western Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau and flows 140 miles to the east where it joins the Hudson River. The Mohawk Watershed comprises about one-quarter of the larger Hudson River Basin. Sections of the Mohawk River also serve as the New York State Barge (Erie) Canal.

Location: Central New York State

  • All of Montgomery County,
  • Most of Schoharie County,
  • Much of Schenectady, Greene, Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida Counties, and
  • Smaller parts of Albany, Saratoga, Delaware, Otsego, Hamilton, Madison and Lewis Counties.

Size: 3,460 square miles of land area, all within New York State.

Rivers and Streams: 4,086 miles of freshwater rivers and streams. Major tributary watersheds to the 140 miles of the Mohawk River include:

  • Schoharie Creek (1,650 river miles)
  • West Canada Creek (1,165 miles)
  • East Canada Creek (515 miles)

Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs: 135 significant freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (18,315 acres), including:

  • Hinkley Reservoir (2,684 acres)
  • Delta Reservoir (2.376 acres)
  • Peck Lake (1,426 acres)
  • Schoharie Reservoir (1,132 acres)

How is the Water?

Water Quality in The Mohawk River Watershed

In the Mohawk Watershed, about 65% of river/stream miles, and 64% of lake, pond and reservoir acres have been assessed (see Assessment Report).

Water quality Pie Chart. Rivers: 31% good, 23% Satisfactory, 11% Poor, 35% unassessed. Lakes: 9% good, 25% satisfactory, 31% poor, 36% unassessed
Good water quality: 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 issues in the Mohawk River Watershed are quite diverse. The more significant water quality impacts are associated with urban and industrial inputs of the population centers along the Mohawk River/NYS Barge Canal corridor. Agricultural and other nonpoint sources in the more rural areas contribute nutrients and other pollutants. Atmospheric deposition (acid rain) is an issue in the southern Adirondacks on the northern edge of the watershed. One of the New York City water supply reservoirs - Schoharie Reservoir - also lies within the watershed.

Major water quality concerns in the watershed are:

  • Municipal Wastewater and Combined Sewer Overflow Impacts in Utica and other urban areas
  • Urban Runoff and Industrial Impacts in population centers
  • Agricultural and Other Nonpoint Sources of nutrients and various other pollutants
  • Acid Rain which limits the fish community and aquatic life
  • On-site Septic and Rural Community Wastewater Discharges in unsewered areas
  • Protection of New York City Water Supply Reservoir (Schoharie Reservoir)

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.

Biological kick sampling in a NYS stream
Biological Kick Sampling

Published Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Reports

Watershed Management Plans

More about Mohawk River Watershed: