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Mohawk River Watershed

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Mohawk River Watershed

Located in central New York State, the Mohawk River is the largest tributary to the Hudson River. The approximately 3,460-square-mile Mohawk River Basin makes up roughly 25% of the entire Hudson River drainage area. The Mohawk River headwaters are located between the southwestern portion of the Adirondack Mountains and the eastern edge of the Tug Hill Plateau. From here the river flows south towards Rome where it turns due east and carves a 140 mile path for the Erie Barge Canal before joining the Hudson River in Cohoes. The Mohawk River Basin includes several major tributaries and reservoirs, including Schoharie Creek, West Canada Creek, East Canada Creek, Hinckley Reservoir, Delta Reservoir and Schoharie Reservoir.

The major land-use types in the Mohawk River Basin are forest and agriculture. Within the Adirondack Mountain portion of the Basin and the Schoharie Creek watershed, forest cover dominates. Agriculture tends to be more prevalent in areas adjacent to the main stem of the Mohawk River in the fertile floodplain. Residential, commercial, and industrial land-use in the basin is largely limited to population centers along the main stem of the Mohawk River and Barge Canal.

The Mohawk River Basin Program

In response to recommendations contained in the 2009 Our Waters, Our Communities, Our Future report by the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Council, DEC's Mohawk River Basin program was formed, tasked with implementation of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. Designed to mirror and compliment the successful Hudson River Estuary Program, the Mohawk River Basin Program fostered partnerships regionwide to manage and protect the natural resources of the river and its watershed for a sustainable future. The Mohawk River Basin Program is funded annually through the Environmental Protection Fund. These funds are provided to facilitate implementation of the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. The Progress Report highlights how these and other funding sources have been used.

Through the establishment of the Mohawk River Basin Program, DEC initiated a focused effort to conserve, preserve and restore the environmental quality of the Mohawk River and its watershed, while helping to manage the resources of the region for a sustainable future. The Mohawk River Basin program acts as a coordinator of basin-wide activities to achieve these goals. The success of this program requires the involvement of stakeholders and the creation of partnerships with established programs and organizations throughout the watershed.

The Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda

The newly released Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda 2021-2026 is a five-year plan for implementing the mission of conserving, preserving, and restoring the Mohawk River and its watershed. Funded through the State's Environmental Protection Fund and administered through DEC's Mohawk River Basin Program along with collaborating stakeholders and partners, the Action Agenda promotes collaborative decision-making based on an understanding of the entire ecosystem, recognizing that the complex issues within the region cannot be fully resolved by managing certain sectors, species or pollutants on an individual basis.

The updated Action Agenda builds on past projects and partnerships and charts a course to implementation of the following goals and objectives:

  • Water Quality - Improve water quality to reduce risks to human health, safeguard water supplies, provide safe recreational opportunities and protect aquatic habitat.
    Progress Report Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda
    Progress Report: Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda
  • Fisheries and Habitats - Enhance aquatic and riparian habitats, increase populations of desirable fishes, mitigate the spread of invasive species and support recreational angling opportunities.
  • Flooding and Resilience - Support community planning and the sustainable use of working landscapes to enhance the resilience of Mohawk River communities and their ability to recover from extreme weather and disturbances.
  • Recreation and Stewardship - Improve and increase recreation and stewardship of the Mohawk River watershed by creating and fostering partnerships and stakeholder engagement through education, outreach, and collaboration.

2015 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda Progress Report

The Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda - Progress Report (PDF) highlights some of the projects and work accomplished since publication of the first Action Agenda, work that was accomplished through coordinated activities watershed-wide by numerous partner and stakeholder organizations focused on fish, wildlife and habitat conservation, water quality protection, and flood risk reduction. More importantly, this progress report set the course for renewal and updating of the newly released Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda 2021-2026 (PDF), providing guidance for the next five years.

Real-time River Ice Conditions and Web Cam (Seasonal)

Visit the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website dedicated to monitoring ice jam related conditions in the Mohawk River (leaves DEC website).


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