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Delaware River

Long before there was a Riverton, there was the river. Arising in the Catskill Mountains in New York, the sparkling waters of the two branches of the Delaware River hurry their separate ways, then join, slow, broaden and flow as one to Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The ocean’s rising and falling tides blend saltwater with the fresh water of the river to create an estuary. The web of life in and around the water is as varied as the water itself – fresh or salty, tidal or no tidal, deep or shallow. As the river changes, it creates different habitats that support different forms of life. The swift water of the Delaware is alive with small-mouth bass, trout, and shad, while in the slower, non-tidal stretches, perch, sunfish, and white catfish can be found. The tidal areas of the lower Delaware are home to white perch, large mouth bass, and striped bass. Although shad, herring, and sturgeon live along the Atlantic coast, they travel far up the Delaware to spawn.

Consider the horseshoe crab. Older than the dinosaurs, these strange creatures live along the Delaware estuary and the ocean floor. Each spring over a million horseshoe crabs move up to the beaches to lay their eggs and so provide food for countless birds migrating to Canada. The Delaware estuary is the world’s largest breeding site for horseshoe crabs.

Pre-1851 Continued

Updated 2/11/05

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