Black River (New York)

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The Black River's Great Falls, Watertown, New York.
A map of the Black River watershed

The Black River is a 125-mile-long (201 km)[1] Blackwater river that empties into the eastern end of Lake Ontario on the shore of Jefferson County, New York in the United States of America. The origin of the name is not clear, but it may stem from the natural tannic acid that darkens the water in places.

The river's source is in various locations, including Little Black Creek and North Lake, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York. It is joined by the Moose River just above the falls at Lyons Falls, New York. The falls at Lyons Falls was the site of the former Georgia-Pacific paper mill which now sits abandoned and falling into disrepair.

The river ends at Lake Ontario in the village of Dexter, west of the City of Watertown, where it empties into the Black River Bay and Marsh, which are parts of the Golden Crescent. For the last few miles it forms the boundary between the Towns of Brownville and Hounsfield.

Sporting activities[edit]

The river is an excellent location for fishing. Abundant trout, salmon, bass, and pike are present in the stream, and salmon is the most favored.

Whitewater rafting and kayaking are popular on some stretches of the river, notably the Black River Canyon, which begins in Watertown and ends in Brownville. The Black River Canyon is one of few whitewater streams which have reliable flows throughout the summer. The "Canyon" itself is not actually present until you reach Brownville and ends in the Dexter Reservoir.

Environmental issues[edit]

About August 10, 2005, the Black was contaminated by a spill from a manure lagoon on a dairy farm (a concentrated animal feeding operation) near Lowville, New York when a retaining wall gave way, allowing the contents of a waste holding pond to spill. About 8 million US gallons (30,000 m3) of pollution flowed into the river. An estimated 250,000 fish were killed.

As of August 3, 2006 a settlement has been reached and Marks' Dairy Farm, originator of the spill, has been fined.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The National Map". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved Feb 14, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°59′52″N 75°49′0″W / 43.99778°N 75.81667°W / 43.99778; -75.81667