Calaveras River

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Coordinates: 37°58′01″N 121°22′04″W / 37.96694°N 121.36778°W / 37.96694; -121.36778
Calaveras River
River
USACE New Hogan Lake and Dam.jpg
New Hogan Lake, the main reservoir on the Calaveras River
Country United States
State California
Source Confluence of North and South Forks
 - location West of San Andreas
 - elevation 705 ft (215 m)
 - coordinates 38°11′50″N 120°43′12″W / 38.19722°N 120.72000°W / 38.19722; -120.72000 [1]
Mouth San Joaquin River
 - location Near Stockton
 - coordinates 37°58′01″N 121°22′04″W / 37.96694°N 121.36778°W / 37.96694; -121.36778 [1]
Length 51.9 mi (84 km)
Basin 470 sq mi (1,217 km2)
Discharge for Jenny Lind, CA
 - average 225 cu ft/s (6 m3/s)
 - max 50,000 cu ft/s (1,416 m3/s)
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)

The Calaveras River is a river in the California Central Valley. It flows roughly southwest for 51.9 miles (83.5 km) from the confluence of its north and south forks in Calaveras County to its confluence with the San Joaquin River just west of the city of Stockton.[2]

The Spanish word calaveras means "skulls." The river was said to have been named by Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga when he found many skulls of Native Americans along its banks. He believed they had either died of famine or been killed in tribal conflicts over hunting and fishing grounds. In fact, the human remains were of the native Miwuk people killed by Spanish soldiers after they banded together to rise against Spanish missionaries. The Stanislaus River is named for Estanislau, a coastal Miwuk who escaped from Mission San Jose in the late 1830s. He is reported to have raised a small group of men with crude weapons, hiding in the foothills when the Spanish attacked. The Miwuk were quickly decimated by Spanish gunfire. Moraga must not have known this part of history.

New Hogan Lake is the only lake on the river. It is formed by New Hogan Dam, which was completed in 1963. The dam was built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, primarily for flood control. The dam also provides drinking water, water for irrigation, hydroelectricity and recreation, including fishing, camping, swimming and water skiing.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Calaveras River
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 11, 2011