The creek from Hollingshead Covered Bridge No. 40 in Catawissa Township.
|Origin||Southwestern Luzerne County, Pennsylvania|
|Etymology||Corruption of the Algonquin word Gattawisi, meaning "Growing fat"|
|Length||67.3 km (41.8 mi)|
|Left tributaries||Dark Run, Little Catawissa Creek, Crooked Run|
|Right tributaries||Tomhicken Creek, Scotch Run|
Catawissa Creek is a 41.8-mile-long (67.3 km) tributary of the Susquehanna River in east-central Pennsylvania in the United States. Its watershed has an area of 153 square miles. 78.4% of the land in Catawissa Creek's watershed is forested, 17.4% is agricultural, and 1% is developed.
The waters of Catawissa Creek are highly acidic, with a pH of 4.5, due to runoff from an abandoned mine in the creek's watershed. Catawissa Creek is smaller than the nearby Fishing Creek due to a lack of major tributaries.
93% of the surface rock in the Catawissa Creek watershed is sedimentary, while the remaining 7% is sandstone. South of Mainville, the Catawissa Creek river valley is made of red shale. There is also conglomerate, greenish-gray sandstone, olive-colored shale, and anthracite coal near Catawissa Creek.
A type of soil known as the Leck Kill soil occurs along Catawissa Creek. Usually, cultivated Leck Kill soils are topped with an 8-inch thick layer of dark brown silt loam, with a subsoil of reddish-brown silt loam that extends to a depth of 32 inches. Below the subsoil is a 6-inch-thick layer of clay loam. The bedrock below this type of soil is red shale.
A type of soil known as the Albrights series also occurs along Catawissa Creek. This type of soil is topped by a 7-inch thick layer of reddish-brown gravelly silt loam. Below this layer, there is a subsoil of yellowish-red silty clay loam. Below the subsoil is a layer of mixed gravel and silty clay loam. Bedrock occurs several feet underground.
 Modern History
The first mill in Columbia County was built on Catawissa Creek in 1774. Two other mills were built on the Creek in 1789 and 1799. In the late 19th century a dam was built on Catawissa Creek in Beaver Township. In 1826, a forge was built on Catawissa Creek for making bar iron. The Catawissa Railroad, which was built in the 1830s, paralleled Catawissa Creek for part of its course. Another railroad that historically paralleled Catawissa Creek was the Danville, Hazleton, and Wilkes-Barre Railroad, which was built in 1870. Historically, there was a paper mill existed on Catawissa Creek near Mainville.
From the middle of the 19th century until the early part of the 1970s, coal was mined in the eastern portion of the Catawissa Creek watershed. Historically, the Catawissa Water Company used water from Catawissa Creek.
Catawissa Creek rises in the coal fields of southern Luzerne County near Audenried, just southwest of the city of Hazleton. It runs west along the south side of a ridge, and then drops steeply and turns south into a deep valley. It meanders sharply and turns west again between Green Mountain and Locust Mountain. It turns north and squeezes through a narrow gorge, passing the west end of Green Mountain. Meeting Tomhicken Creek, it turns west again, cutting sharp meanders along the southern side of Buck Mountain.
The abandoned Catawissa Branch of the Reading Railroad begins to follow it along the side of Catawissa Mountain, which gradually squeezes it against Buck Mountain until creek and rail grade push north through another steep gorge just south of Shumans, where Beaver Run enters the stream. The creek eases around the west end of McCauley Mountain and meanders west again. Just south of Nescopeck Mountain, Scotch Run enters the stream, followed by the abandoned Scotch Valley Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The stream, the rail grades, and a local road push north through a deep gap between Catawissa and Nescopeck mountains to Mainville. The creek then turns west-southwest and joins the Susquehanna River at Catawissa in Columbia County.
Some of Catawissa Creek's tributaries are known to contain trout, but the creek itself does not contain any fish due to pollution from acidic mine drainage. In 1966, some woodcocks were observed to live along Catawissa Creek.
Rhododendrons and hemlocks typically grow close to Catawissa Creek, while hardwood trees grow higher up in Catawissa Creek's river valley. Historically there were a large number of plants resembling fucoids along Catawissa Creek near the border of Main and Catawissa Townships.
- Scotch Run
- Fisher Run
- Beaver Run
- Klingermans Run
- Cranberry Run
- Crooked Run
- Tomhicken Creek
- Little Catawissa Creek
- Dark Run
- Rattling Run
- Davis Run
- Messers Run
 See also
- List of rivers of Pennsylvania
- Fishing Creek (North Branch Susquehanna River)
- Roaring Creek (Pennsylvania)
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed August 8, 2011
- Report of Progress, 1889, retrieved February 13, 2013
- Battle, J.H. (1887), http://books.google.com/books?id=CMwwAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA294&dq=%22Catawissa+Creek%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mKEbUZ71EOLXyAGJ8ICADw&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22Catawissa%20Creek%22&f=false, retrieved February 2013 Missing or empty
- "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes Bill Pennesi and Susan M. Zacher (undated). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Hollingshead Covered Bridge No. 40" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-19.
- White, Israel Charles (1887), The geology of the Susquehanna River region in the six counties, retrieved February 14, 2013
- Gertler, Edward. Keystone Canoeing. Seneca Press, 2004. ISBN 0-9749692-0-6