Connecticut River

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Coordinates: 41°16′20″N 72°20′03″W / 41.27222°N 72.33417°W / 41.27222; -72.33417
Connecticut River
IMG 3758 view north from French King Bridge.jpg
Looking north from the French King Bridge at the Erving-Gill town line in western Massachusetts
Country United States
States Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire
Tributaries
 - left Chicopee River
 - right White River
Cities Springfield, MA, Hartford, CT
Source Fourth Connecticut Lake
 - elevation 2,660 ft (811 m)
 - coordinates 45°14′53″N 71°12′51″W / 45.24806°N 71.21417°W / 45.24806; -71.21417
Mouth Long Island Sound
 - location Old Saybrook and Old Lyme, Connecticut[1]
 - coordinates 41°16′20″N 72°20′03″W / 41.27222°N 72.33417°W / 41.27222; -72.33417
Length 410 mi (660 km)
Basin 11,250 sq mi (29,137 km2)
Discharge for Thompsonville, CT
 - average 17,070 cu ft/s (483 m3/s)
 - max 282,000 cu ft/s (7,985 m3/s)
 - min 968 cu ft/s (27 m3/s)
Discharge elsewhere (average)
 - West Lebanon, NH 6,600 cu ft/s (187 m3/s)
River map, with major tributaries and selected dams.

The Connecticut River is the longest river in the New England region of the United States. Flowing roughly north-south for 410 miles (660 km) through four U.S. states, the Connecticut rises at the U.S. border with Quebec, Canada, and discharges at Long Island Sound. Its watershed encompasses five U.S. states and one Canadian province – 11,260 square miles (29,200 km2) – via 148 tributaries, 38 of which are major rivers.[2] Discharging at 19,600 cubic feet (560 m3) per second, the Connecticut produces 70% of Long Island Sound's freshwater.[2][3] The Connecticut River Valley is home to some of the northeastern United States' most productive farmland, as well as a metropolitan region of approximately 2 million people surrounding the river's largest city, Springfield, Massachusetts, and the state of Connecticut's capital, Hartford.[4]

Name[edit]

The word "Connecticut" is a French corruption of the Mohegan word quinetucket, which means "beside the long, tidal river".[5] The word "Connecticut" came into existence during the early 1600s, describing the river, which was also called simply "The Great River".[6]

Geography[edit]

By far the largest river ecosystem in New England, the Connecticut River watershed spans five of the six New England states – New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, as well as small portions of Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec.[2][7][8]

The Upper Connecticut River: New Hampshire and Vermont[edit]

The Connecticut River rises from the Fourth Connecticut Lake, a small pond that sits 300 yards (270 m) south of the U.S. national border with Chartierville, Quebec, Canada, in the town of Pittsburg, New Hampshire, United States. Beginning at an elevation of 2,670 feet (810 m) above sea level, the Connecticut River flows through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis – for 14-mile (23 km), all within the town of Pittsburg – and then widens as it delineates 255-mile (410 km) of the border between New Hampshire and Vermont.[7] The Connecticut drops more than 2,480 feet (760 m) in elevation as it winds south to the border of Massachusetts, at which point it sits 190 feet (58 m) above sea level.[8][9]

The Middle Connecticut River: Massachusetts through Central Connecticut[edit]

The Connecticut River Valley – the core of which was occupied by glacial Lake Hitchcock following the most recent ice age – owes its lush greenery and fertile agricultural conditions (rich, almost rockless soil) to the ancient lake's sedimentary deposits.[10] In this Middle Connecticut region, the river reaches its maximum depth – 130 feet (40 m) – at Gill, Massachusetts around the French King Bridge, and its maximum width – 2,100 feet (640 m) – at Longmeadow, directly across from the Six Flags New England amusement park.[11][12] The Connecticut's largest falls – South Hadley Falls – features a vertical drop of 58 feet (18 m).[2] Lush green forests and agricultural hamlets dot this middle portion of the Connecticut River; however, the region is best known for its numerous college towns, such as Northampton, South Hadley, and Amherst, as well as the Connecticut's most populous city, Springfield. The city sits atop bluffs beside the Connecticut's confluence with two major tributaries, the Chicopee River (to the east) and Westfield River (to the west).[13]

The Connecticut River is influenced by the tides as far north as Enfield Rapids in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, approximately 58 miles (93 km) north of the river's mouth. 3 miles (5 km) west of the river at this point is Bradley International Airport, which sits an equidistant 12 miles (19 km) from both Hartford and Springfield. Two million residents live in the densely populated Hartford-Springfield region, which stretches (approximately) between the college towns of Amherst, Massachusetts, and Middletown, Connecticut. Hartford, the Connecticut River's second largest city and only state capital, is located near the southern end of the fertile Connecticut River Valley, on an ancient floodplain that stretches to Middletown.

The Lower Connecticut River: Southern Connecticut through Long Island Sound[edit]

15 miles (24 km) south of Hartford, at Middletown, the Lower Connecticut River section begins with a narrowing of the river, and then a sharp turn southeast. Throughout southern Connecticut, the Connecticut passes through a thinly populated, hilly, wooded region before again widening and discharging into Long Island Sound between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. Due to the presence of large, shifting sandbars at its mouth, the Connecticut is the only principal American river without a port at its mouth.[14]

Mouth and tidelands[edit]

The Connecticut River carries a heavy amount of silt, especially during the spring snow melt, from as far north as Quebec. This heavy silt concentration manifests in a large sandbar near the Connecticut's mouth, which has, historically, provided a formidable obstacle to navigation. Due to the difficulty it presents to ships, the Connecticut is one of the few major rivers in the United States without a major city at its mouth. The Connecticut's major cities – Hartford and Springfield – lie 45 and 69 miles (70 and 110 km) upriver, respectively.

The Nature Conservancy named the Connecticut River's tidelands one of the Western Hemisphere's "40 Last Great Places", while the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands listed its estuary and tidal wetlands complex as one of 1,759 wetlands of international importance.[15]

In 1997, the Connecticut River was designated one of only 14 American Heritage Rivers, which recognized its "distinctive natural, economic, agricultural, scenic, historic, cultural and recreational qualities." In May 2012, the Connecticut River was designated America's first National Blueway, in recognition of the restoration and preservation efforts on the river.[4]

Satellite image of the Connecticut River depositing silt into Long Island Sound

Dams[edit]

The Connecticut River's flow is slowed by main stem dams, which create a series of slow-flowing basins from Lake Francis Dam in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, to the Holyoke Dam at South Hadley Falls in Massachusetts.[2] Among the most extensively dammed rivers in the United States, the Connecticut may soon flow at a more natural pace, according to scientists at MIT, who have devised a computer that – "in an effort to balance human and natural needs" – coordinates the holding and releasing of water between the river's 54 largest dams.[16]

Tributaries[edit]

The Connecticut River watershed encompasses 11,260 square miles (29,200 km2), connecting 148 tributaries, including 38 major rivers and numerous lakes and ponds.[4] Major tributaries include (from north to south) the Passumpsic, Ammonoosuc, White, West, Ashuelot, Millers, Deerfield, Chicopee, Westfield, and Farmington rivers. The Swift River, a tributary of the Chicopee, has been dammed and largely replaced by the Quabbin Reservoir which provides water to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority district in eastern Massachusetts, including Boston and its metropolitan area.

Wildlife[edit]

The Connecticut River region is home to many wildlife species, including peregrine falcon, osprey, bear, bobcat, wild turkey, bald eagle, moose, and numerous endangered species, e.g. the shortnose sturgeon, the piping plover, the puritan tiger beetle, dwarf wedgemussel, small whorled pogonia, Jesup's milk-vetch and Northeastern bulrush.[2][2][8][17]

History[edit]

View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow, 1836, by Thomas Cole
The Memorial Bridge across the Connecticut at Springfield, the river's largest city

Prior to European exploration, native tribes living in the Connecticut Valley included the Pequots, Mohegans, Nipmucs, and Pocumtucs. In 1614, Dutch explorer Adriaen Block became the first European explorer to chart the Connecticut River, sailing as far north as Enfield Rapids.[18] The Dutch called the Connecticut River the "Fresh River", and claimed it as the northeastern border of the New Netherland colony. In 1623, they built a fortified trading post called the Fort Huys de Hoop ("Fort House of Hope") on the plain that became modern Hartford.[19]

During the 1630s, English settlers from New England who were displeased, for various reasons, with the Puritan administrations of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies colonized the Connecticut River Valley. The four original settlements along the Connecticut – Windsor, Connecticut, established in 1632; Wethersfield, Connecticut, established in 1633; Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts, both established in 1636 (the latter of which was originally administered by the Connecticut Colony) – quickly eclipsed the Dutch trading post in importance. In 1636, these four English settlements formed the original Connecticut Colony administration; however, during the late 1630s, Springfield became politically independent, and in 1641 joined the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (For decades, Springfield remained the coastal Massachusetts Bay Colony's westernmost settlement.) By 1654, the success of the aforementioned English settlements had rendered the Dutch position on the Connecticut untenable; a treaty relocated the boundary between the Connecticut Colony and New Netherland Colony westward, near present-day Greenwich, Connecticut. The treaty allowed the Dutch to maintain their trading post at Foot Huys de Hoop, which they did until the 1664 British takeover of New Netherland.

Border disputes[edit]

The Connecticut Valley's central location, agricultural fertility, and copious natural resources led to centuries of border disputes. From Springfield's defection from the Connecticut Colony in 1641, which subsequently brought the coastal Massachusetts Bay Colony riverside; to the conflicting royal treaties of 1764, which sparked east-siders (east of the Connecticut River) to unite with west-siders and Ethan Allen against New York and the British; to the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which created a disputed U.S. international border with Canada from the Connecticut's "northernmost headwaters"; to the 1935 U.S. Supreme Court case which settled a contentious boundary dispute between Vermont and New Hampshire – the Connecticut's history is characterized by both political intrigue and technological innovation.[20]

The Connecticut Colony[edit]

From 1632–1636, English Puritans settled four separate village sites along the banks of the Lower Connecticut River, which became the Connecticut Colony. Less than a decade later, however, a dispute between the Colony's two most prosperous villages – Springfield and Hartford – splintered the Connecticut River Valley, creating political boundaries that still divide the area.

The first English colonist to record his visit to the Connecticut River was Edward Winslow, from the Plymouth Colony, in 1632. In 1633, Winslow and Captain William Holmes led a small group of settlers to the site of modern Windsor, Connecticut (then called "Matianuck"), ostensibly to trade.[21] As Holmes' ship passed, Dutch soldiers at Hartford (then called the "Fort House of Hope", and under the command of Jacob Van Curler) trained their guns to fire on it; however, the English continued pushing northward, which Commander Van Curler allowed. Soon after, sixty more members of the Plymouth Colony joined them. Thereafter the Dutch were outnumbered along the Connecticut River.[21]

In 1634, a group of religious pilgrims from Watertown, Massachusetts, who sought to practice their religion more strictly than was customary in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, founded a second settlement, Wethersfield, 13 miles (21 km) south of Windsor.

In 1635, the charismatic Reverend Thomas Hooker led settlers from Cambridge, Massachusetts – where Hooker had feuded with the more conservative Reverend John Cotton – to the site of modern Hartford (then the Dutch "Fort House of Hope"), which Hooker called "Newtowne".[19] Shortly after Hooker's arrival, Newtowne annexed Matianuck (i.e. modern Windsor), based on laws supposedly articulated in Connecticut's original settlement charter, the Warwick Patent of 1631; however, the "patent" had been physically lost and the annexation was most certainly illegal.[22]

After commissioning a 1635 scouting party to determine the Connecticut River Valley's most suitable site for trading and agricultural development, Massachusetts Bay Colony iconoclast William Pynchon founded Springfield (then called "Agawam") on a bluff where the Connecticut River meets two major tributaries: the Chicopee River (to its east) and Westfield River (to its west), due north of the Connecticut River's first unnavigable waterfall, Enfield Falls. Pynchon chose this location strategically, on the premise that traders utilizing any of these three rivers would necessarily have to change ships in Springfield whether going upriver or downriver, thereby granting the settlement a commercial advantage.[23] Additionally, Springfield enjoyed a location on the well-travelled Bay Path between Boston and Albany, and positive relations with the neighboring, peaceful Pocomtuc tribe, as opposed to tense relations with the warlike Pequot tribe, endured by the three southern settlements.[23]

Springfield brings the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the Connecticut River[edit]

During 1640 and 1641, two political controversies took place that altered the political boundaries of the Lower Connecticut River region, preventing it from administration by a single political body.

During the 1630s, the Connecticut Colony administered Springfield, in addition to Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor; however, by 1640, Springfield's advantageous geography enabled it to become the Connecticut Colony's most commercially prosperous settlement. During the spring of 1640, the Connecticut Colony endured a crippling grain shortage, which caused many cattle to die of starvation. The grain shortage became a matter of survival for the Connecticut Colony, but due to its prosperity, not for Springfield.[23]

In response to the shortage, leading citizens of Wethersfield and Hartford gave power to Springfield's founder, Pynchon, to purchase corn for all of the Connecticut Colony's settlements from the Pocumtuc. Colony leaders authorized Pynchon to offer large sums of money – far above market prices – to the natives; however, during negotiations, Pynchon became convinced that the natives refused to sell at even "reasonable" prices, and thus he refused to buy the corn altogether. Explaining his decision, Pynchon opined that it was best not to broadcast the Connecticut Colonists' weaknesses to the natives, whom he believed might capitalize on it; likewise, he aimed to keep market values – and trade with the natives – steady in the future.[23]

Furious with Pynchon's seeming willingness to further imperil the starving settlements, leading citizens of Hartford – with Windsor's and Wethersfield's consent – commissioned the Native American-fighter Captain John Mason to travel to Springfield with "money in one hand and a sword in the other" to make a deal with the Native Americans, and also to rebuke Pynchon.[23] On reaching Springfield, Mason threatened the natives with war if they did not sell their corn at 'reasonable' prices. The natives capitulated, and ultimately sold the Connecticut Colonists' corn; however, Mason's violent approach roused distrust among the (theretofore friendly) Pocumtuc natives. Mason also upbraided Pynchon in public.[23] This incident, which arose partly from differences regarding how to treat Native Americans – Pynchon had achieved mutual benefits via capitalism with the Pocumtucs, whereas Mason had used force during the 1637 Pequot War – nevertheless caused Springfield's settlers to rally around the humiliated Pynchon, and led to the settlement severing ties with the Connecticut Colony.[23]

As this controversy was heating up, the relatively distant, coastal Massachusetts Bay Colony saw an opportunity to gain a foothold along the fertile Connecticut. In 1640, Boston asserted a claim to jurisdiction over lands surrounding the Connecticut River; however, Springfield remained politically independent until tensions with the Connecticut Colony were exacerbated by a final confrontation later that year.[23]

Since its founding, Hartford kept a fort at the mouth of the Connecticut River – at present-day Old Saybrook – for protection against the Pequots, Wampanoags, Mohegans, and the New Netherland Colony. After Springfield broke ties with the Connecticut Colony, the remaining Connecticut settlements demanded that Springfield's ships pay tolls when passing the mouth of the Connecticut River. Springfield's ships refused to pay this tax without representation at Connecticut's fort. Hartford, in turn, refused to grant Springfield representation. In response, the Massachusetts Bay Colony solidified its friendship with Springfield by levying a toll on Connecticut Colony ships entering Boston Harbor. Connecticut, which was then largely dependent on sea trade with Boston, permanently dropped its tax on Springfield. Following this bit of gamesmanship, Springfield allied with Boston, drawing the first state border across the Connecticut.[23]

New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York dispute borders[edit]

The Fort at Number 4, which is now Charlestown, New Hampshire, was the northernmost English settlement on the Connecticut River until the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. Prior to that, Abenaki natives resisted British attempts at colonization; however, following the British victory over the allied French and Indian forces, the British began settling north of modern-day Brattleboro, Vermont.[24] Settlement of the Upper Connecticut region increased quickly, with population assessments of 36,000 by 1790.[24]

In 1764, King George II set the border between New Hampshire and Vermont as the western bank of the Connecticut River. Concurrently, Britain's Royal Board of Trade set exactly the same feature as the border between New Hampshire and New York. This resulted in an eleven-year border dispute between New York, New Hampshire, and what would become Vermont.[25] In 1775, New York left the Connecticut River following the Westminster Massacre, which precipitated the founding of Vermont – originally its own sovereign nation, and in 1791, the fourteenth state in the U.S. union. Boundary disputes between Vermont and New Hampshire lasted for nearly 150 years thereafter, finally settling in 1934, when the U.S. Supreme Court re-affirmed King George II's boundary as the ordinary low-water mark on the Vermont shore. In some places, the state line is now inundated by the impoundments of dams built after this time.[8]

The Treaty of Paris and the 19th century[edit]

The Treaty of Paris (1783) that ended the American Revolutionary War created a new international border between New Hampshire and what was to become the Province of Canada at "northwesternmost headwaters of the Connecticut". Several streams fit this description, and thus a boundary dispute led to the short-lived Indian Stream Republic, which existed from 1832 to 1835.

The broad, fertile Connecticut River Valley attracted agricultural settlers and colonial traders to Hartford, Springfield, and the surrounding region; later, during the 19th century, the high volume and numerous falls of the river led to the rise of industry. During the Industrial Revolution, the cities of Springfield and Hartford in particular became centers of innovation and "intense and concentrated prosperity."[26]

In 1829 the Enfield Falls Canal was opened to circumvent shallows by the Connecticut's first major falls, the Enfield Falls. The locks built for this canal gave their name to the town of Windsor Locks, Connecticut.[27] The Connecticut River Valley – in particular, the cities of Springfield and Hartford – functioned as America's hub of technical innovation into the 20th century, and thus attracted numerous railroad lines. The proliferation of the railroads in Springfield and Hartford greatly decreased the economic importance of the Connecticut River. From the late 1800s until today, it has functioned largely as a center of wildlife and recreation.[28]

Log drives and the 20th century[edit]

Starting about 1865,[29] the river was used for massive logging drives from Third Connecticut Lake to initially water powered sawmills near Enfield Falls. Trees cut adjacent to tributary streams including Perry Stream and Indian Stream in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, Halls Stream on the QuebecNew Hampshire border, Simms Stream, the Mohawk River, and the Nulhegan River basin in Essex County, Vermont, would be flushed into the main river by the release of water impounded behind splash dams. Several log drivers died trying to move logs through Perry Falls in Pittsburg. Teams of men would wait at Canaan, Vermont, to protect the bridges from log jams. Men guided logs through a 400-foot (120 m) drop along the length of Fifteen-Mile Falls[29] (now submerged under Moore and Comerford reservoirs), and through Logan's Rips at Fitzdale, Mulligan's Lower Pitch, and Seven Islands. The White River from Vermont and Ammonoosuc River from New Hampshire brought more logs into the Connecticut. A log boom was built between Wells River, Vermont, and Woodsville, New Hampshire, to hold the logs briefly and release them gradually to avoid jams in the Ox Bow. Men detailed to this work utilized Woodsville's saloons and red-light district.[30] Some of the logs were destined for mills in Wilder and Bellows Falls, Vermont, while others were sluiced over the Bellows Falls dam. North Walpole, New Hampshire, contained twelve to eighteen saloons, patronized by the log drivers.[31] Mount Tom was the landmark the log drivers used to gauge the distance to the final mills near Holyoke, Massachusetts.[32] These spring drives were stopped after 1915, when pleasure boat owners complained about the hazards to navigation.[33] The final drive included 500 workers controlling 65 million feet of logs.[29] A final pulp drive consisted of 100,000 cords of four-foot logs in 1918. This was to take advantage of the wartime demand.[29]

The Flood of 1936[edit]

In March 1936, due to a winter with heavy snowfall, an early spring thaw and torrential rains, the Connecticut River flooded, overflowing its banks, destroying numerous bridges and isolating hundreds of people who had to be rescued by boat.

The dam at Vernon, Vermont, was topped by 19 feet (5.8 m). Sandbagging by the National Guard and local volunteers helped prevent the dam's powerhouse from being overwhelmed, despite blocks of ice breaking through the upstream walls.[34]

In Northampton, Massachusetts, looting during the flood became a problem, causing the mayor of the city to deputize citizen patrols to protect flooded areas. Over 3,000 refugees from the area were housed in Amherst College and the Massachusetts State Agricultural College (now UMass Amherst).

Unprecedented accumulated ice jams compounded the problems created by the flood, diverting water into unusual channels and damming the river, raising water levels even further. When the jam at Hadley, Massachusetts, gave way, the water crest overflowed the dam at Holyoke, overwhelming the sandbagging there. The town of South Hadley Falls was essentially destroyed, and the southern parts of Holyoke were severely damaged, with 500 refugees.

Downtown Hartford, Connecticut during the 1936 flood

In Springfield, Massachusetts, 5 sq mi (13 km2), and 18 miles (29 km) of streets, were flooded, and 20,000 people lost their homes. The city lost power, and nighttime looting caused the police to issue a "shoot on sight" edict; 800 National Guard troops were brought in to help maintain order. Rescue efforts using a flotilla of boats saved people trapped in upper stories of buildings, bringing them to local fraternal lodges, schools, churches and monasteries for lodging, medical care, and food. The American Red Cross and local, state and Federal agencies, including the WPA and the CCC, contributed aid and manpower to the effort. Flooding of roads isolated the city for a time. When the water receded, it left behind silt-caused mud which in places was 3 feet (1 m) thick; the recovery effort in Springfield, at the height of the American Great Depression, took approximately a decade.

Overall, the flood caused 171 deaths and US$500 million (US$8,500,000,000 with inflation[35]) in damages. Across the northeast, over 430,000 people were made homeless or destitute by flooding that year.[36]

The Connecticut River Flood Control Compact between the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont was established in 1953 to help prevent serious flooding.[37]

Diversion for drinking water[edit]

The creation of the Quabbin Reservoir in the 1930s diverted the Swift River, which feeds the Chicopee River, a tributary of the Connecticut. This resulted in an unsuccessful lawsuit by the state of Connecticut against the diversion of its riparian waters.[38]

Demand for drinking water in eastern Massachusetts passed the sustainable supply from the existing system in 1969. Diverting water from the Connecticut River was considered several times,[39] but in 1986 the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority instead undertook a campaign of water conservation. Demand was reduced to sustainable levels by 1989, reaching approximately a 25% margin of safety by 2009.[40]

Pollution and cleanup[edit]

The Water Quality Act of 1965 had a major impact on controlling water pollution in the Connecticut River and its tributaries.

Since then, the river has been restored from Class D to Class B (fishable and swimmable).[17] Many towns along the Lower Connecticut River have enacted a cap on further development along the banks, so that no buildings may be constructed except on existing foundations. Currently, a website provides water quality reports twice a week, indicating whether various portions of the river are safe for swimming, boating and fishing.[41][42]

Recreation[edit]

Boating[edit]

The mouth of the river up to Essex is thought to be one of the busiest stretches of waterway in Connecticut. Some local police departments and the state Environmental Conservation Police patrol the area a few times a week. Some towns keep boats available if needed.[43] In Massachusetts, the most active stretch of the Connecticut River is centered on the Oxbow, 14 miles (23 km) north of Springfield in the college town of Northampton.[44]

Fishing[edit]

Drift boat fishing guide working the river near Colebrook, New Hampshire

The Connecticut River is a habitat to several species of anadromous and catadromous fish, including brook trout, winter flounder, blueback herring, alewife, rainbow trout, large brown trout, shad, hickory shad, smallmouth bass, Atlantic sturgeon, striped bass, carp, catfish, American eel, sea lamprey, and endangered shortnose sturgeon and dwarf wedgemussels.[45] Additionally, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has repopulated the river with another species of migratory fish, the Atlantic salmon, which for more than 200 years had been extinct from the river due to damming.[45] Several fish ladders and fish elevators have been built to allow fish to resume their natural migration upriver each spring.

Much of the beginning of the river's course in the town of Pittsburg is occupied by the Connecticut Lakes, which are home to lake trout and landlocked salmon. Landlocked salmon make their way into the river during spring spawning runs of bait fish and during their fall spawn. The river has fly-fishing-only regulations on 5 miles (8 km) of river. Most of the river from Lake Francis south is open to lure and bait as well. Two tail-water dams provide cold river water for miles downstream, making for bountiful summer fishing on the Connecticut.

The Connecticut River and its tributaries are known to contain 12 species of freshwater mussels.[46] Of those, 11 occur in the mainstem of the Connecticut, all but the brook floater, which is found only in small streams and rivers. Species diversity is higher in the southern part of the watershed (Connecticut and Massachusetts) than in the northern part (Vermont and New Hampshire), largely due to differences in stream gradient and substrate. Eight of the 12 species in the watershed are listed as endangered, threatened, or of Special Concern in one or more of the states in the watershed.[46]

List of tributaries[edit]

The river near its mouth
Founders Bridge with a view of the Bulkeley Bridge upstream
Mist upstream of the Bissell Bridge

Listed from south to north by location of mouth:

Crossings[edit]

The Connecticut River is a barrier to travel between western and eastern New England. Several major transportation corridors cross the river including Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, Interstate 95 (Connecticut Turnpike), Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike), Interstate 89, Interstate 93, and Interstate 84. In addition, Interstate 91, whose route largely follows the river north-south, crosses it twice – once in Connecticut and once in Massachusetts.

Sites of interest[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Connecticut River
  2. ^ a b c d e f g CRWC – Watershed Facts. Ctriver.org. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  3. ^ Event: Source To Sea Cleanup To Benefit 410 Miles of Connecticut River — Courant.com – CT Environmental Headlines. Environmentalheadlines.com (2009-09-28). Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  4. ^ a b c About the River | Connecticut River. Connecticutriver.us. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  5. ^ Connecticut State Name Origin. Statesymbolsusa.org. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  6. ^ THEATER; The Industrialization of the Great River, New England's Longest – New York Times. Nytimes.com (1998-08-30). Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  7. ^ a b Connecticut River – Designated Rivers River Nominations – Rivers Management and Protection Program – NH Department of Environmental Services. Des.nh.gov. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  8. ^ a b c d Fast Facts about the Connecticut River. Crjc.org (2008-10-09). Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  9. ^ http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/newsstatenewengland/960331-227/state-officials-to-perambulate-the-border-between.html
  10. ^ Earth View LLC. Earthview.pair.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  11. ^ Fast Facts about the Connecticut River. Crjc.org (2008-10-09). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  12. ^ Klekowski, Ed. "Abyssal Depths". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  13. ^ America Through the Centuries: Massachusetts
  14. ^ http://www.oldsaybrookct.org/Pages/OldSaybrookCT_CC/NHT_PDFs/StopNo2.pdf
  15. ^ Connecticut River Tidelands. Yankeemagazine.com. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  16. ^ Scopeweb | Connecticut River May Soon Flow Freely Again. Scopeweb.mit.edu (2013-10-10). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  17. ^ a b Ribbon of Blue, The Connecticut River Then and Now – Appalachian Mountain Club. Outdoors.org (2012-04-03). Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  18. ^ The Connecticut River: A Photographic Journey into the Heart of New England – Al Braden – Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  19. ^ a b House of Hope | A Tour of New Netherland. Newnetherlandinstitute.org. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  20. ^ No border dispute here: Vt., NH reaffirm boundary. Bigstory.ap.org (2012-05-14). Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  21. ^ a b Windsor | A Tour of New Netherland. Newnetherlandinstitute.org. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  22. ^ Warwick Overview
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i Barrows, Charles Henry (1911). The history of Springfield in Massachusetts for the young: being also in some part the history of other towns and cities in the county of Hampden. The Connecticut Valley Historical Society. pp. 46–48. US 13459.5.7. 
  24. ^ a b Why did settlers come to New Hampshire and Vermont, and where did they come from?. Flowofhistory.org. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  25. ^ The Connecticut River Valley: A Rebellion within the Revolution. Flowofhistory.org. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  26. ^ Massachusetts Info on-line
  27. ^ Connecticut Heritage (Dorothy A. DeBisschop). "The Canal at Windsor Locks." Retrieved January 20, 2006.
  28. ^ Culture: Connecticut River Byway. Ctrivertravel.net. Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  29. ^ a b c d Pike, Helen (April 2013). "Spring Log Drives Through Fifteen-Mile Falls". Vermont's Northland Journal 12 (1): 20–21. 
  30. ^ Holbrook p.68
  31. ^ Holbrook p.70
  32. ^ Holbrook, Stewart H. (1961). Yankee Loggers. International Paper Company. pp. 63–70. 
  33. ^ Wheeler, Scott (September 2002). The History of Logging in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. The Kingdom Historical. 
  34. ^ Klekowski, Ed; ilda, Elizabeth; Klekowski, Libby (2003). The Great Flood of 1936: The Connecticut River Story (DVD). Springfield, Massachusetts: WGBY. Event occurs at 02:10. OCLC 58055715. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  35. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  36. ^ Klelowski, Ed. The Great Flood of 1936: The Connecticut River Valley Story WGBY (2003)
  37. ^ Connecticut River Valley Flood Control Commission. Greenfield, MA. "Connecticut River Flood Control Compact." Effective September 8, 1953.
  38. ^ U.S. Supreme Court, Connecticut v. Massachusetts, 282 U.S. 660 (1931)
  39. ^ "History, Connecticut River Watershed Council". Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  40. ^ "MWRA Water System Demand, 1989–2009". Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  41. ^ Daily Hampshire Gazette (Gazettenet.com). "The Connecticut River: A sewer runs through it." September 15, 2008.
  42. ^ Massachusetts Water Watch Partnership (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). "Tri-State Connecticut River Targeted Watershed Initiative."
  43. ^ Kaplan, Thomas, "River Watchers, Tackling Speeders and Thin Budgets." New York Times, Metro section, August 30, 2007, accessed same day.
  44. ^ Oxbow-Marina
  45. ^ a b Fisheries Program | Northeast Region | U.S. Fish & Widlife Service. Fws.gov (2011-12-16). Retrieved on 2013-09-06.
  46. ^ a b "Nedeau, E.J. 2008. Freshwater Mussels and the Connecticut River Watershed. Connecticut River Watershed Council, Greenfield, MA.". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 

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