- For the creek in Ontario, see Tonawanda Creek (Ontario)
Tonawanda Creek is a small river in Western New York, in the United States. William Bright says the best that can be said of the name is that it is "probably from an Iroquoian source, but of unclear derivation".
The length of Tonawanda Creek is 90 miles (145 km). Its drainage basin is nearly 650 square miles (1,700 km2) in area. It flows on a meandering course for most of its length, first northerly until Batavia where a sweeping bend takes it westerly.
Tonawanda Creek rises in Wyoming County and enters the Niagara River between Niagara County and Erie County, forming a boundary between them. Tonawanda Creek passes through the Village of Attica, the City of Batavia, and flows between the City of North Tonawanda to its north and to its south the Town of Amherst, the Town of Tonawanda, and the City of Tonawanda. Just after being joined by Ellicott Creek, it enters the Niagara River.
During the spring of each year, some sections of Tonawanda Creek flood to varying degrees. These floods are more of an inconvenience than a danger, but can be more serious, especially when ice jams dam up the water. The larger flooding can cause property damage.
Tonawanda Creek is also part of the Erie Canal, which joins the creek southwest of Lockport and allows canal traffic to proceed into the Niagara River. In its upper reaches, Tonawanda Creek and the Little Tonawanda, which is tributary, are trout streams.
Tonawanda Creek flows through the ancient lake bed of Glacial Lake Tonawanda, a prehistoric lake that existed approximately 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age; many of the swamp lands surrounding Tonawanda Creek also date back to this lake.
When the Erie Canal was first built, the Tonawanda Creek was the source of water for the western section of the Canal
- Bright, William (2004). Native American placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 505. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- , Friends of the Buffalo Niagara Rivers
- Town of Pembroke (A Mini-History)
- THE AMERICAN REVIEW; A WHIG JOURNAL DEVOTED TO POLITICS, LITERATURE, ART AND SCIENCE. VOL. VI NEW-YORK: GEORGE H. COLTON, 118 NASSAU STREET, Published 1847, Wiley and Putnam, p. 628.
- Flooding on the Tonawanda Creek
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Tonawanda Creek