Fisheries Program
Northeast Region
Westfield River. Credit: USFWS
Westfield River. Credit: USFWS

Aquatic Habitats

Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England. It flows through or between four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire along the way from its mouth in Long Island Sound to the headwaters in Fourth Connecticut Lake at the border with Quebec, Canada. The 410 mile long river drains an 11,250 square mile watershed. The river supports wild runs of American shad, blueback herring, alewife, hickory shad, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, endangered shortnose sturgeon, and American eel. The river is home to winter flounder, brook trout, and a population of endangered dwarf wedge mussels. Hatchery stocking has returned a run of Atlantic salmon that had been extirpated two centuries earlier. The salmon program has united a diverse and concerted effort to restore the river from headwater to mouth like no other single species could justify.

Map of the Connecticut River Watershed (pdf - 80KB)

Choptank River. Credit: USFWS
Choptank River. Credit: USFWS

Delaware River

The Delaware River is a 410 mile long river. It’s the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi River. It runs between or through New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The watershed encompasses 13,539 square miles with headwaters in Mount Jefferson, New York and mouth at the Delaware Bay which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Lewes, Delaware. The river and its tributaries provide habitat for American shad, alewife, blueback herring, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, and American eel.

Map of the Delaware River Basin (pdf - 458kb)

Distinct Population Segment (DPS) Rivers in Maine

The geographic range of the distinct population segment (DPS) of the endangered Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of Maine includes the following rivers that still support wild Atlantic salmon populations: Dennys, East Machias, Machias, Pleasant, Narraguagus, Ducktrap, Sheepscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Penobscot (including Cove Brook) rivers.

Dennys River

The Dennys River is about 20 miles long. It flows from Meddybemps Lake to Dennys Bay before entering Cobscook Bay. It has a 132 square mile watershed.

East Machias River

The East Machias River flows 37 miles from Pocomoonshine Lake to Machias Bay at East Machias, ME. It has a 251 square mile watershed.

Machias River. Credit: USFWS
Machias River. Credit: USFWS

Machias River

The Machias River flows 61 miles from Fifth Machias Lake to Machias Bay at Machias, ME. It has a 460 square mile watershed.

Pleasant River

The Pleasant River flows about 28 miles from Pleasant River Lake to Pleasant Bay near Columbia Falls. It has an 85 square mile watershed.

Narraguagus River

The Narraguagus River flows 43 miles from Eagle Lake to the mouth at Narraguagus Bay near Cherryfield, ME. It has a 232 square mile watershed.

Ducktrap River

The Ducktrap River flows 7 miles from Tilden Pond to West Penobscot Bay just north of Lincolnville, ME. It has a 33 square mile watershed.

Sheepscot River

The Sheepscot River headwaters are in West Montville from whence it flows 34 miles to the mouth in Sheepscot Bay near the town of Wiscasset. It has a 228 square mile watershed.

Kennebec River

The Kennebec River flows 150 miles from Moosehead Lake to Merrymeeting Bay. It has a 5,869 square mile watershed.

Androscoggin River

The Androscoggin River flows 178 miles from Central New Hampshire and joins the Kennebec River at Merrymeeting Bay. It has a 3,530 square mile watershed. Listed critical habitat for Atlantic salmon is restricted to the lower river below Lewiston-Auburn.

Penobscot River (including Cove Brook, a tributary)

The Penobscot River is New England’s second largest river and the largest watershed in Maine. Four sub-basins with catchment areas exceeding 1,000 square miles; these include the Piscataquis, Mattawamkeag, West Branch, and East Branch. There are over 1,600 miles of streams and rivers in the drainage and more than 625 lakes and ponds. The watershed contains Mount Katahdin (Penobscot tribal name for “Greatest Mountain” the highest peak in Maine (5,270 ft). The estuary is about 32 miles in length from head of tide just upstream of Bangor to Searsport, ME.  The river is known a large historic Atlantic salmon run that has been listed as endangered. The river is home to alewife, striped bass, blueback herring, American shad, Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, and brook trout.  The river has an 8,570 square mile watershed.

NOAA website for endangered species listing and critical habitat documents

Penobscot River Restoration Trust Maps

Hudson River. Credit: USFWS
Hudon River. Credit: USFWS

Hudson River

The Hudson River begins in Lake Tear of the Clouds on Mount Marcy, New York's highest peak.  The Hudson River is 315 miles long.  The river’s deepest point (216 feet deep) is near West Point and it's widest point is at Haverstraw where it is three and one half miles wide.  From Troy south to the river’s mouth in New York harbor, the Hudson River is tidally influenced. Estuaries such as Constitution Marsh are nurseries for many Hudson River fish and waterfowl.

About 206 species of fish can be found in the river including shad, Atlantic Sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, catfish, flounder, eels, river herring, smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluefish, sunfish, and carp.  Geese, swans, surface feeding ducks such as mallards, black ducks and wood ducks are common on the Hudson River. Also seen are diving ducks such as scaup, bufflehead, canvasbacks and merganser. Common shorebirds include killdeer, spotted sandpipers, least sandpipers, greater yellowlegs, snowy egrets, least bitterns, green herons and great blue herons.

Perching birds seen in the marshes include marsh wrens, red-winded blackbirds, swamp swallows and yellow warblers. Gulls include herring gulls and great black-backed gulls.  Raptors include bald eagles and osprey.  Natural resources of the Hudson River have been contaminated through past and ongoing discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees -- New York State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of the Interior -- are conducting a natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) to assess and restore those natural resources injured by PCBs.

James River

Merrimack River. Credit: USFWS
Merrimack River. Credit: USFWS

The James River is a 410 mile long river. It’s the 12th largest river in the country that remains within the boundary of a single state, Virginia. It drains 10,432 square miles of watershed. The James River starts in Iron Gate and drains into the Chesapeake Bay at Fort Monroe. It is home to brook trout, American and hickory shad, striped bass and Atlantic sturgeon.

Merrimack River

The Merrimack River begins in Franklin, New Hampshire.  From there, it flows 110 miles through New Hampshire and finally joins the Atlantic Ocean at Newburyport, Massachusetts. About 4,700 square miles of the two states are drained by this river. This industrialized river still supports brook trout, in its headwaters, American shad, alewife, blueback herring, American eel, striped bass and hatchery-restored runs of Atlantic salmon.

Map of the Merrimack River Watershed - created by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (pdf - 105KB)

Pawcatuck River

The Pawcatuck River is a 30-mile long river that flows through Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Headwaters are at Worden Pond in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. From there, the river flows down into Little Narragansett Bay and then into Long Island Sound. It drains a 317 square mile watershed. The river supports American shad, alewife, blueback herring, American eels, shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon, and hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon.

Map of the Pawcatuck River (png - 65KB)

Potomac River. Credit: USFWS
Waterfall on Potomac River. Credit: USFWS

Potomac River

The Potomac River is the 21st largest river in the United States. It runs through Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. It stretches 383 miles from Fairfax Stone, West Virginia to the mouth at Point Lookout, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. The watershed is 14,670 square miles in size. Brook trout, American eel, black sea bass, blueback herring, alewife, American and hickory shad, striped bass, Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, summer flounder, tautog, and weakfish are found in this system.

Map of the Potomac River Watershed (pdf - 186KB)

Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna River is the largest river on the East Coast and the 16th largest river in the United States. The 444 mile long river passes through three states: New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. It drains a 27,500 square mile watershed. Its headwaters lie in Cooperstown, New York at Otsego Lake. The mouth of the river empties into the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, Maryland. The Susquehanna River provides more than half of the freshwater flowing into the Chesapeake Bay and is an important key to the Bay’s health and sustainability. The river once supported a variety of migratory species including American shad, blueback herring, alewife, hickory shad, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, and American eel.  Dams built to generate power on the river degraded fish habitat and blocked access to important nursery and rearing habitat. Thus most of the historic fisheries are in decline.

Map of the Susquehanna River Watershed

Back to top
Back to Love the Resource

Last updated: December 16, 2011
Northeast Fisheries Program Home
Northeast Region Home

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page | Department of the Interior  |  | About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  | Accessibility  | Privacy  | Notices  | Disclaimer  | FOIA