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Delaware River

The Delaware River — A Little Known Natural Treasure

The Delaware River flows free for 330 miles from New York through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The millions of people who cross it daily may be vaguely aware that George Washington made history when he crossed it once, but few recognize its importance to their daily lives. Though the watershed drains only four-tenths of one percent of the total continental U.S. land area, 15 million people — about 5 percent of the nation's population — rely on the Delaware River Basin for their drinking water. This includes the largest and fifth largest cities in the nation — New York and Philadelphia. The Delaware River Basin is a place of contrasts. The clean, clear waters of the River’s upper and middle reaches and its cold tributary streams support a wilder landscape rich in fish and wildlife where residents enjoy a more rural way of life. It is also where the visually stunning Delaware Water Gap lies. Every year, millions of visitors take advantage of the wide range of recreational opportunities it offers. Hard to believe it’s just 90 minutes from the heart of New York City. The lower end of the River and its Estuary host the world’s largest horseshoe crab population and an active commercial fishery, yet are marked by heavy industry and busy shipping traffic. The Delaware River Port Complex (including facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware) is the largest freshwater port in the world and is the largest for steel and paper in North America. The Port is the East Coast’s largest importer of cocoa beans and fruit and as much as seventy percent of the oil shipped to the Atlantic Coast moves through the Estuary.

Remember the River — a campaign designed as a tribute to the Delaware River. Watch the Remember the River video, support the Delaware River by purchasing one of our Remember the River products, get a sneak peak of Valuing the Delaware River report and more.

River Facts — learn interesting facts about the Delaware River.

Tributaries — learn about the main tributaries of the Delaware River in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.