Raritan River

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Raritan River as seen from Highland Park

The Raritan River is a major river of New Jersey in the United States. It is receives water from the mountainous area of the central part of the state. The water empties into the Raritan Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.

Geology[change | change source]

Geologists believe that the Raritan provided the course of the mouth of the Hudson River.[1]

Description[change | change source]

The river forms at near the border of Somerville, of Bridgewater, Branchburg, and Hillsborough Townships. It flows for 16 mi (25.7 km). Then it slows into in tidewater t New Brunsw. Its estuary extends 14 mi (22.5 km) m.oIt re ensing the western end of Raritan Bay at South Amboy.[2]

The river has served an important water transportation route for a while. The name Raritan comes from the Raritan people, an Algonquian Native American tribe that inhabited Staten Island. In colonial days, the river allowed the development of early industry around New Brunswick. During the American Revolutionary War, the river provided a means for troop conveyance.

Wildlife and pollution[change | change source]

Efforts have been taken to reduce the pollution and increase water quality. These actions have helped the resident fish population. These include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish, catfish, trout, chain pickerel, american eels, carp and yellow perch. Some parts of the river include striped bass, fluke, winter flounder, weakfish and bluefish. Many birds live along the length of the river. Crustaceans such as blue claw crab, fiddler crabs and green crabs are also found in the tidal sections of the river. Crayfish can be found farther upstream.

Rutgers[change | change source]

The river is also used for recreational boating, including use by the rowing team of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The river is featured in the title of Rutgers' alma mater, On the Banks of the Old Raritan, and its flooding is mentioned in the song.[3] The musical 1776 mentions troops bathing in the Raritan River.

Transportation[change | change source]

Near its mouth, the river has a New Jersey Transit railroad bridge. There is the Victory Bridge that carries Route 35 (connecting Perth Amboy and Sayreville, New Jersey); the Edison Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 9 (connecting Woodbridge Township and Sayreville); and the Driscoll Bridge, which carries the Garden State Parkway (connecting Woodbridge Township and Sayreville).

Water supply[change | change source]

The Raritan River is an important source of drinking water for the central portion of New Jersey.

Flooding[change | change source]

The Raritan River has flooding problems when massive rain from storms affects the river basin.

In August 2011, record flooding occurred once again after Hurricane Irene swept through the area.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Steinberg, Ted (2010). Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-4767-4124-6.
  2. "Raritan River". sierraclub.org. New Jersey Sierra Club. Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  3. A verse of the song goes: "For has she not stood since the time of the flood / On the banks of the old Raritan"
  4. "Summary of Flooding in New Jersey Caused by Hurricane Irene, August 27–30, 2011". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 14, 2015.