Part 8- Oneida County and the waterfalls on the the tributaries to Fish Creek and Mad River
Towns that are within the Tug Hill Region
Annsville, Ava, Boonville, Camden, Florence, Floyd, Forestport, Lee, Remsen, Steuben, Trenton, Vienna, Western
Region: Central Region
NYS Tourism Region: Central Leatherstocking
NYDEC Region: Western Adirondacks/Eastern Lake Ontario
Coverage of the waterfalls on tributaries within the Tug Hill Region
Tributaries to Fish Creek and the Mad River
Information obtained from Click here
The Oneida Lake watershed is composed of seven primary subwatersheds that drain groundwater and surface water from a six county region directly to the Lake. The Oneida Creek subwatershed (extending throughout portions of Madison and Oneida Counties), the Cowaselon Creek subwatershed (located entirely within Madison County), the Chittenango Creek
Chittenango Twin Sister Falls
subwatershed (a portion of which borders Onondaga and Madison Counties), the Limestone/Butternut Creeks
Old Dam Falls
Cascade Falls, Upper
subwatershed (that flows through Onondaga County), the Wood Creek subwatershed (presented here in two sections – Wood Creek North and Wood Creek South) that flows through Oneida County, and the Fish Creek subwatershed (divided into the East Branch, West Branch, and Lower Fish Creek), spanning portions of Oneida, Lewis, and Oswego Counties. The section describing the Oneida Lake North Shore subwatershed refers to an area in Oneida and Oswego Counties along the north shore that drains directly into Oneida Lake.
Fish Creek Subwatershed
The Fish Creek subwatershed can be further divided into the following hydrologic units: East Branch Fish Creek, West Branch Fish Creek, Lower Fish Creek – the confluence of the East and West Branches. The Fish Creek subwatershed, encompassing approximately 268,676 acres, is located within the Tug Hill Uplands and Lake Plain Regions. Fish Creek spans portions of Lewis, Oneida, and Oswego Counties.
Fish Creek (called Tege-soken, “between the mouths” by the Haudenosaunee is a moderately sized river emptying into the eastern end of Oneida Lake. Formed by the confluence of its east and west forks near the hamlet of Blossvale, the creek flows southwest for 11 miles, through the towns of Annsville and Vienna. The last mile of the creek is channelized to form part of the Erie Canal, which joins the lake at Sylvan Beach. The creek drains approximately 528.9 square miles of the Tug Hill plateau country in Central New York. The largest tributary of Oneida Lake, Fish Creek contributes about 50% of the lake’s total inflow.
Although the main stem is short, the East Branch stretches 42 miles, and the West Branch is 28 miles long. Measured to its furthest headwaters along the East Branch in Lewis County, Fish Creek is 53 miles long, draining parts of Oneida, Lewis and Oswego Counties. Excepting the east and west branches, the only major tributary that joins Fish Creek proper is Wood Creek, which enters from the east via the Erie Canal. Nearly all of the watershed is rural, with the only significant towns being (from roughly north-to-south) Florence, Williamstown, Camden, Annsville, and Vienna. The East Branch contributes about 46% of the total flow in Fish Creek; the West Branch 42%; and Wood Creek, about 12%.
Most of the water in Fish Creek originates as snowmelt from the Tug Hill.
The East Branch is dammed once at Kessinger Dam, completed in 1909, which provides part of the water supply for nearby Rome. Water is diverted through a 1 mile tunnel and a 7-mile pipeline to various reservoirs around the city. A smaller tributary, Florence Creek, has also been dammed at Glenmore since 1926 to provide water to the city of Oneida.
The East Branch flows through a steep gorge known for its difficult whitewater. The 9.4 miles stretch, sometimes known as the “River of No Return”, is rated class II–IV by American Whitewater. Part of the East Branch was considered for National Wild and Scenic Rivers System designation in 1978, but was not passed due to a lack of local support.
The East Branch Fish Creek originates in southern Lewis County, at the confluence of Sixmile and Sevenmile Creeks about 10 miles west of Lyons Falls. It flows generally south, receiving Sucker Brook from the east and entering a narrow gorge, where it is impounded in the small City of Rome Reservoir. Below the reservoir it is joined by Florence Creek from the west, before flowing past Taberg to its mouth and confluence with the West Branch.
East Branch Fish Creek Subwatershed
The East Branch of Fish Creek begins in Lewis County and flows across a terrain of glacial outwash deposits underlain by Utica shale. Access to portions of the East Branch of Fish Creek is limited due to the steep banks and few road crossings. The East Branch of Fish Creek contributes approximately 23 percent of the total surface water inflow to Oneida Lake. It also encompasses one of the least developed areas within the Oneida Lake watershed with private forests comprising a large portion of the upper subwatershed. The East Branch of Fish Creek is free flowing except at the Tagasoke Reservoir. The creek flows southward through the Tug Hill Upland Region, and through limestone and shale bluffs below the Tagasoke Reservoir. The subwatershed contains numerous wetlands, especially in the headwaters in Lewis County. The East and West Branches join near Blossvale to form Lower Fish Creek that flows in a southwesterly direction until it enters Oneida Lake at Sylvan Beach. The water supplies for the Cities of Rome and Oneida are located in the East Branch of Fish Creek.
The majority of land in the East Branch of Fish Creek subwatershed is privately owned. The private tracts are generally smaller and more numerous in the southern portion of this subwatershed. Public lands bordering the East Branch of Fish Creek are located adjacent to the Kessinger Dam, the City of Rome Reservoir, Boyd Dam and Tagasoke Reservoir, and in a small tract of state reforestation land. Eventually, public land will also be located alongside approximately 6 miles of the East Branch of Fish Creek above Tagosoke Reservoir on the former Hancock property. Most of the stream corridor in this subwatershed is forested and undeveloped. Residential areas are scattered, but can be found in small communities such as Taberg in Annsville. Some agriculture and dairy farming is present in this subwatershed. Forestry activities are primarily found in the northern region. Fishing, hiking, boating, and other recreational opportunities are found throughout the area.
The West Branch Fish Creek rises in marshes near Williamstown in eastern Oswego County and flows in a generally southeasterly direction. At Camden in Oneida County it is joined by the Mad River from the north, and is joined by Cobb Brook shortly below there, also from the north. Continuing southeast it receives the Little River from the west and passes McConnellsville, then flows east to its confluence with the East Branch.
West Branch Fish Creek/Lower Fish Creek Subwatershed
Geography and Soils
The West Branch of Fish Creek flows in a southeast direction from the Tug Hill Uplands over Ordivician aged sedimentary rocks and low lime glacial till soils. The creek contains glacial outwash deposits underlain by Utica shale. The headwaters of the West Branch of Fish Creek are in Oswego County. Flow rates increase as the creek water travels over the steeper gradients of the Tug Hill Uplands down to the lower Lake Plain Region. The West Branch of Fish Creek flows from an area near Williamstown and Redfield in Oswego County, through Camden and McConnelsville, and then joins the East Branch of Fish Creek in Oneida County. The East and West Branch of Fish Creek join near Blossvale to form Lower Fish Creek that flows south and west, entering Oneida Lake near Sylvan Beach. The West Branch of Fish Creek contributes approximately 21 percent of the total surface water inflow to Oneida Lake.
More information on Fish Creek
Mad River is a stream located just .6 miles from Camden, in Oneida County.