French Creek (Allegheny River)


French Creek (Allegheny River)

French Creek is a tributary of the Allegheny River in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York in the United States. "Creek" is somewhat of a misnomer, as it is generally considered to be a river, which is reflected in earlier names for the stream.

It was known to Native Americans of the region as "Onenge", meaning "Otter." This was corrupted into English as the "Venango River". A settlement at its mouth was likewise called "Venango," and is the site of present-day Franklin, Pennsylvania. In the 18th century, the stream was an important link between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River. The French built Fort Presque Isle and Fort Le Boeuf to control the portage from the stream's headwaters to Lake Erie. They called the stream "Riveraux aux Boeufs" (Meaning "River with Buffalo"). George Washington was sent to deliver a message to these forts in 1752. Not knowing the stream's name, he gave it the present name of "French Creek" because of the nearby French forts. [http://www.crawfordcopa.com/history/FrenchCk.html]

It is formed near French Creek, New York and extends for a length of 117 miles (188 km) with a drainage area of 1,270 square miles (3,289 km²). It joins the Allegheny River near Franklin, Pennsylvania. The watershed area includes parts of Erie, Crawford, Venango, and Mercer Counties in Pennsylvania as well as Chautauqua County, New York.

French Creek is considered one of the most biologically diverse streams east of the Mississippi River providing habitant to over 80 species of fish and 26 species of freshwater mussels. Environmental concerns have been raised in recent years. One major contaminant is chlorine from municipal sewage plants along the water course. A new wastewater treatment plant was recently constructed in Meadville, Pennsylvania to lessen the impact of this contaminant to the creek’s wildlife. Agricultural runoff is also an issue, especially in the lower reaches.

Cities and towns along its course include:
*Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania
*Saegertown, Pennsylvania
*Meadville, Pennsylvania
*Cochranton, Pennsylvania
*Utica, Pennsylvania
*Franklin, Pennsylvania
*Wattsburg, Pennsylvania

ee also

*List of New York rivers
*List of Pennsylvania rivers

References

*GNIS|1213624|French Creek

External links

* [http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/current/?type=flow U.S. Geological Survey: PA stream gaging stations]
* [http://www.postgazette.com/sports/outdoors/20030309moyer0309p5.asp Outdoors: French Creek honored for its beauty, history, Pittsburgh Post Gazette]
* [http://www.crawfordcopa.com/history/FrenchCk.html French Creek from Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania]
* [http://ns1763.ca/remem/7yw-timeline-w.html French and Indian War timeline] describes the central role of French Creek


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