US Army Corps of Engineers
New England District

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Massachusetts River Basins

There are 19 principal river basins that lie entirely or partially in New England. Nine river basins lie in Massachusetts to include the Connecticut, Housatonic, Thames, Merrimack, Blackstone, Charles, Neponset, Hudson and Taunton. Eight of these basins (Taunton being the exception) have Corps' flood risk management projects within their drainage areas.

Connecticut River Basin
The Connecticut River Basin, one of the largest river basins in New England, stretches from southern Quebec to Long Island Sound, off the Connecticut coast. It has a total length of 280 miles and a maximum width of 60 miles.

Of the 11,250 square miles in the basin, 1,436 square miles, or about 13 percent, lie in Connecticut; 3,928 square miles, or 35 percent lie in Vermont; 3,406 square miles, or about 27 percent l in New Hampshire; and 2,726 square miles, or 24 percent, lie in Massachusetts. About 114 square miles (one percent) are located in Quebec. In Massachusetts, the Connecticut River Basin occupies all of Franklin and Hampshire counties, most of Hampden County, the eastern third of Berkshire County, and the western portion of Worcester County.

Merrimack River Basin
The Merrimack River Basin extends from the rugged White Mountain region of northern New Hampshire to southeastern Massachusetts. It has a maximum length of 134 miles and a maximum width of 68 miles.

The basin’s 5,010 square miles make it the fourth largest river basin in New England. About 3,810 square miles (76 percent) lie in New Hampshire, and 1,200 square miles (24 percent) lie in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River Basin covers parts of the Massachusetts counties of Essex, Middlesex and Worcester.

Housatonic River Basin
The Housatonic River Basin lies principally in western Connecticut and southwestern Massachusetts. Two small sections extend into southeastern New York. The basin is 98 miles long with a maximum width of 35 miles.

Of the Housatonic River Basin’s 1,950 square miles, 1,232 (63 percent) of which lie in Connecticut; 500 (26 percent) in Massachusetts; and 218 (11 percent in New York. In Massachusetts, the basin occupies roughly two-thirds of Berkshire County.

Thames River Basin
The Thames River Basin lies mostly in the eastern third of Connecticut, with small sections extending into southern Massachusetts and northwester Rhode Island. The Thames River basin is 67 miles long with a maximum width of 38 miles.

The basin comprises an area of 1,474 square miles. Of this, 1,162 square miles (75 percent) lie in Connecticut, 251 (20 percent) lie in Massachusetts, and 61 (five percent) lie in Rhode Island. In Massachusetts, the Thames River Basin occupies the southeastern corner of Hampden County and the southwestern portion of Worcester County.

Blackstone River Basin
The Blackstone River Basin stretches from Worcester, Mass., to the Providence-Pawtucket area of Rhode Island. It is 46 miles long and has an average width of 12 miles.

The basin consists of 540 square miles, of which 382 square miles (71 percent) lie in Massachusetts and 158 square miles (29 percent) lie in Rhode Island. In Massachusetts, the basin occupies the southeastern quarter of Worcester County, the southwestern corner of Norfolk County, and the northwestern corner of Bristol County.

Charles River Basin
The Charles River Basin is located mostly in eastern Massachusetts and comprises an area of 311 square miles. It has a maximum width of 14.5 miles and a maximum length of 30 miles.
The basin covers parts of Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Worcester counties.

Neponset River Basin
The Neponset River Basin lies entirely in eastern Massachusetts. Its 117 square miles make it one of New England’s smallest river basins.

The basin has a maximum width of 13.1 miles and a maximum length of 22.2 miles. It lies mostly in Norfolk County, covering 22 percent of the county’s land area. A small portion of Neponset River Basin reaches the southerly tip of Suffolk County.

Hudson River Basin
The Hudson River Basin lies mostly in New York State, with small portions covering areas in northern New Jersey, southwester Vermont, northwestern Massachusetts and western Connecticut.

The basin has a maximum length of 238 miles and a maximum width of 128 miles. Of the basin’s 13,366 square miles, 12,435 square miles (93 percent) lie in New York; 450 square miles (three percent) lie in Vermont; 255 square miles (two percent) lie in New Jersey; 190 square miles (one percent) lie in Massachusetts; and 36 square miles (.03 percent) lie in Connecticut. In Massachusetts, the basin covers the northwest corner of Berkshire County.

- Updated: 12 June 2015