Altamaha River

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Altamaha River
Catchment area of ​​the Altamaha River with the two main tributaries Ocmulgee River and Oconee River

Catchment area of ​​the Altamaha River with the two main tributaries Ocmulgee River and Oconee River

Water code US354294
location Georgia (USA)
River system Altamaha River
origin Confluence of the Oconee River and Ocmulgee River at Hazlehurst
31 ° 57 ′ 33 ″  N , 82 ° 32 ′ 37 ″  W
Source height 25  m
muzzle Altamaha Sound , Atlantic Ocean Coordinates: 31 ° 18 ′ 57 ″  N , 81 ° 17 ′ 5 ″  W 31 ° 18 ′ 57 ″  N , 81 ° 17 ′ 5 ″  W
Mouth height m
Height difference 25 m
Bottom slope 0.11 ‰
length 220 km
Catchment area 36,260 km²
Discharge at Doctortown gauge NNQ (1980)
HHQ (1936)
40 m³ / s
384 m³ / s
5000 m³ / s
Left tributaries Ohoopee River , Beards Creek
Right tributaries Penholoway Creek
Small towns Brunswick

The Altamaha River [ ˈɔːltəməhɑː ˈɹɪvɚ ] is a 220 km long river in the southeastern part of the US state Georgia , whose catchment area with an area of ​​36,260 km² is one of the largest on the east coast of the United States . It arises around 150 km west of the city of Savannah from the confluence of the Ocmulgee River and Oconee River and finally flows into the Atlantic Ocean near Brunswick .

Together with its longest tributary, as the USGS usually does for length calculations, the river reaches a length of 756 km; After four rivers in Alaska, the Sacramento River - Pit River in California and the Trinity River in Texas, the Altamaha River is the seventh longest river in the United States that runs entirely within a state .

Historically, the river was known by different name variations, including A-lot-amaha, Alatahama, Alatamaha, Allamah, Frederica River, Rio Al Tama, Rio de Talaje, and Talaxe River. He is known for the rafting practiced there and its customs.

Flora and fauna by the river

Although the Old Amaha served as a trade route for traffic between central Georgia and the east coast in the 19th century , it has largely been preserved in its natural state and was declared a biological reserve in 1991 by the environmental organization Nature Conservancy . Its course is not hindered by any dam. More than 120 rare and from becoming extinct threatened animal and plant species within its catchment area are spotted, and the estuary is an important stopover for many migratory birds .

The Altamaha River runs in an alluvial plain up to eight kilometers wide, in which some of the last remaining hardwood landscapes and cypress swamps exist in the southern states . As it approaches the Atlantic Ocean, the river widens into an estuary. The endangered species includes 11 species of mussels , seven of which are endemic . In its catchment area the only known is primary forest with marsh pines and Dyer's oak in the United States. Other species worth mentioning here are the short-nosed sturgeon , Atlantic sturgeon , Caribbean manatee and indigo snake ( Drymarchon couperi ). The catchment area of ​​the lower Altamaha River is the only proven distribution area of ​​the Okefenokee dwarf blackfish . The no longer existing in the wild today, Franklin tree ( Franklinia alatamaha ) was William Bartram discovered in 1765 along the river. Bartram sent seeds from the trees to England and planted some of the trees in his Philadelphia garden .


The Altamaha River does not flow directly through a single county , but always forms the natural border between the individual counties along its entire length.

From its origin , the river forms the border between Jeff Davis County in the south and Montgomery County in the north, but after a few miles the counties change; now the river separates Toombs County and Appling County . Toombs County is later replaced by Tattnall County and this is where the Ohoopee River flows in from the north. The Big Hammock Natural Area is a National Natural Landmark because of its biodiversity and many rare plant species .

Beards Creek flows below the nature reserve. From then on, the Altamaha River forms the border between Long County on the north bank and Wayne County on the south bank. The river eventually flows through the Griffin Ridge Wildlife Management Area before flowing past Doctortown near Jesup . In this area the river is surrounded by swampy alluvial land.

Long County is replaced by McIntosh County several kilometers below the ghost town of Doctortown . From here to its mouth, several wildlife sanctuaries line the river. In the final miles of its course, the Altamaha River forms the border between McIntosh County in the north and Glynn County in the south.

Darien is just north of the estuary, while the slightly larger town of Brunswick . St. Simons Island is on the south side of the estuary.

The estuary, in which fresh water and salt water mix, has an area of ​​67 km² and is one of the largest largely untouched estuaries on the Atlantic coast.

Settlement history

In prehistoric times, northern Florida and the part of Georgia south of the Altamaha River were populated by the Timucua . When the Spaniards near the river source the mission in Santa Isabel de Utinahica founded, was around 1610 Utinahica founded. In Spanish Florida , the river formed the border between the missionary districts of Guale and Mocama . In the later 17th century, a group of Yamasee settled near the estuary under the chief Altamaha. The river was named after him.

The Altamaha River marked the western boundary of the British settlement and thus the western boundary of the Province of Georgia until the American Declaration of Independence . In 1736 the British general James Oglethorpe laid out Fort Frederica on the island of St. Simons in the estuary delta , from which a settlement with English, Scottish, Swiss and German immigrants and Muskogee Indians developed. The fort was fought over in the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1742 and was no longer needed after the British victory and abandoned in 1748. It has been a National Monument since 1936 .

Name variants

The river has several designations:

  • A-la-ta-ma-ha
  • A-lot-amaha River
  • Alatahama River
  • Alatamaha River
  • Allamah River
  • Frederica River
  • Rio Al Tama
  • Rio de Talaje
  • Rio deTalaje
  • Talaxe River


The United States Geological Survey maintains a number of gauges on the river . At Doctortown , a ghost town, the average annual discharge rate is 384 m³ / s, the highest value observed at this point was measured on April 18, 1936 with 5000 m³ / s, the lowest value was on August 30, 2000 with 40 m³ / s recorded.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ocmulgee River ( English ) In: Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  2. ^ A b Altamaha River in the Geographic Names Information System of the United States Geological Survey
  3. ^ A b c The Altamaha River The Nature Conservancy in Georgia.
  4. a b c Water Data Report, Georgia 2004 ( English , PDF, 51.7 MB) United States Geological Survey . 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  5. ^ A b Altamaha River In: The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ Georgia Atlas & Gazetteer . DeLorme, 2001, ISBN 0-89933-253-6 .
  7. ^ Ruth T. Barron: Footprints in Appling County. Appling County Board of Commissioners, Baxley, Georgia 1981, p. 7.
  8. ^ A b c d Kenneth K. Krakow: Georgia Place Names. Macon. Winship Press, Ga. 1975, p. 4.
  9. ^ William Bartram: The Travels of William Bartram. Edited with commentary and an annotated index by Francis Harper, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn. 1958, p. 434.
  10. ^ John Gerar William De Brahm: De Brahm's Report of the General Survey in the Southern District of North America. Edited by Louis De Vorsey. Jr. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC 1971, p. 145.
  11. ^ US Geological Survey. Geographic Names Phase I data compilation (1976-1981). 31-Dec-1981. Primarily from US Geological Survey 1: 24,000-scale topographic maps (or 1: 25K, Puerto Rico 1: 20K) and from US Board on Geographic Names files. In some instances, from 1: 62,500 scale or 1: 250,000 scale maps
  12. ^ The American Guide Series , Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration. A state by state guide series published by various publishers, in the late 1930's and 1940's. Each book studies and describes each state's history, natural endowments, and special interests. Use code US-T125 / Name / YYYY / p #. Georgia / p299.
  13. U .S. Geological Survey . Geographic Names Phase I data compilation (1976-1981). 31-Dec-1981. Primarily from US Geological Survey 1: 24,000-scale topographic maps (or 1: 25K, Puerto Rico 1: 20K) and from US Board on Geographic Names files. In some instances, from 1: 62,500 scale or 1: 250,000 scale maps.