Saint Lawrence River

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Saint Lawrence River,
fleuve Saint-Laurent, Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence River near downtown Montréal

The Saint Lawrence River near downtown Montréal

Water code US977244
location Ontario , Québec ( Canada ),
New York ( USA )
River system Saint Lawrence River
origin Lake Ontario
44 ° 11 ′ 6 ″  N , 76 ° 33 ′ 3 ″  W.
Source height approx.  250  m  (depending on the water level)
mouth St. Lawrence Gulf Coordinates: 49 ° 9 ′  N , 67 ° 16 ′  W 49 ° 9 ′  N , 67 ° 16 ′  W
Mouth height m
Height difference approx. 250 m
Bottom slope approx. 0.43 ‰
length 580 km  (with estuary: 1240 km; longest strand in the river system: 2930 km)
Catchment area 1,030,000 km²
Drain MQ
10,080 m³ / s
Left tributaries Ottawa River , Rivière Saint-Maurice , Rivière Saguenay , Rivière Manicouagan
Right tributaries Rivière Richelieu , Rivière Saint-François , Rivière Yamaska , Rivière Bécancour , Rivière Chaudière
Flowing lakes Lac Saint-François , Lac Saint-Louis , Lac Saint-Pierre
Reservoirs flowed through Iroquois reservoir
Big cities Montréal , Longueuil , Trois-Rivières , Québec , Lévis
Navigable along the entire length
The catchment area of ​​the St. Lawrence River including the adjoining estuary

The catchment area of ​​the St. Lawrence River including the adjoining estuary

Lachine rapids

Lachine rapids

St. Lawrence River in winter

St. Lawrence River in winter

The Saint Lawrence River ( French Fleuve Saint-Laurent ; English Saint Lawrence River ; tuscarora Kahnawáˀkye ; mohawk Kaniatarowanenneh 'large waterway') is the third largest river in North America with an average discharge of 10,080 m³ / s and drains the Great Lakes to the Atlantic . The course of the river below the great lakes is 580 kilometers long and stretches northeast. The name also refers to the adjoining, about 660 kilometers long estuary , which opens like a funnel to the Atlantic. The Saint Lawrence River initially forms the border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York and then crosses the province of Québec . The catchment area of the river essentially comprises the area of ​​the Great Lakes, making the total length of the river system 2900 kilometers.

Course and geography

As it travels through the Great Lakes at the farthest spring from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River in Minnesota , the course of the river goes by several names. The source of the main hydrological strand is considered to be the origin of the North River in the Mesabi Range near Hibbing in Minnesota , a source of the Saint Louis River .

In particular, the St. Lawrence River begins at the outflow of Lake Ontario in the Thousand Islands archipelago between Kingston on the north bank and Cape Vincent on the south bank. The river then forms the border between the USA and Canada over a length of around 150 kilometers to Cornwall , after which it only flows on Canadian soil.

The Ottawa River (French Rivière des Outaouais , English Ottawa River ) flows in front of Montréal . At the mouth of the Ottawa is the Hochelaga archipelago with the 499 km² Île de Montréal on which Montréal lies, and the Île Jésus with the city of Laval . In Sorel-Tracy the mouth follows the Richelieu , of the located in the South Lake Champlain drained.

Before Trois-Rivières , the river widens over a length of 35 kilometers to the ten kilometer wide Lac Saint-Pierre and then takes on the Saint-Maurice . After passing the Île d'Orléans northeast of Québec , the water becomes brackish .

Below the confluence of the St. Lawrence River, the Saguenay flows into the estuary from the north at Tadoussac . At its transition into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the lighthouse Phare du Haut-Fond Prince warns of a dangerous shoal . In this area lie the Mingan Archipelago and the mouth of the Manicouagan .

Length specifications

Depending on which place is considered to be the source or end point of the river, there are different lengths of its course. The shortest length of the St. Lawrence River refers to the partly lake-like widened river course from the eastern end of Lake Ontario to a little below the city of Québec , where the water becomes salty and the estuary begins. Because of the smooth transitions, the figures vary between 560 and 580 kilometers. Including the marine estuary to Anticosti Island at the transition to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence Waterway is around 1200 kilometers long.

Looking at the course of the river as a whole, the longest stretch of the river including the lakes crossed and otherwise named river sections between the source of the North River in Lake County ( Minnesota , USA) and the beginning of the estuary below Québec is a distance of around 2930 Kilometers. If you add the estuary to the river, as z. For example, when calculating the length of the Elbe , the result is a distance of 3590 kilometers up to an imaginary line between the Île d'Anticosti and the Gaspésie peninsula .


The St. Lawrence River is home to numerous species of whales , including blue and fin whales , as well as white whales , which are found in the food-rich estuary of the Saguenay.

The carp imported from Europe , which forms one of the world's largest stocks in the Saint Lawrence River and allows heavy individuals to grow up to 25 kilograms, has increased significantly . In September 2011 the world championships in carp fishing were held there. To the native fish fauna includes various species such as sea lamprey , Common gars , bowfins , moon eyes , Alosa -Heringe, Seeheringe ( Coregonus artedii ) Heringsmaränen , rainbow trout , brown trout , lake trout ( Salvelinus namaycush ), brook trout , smelts , central mudminnow , pike , Musky- muscle lungs , Copper Redhorse ( copper redhorse ), White Sucker ( Catostomus commersoni ), related to the European rudd Golden Shiner ( Notemigonus crysoleucas ) Bachdöbel ( Semotilus atromaculatus ), minnows ( Phoxinus eos ) Blackchin Shiner ( Notropis Heterodon ), channel Catfishes ( Ictalurus punctatus ), catfish or dwarf catfish ( Ictalurus nebulosus ), American eels ( Anguilla rostrata ), burbot , striped killifish ( Fundulus diaphanus ), sticklebacks , largemouth bass , white perch ( Morone americana ), small mouth bass ( Micropterus dolomterus ) salmoides ), common sunfish , Stone perch , black crappie ( Pomoxis nigromaculatus ), American pikeperch "Walleyes" ( Stizostedion vitreum ), perch , freshwater drummers etc.


The mouth of the Saint Lawrence River was visited by several seafarers soon after the discovery of America. B. by Giovanni Caboto and Miguel Corte-Real , but also by Basque fishermen. However, the first to venture inland on the river was the French Jacques Cartier in 1535 . On his first trip a year earlier, he had overlooked the entrance to the river between Gaspé and Anticosti due to bad weather. On August 10, 1535, Cartier was at the confluence with the Gulf of Saint Lawrence . Since this was the memorial day of Lawrence of Rome , he named the river and the bay after him.

Although the current from Kingston to the Atlantic only overcomes a difference in altitude of just under 75 meters, it was only navigable as far as Montréal due to the many rapids on the Canadian side, especially the Lachine rapids . In 1825 the Lachine Canal was opened, which bypasses these rapids. One of the greatest maritime disasters occurred on the St. Lawrence River in May 1914 , when the Canadian liner Empress of Ireland collided with another ship in thick fog in the middle of the night and sank. More than a thousand people were killed.

The St. Lawrence Reservation was planned here in the 19th century .

1951 designed and the United States and Canada jointly built the to 1959 Saint Lawrence Seaway , a system of locks and canals and rivers depressions and -begradigungen, by the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes and adjoining these rivers for navigation connected has been. Continuous shipping to the center of the continent is possible via the Saint-Louis River , which flows into Lake Superior, and the Illinois Waterway .

In 1984, to mark the 450th anniversary of the first Cartier expedition, the first edition of the ocean-going regatta Transat Québec Saint-Malo was held, which runs from Québec on the Saint Lawrence River and the Atlantic to Cartier's French birthplace of Saint Malo .

Hydropower plants

There are several hydropower plants , dams and locks along the St. Lawrence River .

Hydroelectric power plants along the St. Lawrence River
Surname location completion
Number of
flow rate
[m³ / s]
reservoir operator
Iroquois 1958 n / A n / A n / A n / A Iroquois reservoir Ontario Power Generation (OPG),
New York Power Authority
Robert H. Saunders 1958-1959 1045 16 n / A n / A n / A Ontario Power Generation
Robert Moses 1958-1959 900 16 n / A n / A n / A New York Power Authority
Beauharnois 1932-1961 1911 38 24.39 n / A Lac Saint-François Hydro Quebec
Les Cèdres 1914-1924 103 11 9.14 n / A n / A Hydro Quebec
Saint-Lambert ( ) Montréal 1995 6th n / A 5 175 - Boralex

The Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam is part of an international hydropower project: the St. Lawrence-Franklin Delano Roosevelt Power Project with the Robert Moses power plant on the US side, operated by the New York Power Authority, and the Robert H. Saunders power station on the Canadian side, operated by OPG.

Web links

Commons : St. Lawrence River  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Environment Canada: World's largest Rivers - Based on average annual total discharge , accessed September 6, 2012.
  2. B. Rudes: Tuscarora English Dictionary. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.
  3. Note: According to Mississippi (18,400 m³ / s) and Mackenzie (10,200 m³ / s), data (except Mississippi) from Environment Canada: World's largest Rivers - Based on average annual total discharge , accessed on September 6, 2012.
  4. Note: The information in the literature for the length including the bay range up to 4000 km, but aerial photo-based re-measurements (GoogleEarth, September 6, 2012) including the meanders do not allow lengths of more than 3700 kilometers. The specification of 2930 km is based on the following information: St. Louis River 309 km + Lake Superior 660 km + St. Marys River 120 km + Lake Huron 395 km + St. Clair River 65 km + Lake St. Clair 38 km + Detroit River 45 km + Lake Erie 408 km + Niagara River 58 km + Lake Ontario 272 km + St. Lawrence River 560 km. The flow route along the Île d'Orleans is not included. The sea routes are measurements in GoogleEarth.
  5. Blinker, No. 2, February 2006: Parry Vermeulen, Other Dimensions, Year Top Verlag, Hamburg, p. 60.
  6. Canadian Carp Club Shop, We are an online carp tackle store. We sell all the big brand name like fox, korda, dynamite baits, guru, preston innovation, grays, berkley, drennan, middy, cralusso, and many others. Nous sommes une boutique en ligne specialize dans la vente des appats et articles de peche a la carpe quebec. Accessed December 31, 2018 .
  7.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  9. Monika Fuchs: Jacques Cartier discoverer, seafarer. In: Archived from the original on August 31, 2017 ; accessed on February 4, 2017 .
  10. Jacques Carties: Voyage de J. Cartier au Canada
  11. (PDF)
Saint Lawrence River between Québec (left) and Lévis (right). The Île d'Orléans can be seen in the center of the picture .