The Maumee River at Grand Rapids, Ohio
Map of the Maumee River watershed
|Cities and towns||Fort Wayne, Indiana; New Haven, Indiana; Antwerp, Ohio; Cecil, Ohio; Defiance, Ohio; Florida, Ohio; Napoleon, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Ohio; Waterville, Ohio; Maumee, Ohio; Perrysburg, Ohio; Rossford, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Oregon, Ohio|
|• location||Fort Wayne by the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Marys|
|• elevation||750 ft (230 m)|
|Lake Erie at Toledo|
|571 ft (174 m)|
|Length||137 miles (220 km)|
|Basin size||6,354 sq mi (16,460 km2)|
|• average||5,297 cu ft/s (150.0 m3/s)|
The Maumee River (pronounced ) (Shawnee: Hotaawathiipi;Miami-Illinois: Taawaawa siipiiwi) is a river running in the United States Midwest from northeastern Indiana into northwestern Ohio and Lake Erie. It is formed at the confluence of the St. Joseph and St. Marys rivers, where Fort Wayne, Indiana, has developed, and meanders northeastwardly for 137 miles (220 km) through an agricultural region of glacial moraines before flowing into the Maumee Bay of Lake Erie. The city of Toledo is located at the mouth of the Maumee. The Maumee was designated an Ohio State Scenic River on July 18, 1974. The Maumee watershed is Ohio's breadbasket; it is two-thirds farmland, mostly corn and soybeans. It is the largest watershed of any of the rivers feeding the Great Lakes, and supplies five percent of Lake Erie's water.
Historically the river was also known as the "Miami" in United States treaties with Native Americans. As early as 1671, French colonists called the river Miami du Lac, or Miami of the Lake (in contrast to the "Miami of the Ohio" or the Great Miami River, called Ahsenisiipi in the Miami-Illinois language ). Maumee is an anglicized spelling of the Ottawa or Odawa name for the Miami tribe, Maamii. The Odawa had a village at the mouth of the Maumee River and occupied other territory in northwestern Ohio, including along its tributary, the Blanchard River.
The Battle of Fallen Timbers, the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, was fought mile (1.2 km) north of the banks of the Maumee River. After this decisive victory for General Anthony Wayne, in 1795 Native Americans ceded a twelve-mile square tract around Perrysburg and Maumee to the United States by the Treaty of Greenville. They ceded additional lands, north of the river and downstream of Defiance, in the 1807 Treaty of Detroit. They ceded the remainder of the Maumee River valley in the 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs.
Prior to the development of canals, portages between the rivers were important trade routes. U.S. forces built forts such as Fort Loramie, Fort Recovery, and Fort Defiance along these routes. In honor of General Wayne's victory on the banks of the Maumee, the primary bridge crossing the river near downtown Toledo is named the Anthony Wayne Suspension Bridge.
Agricultural practices along the Maumee River have contributed in the 21st century to high phosphate levels in Lake Erie. This has triggered algae blooms in the lake. The drinking water from the city of Toledo was made unsafe for consumption for nearly a week in August 2014 because of such algae blooms.
The Maumee River watershed was once part of the Great Black Swamp, a remnant of Glacial Lake Maumee, the proglacial ancestor of Lake Erie. The 1,500-square-mile (3,900 km2) swamp was a vast network of forests, wetlands, and grasslands, a rich habitat for numerous species of birds, animals, fish and flora. During the 19th century, European-American settlers struggled to drain the swamp and to convert the land to farmland; they dramatically altered the habitat, reducing areas where species could flourish.
The mouth of the river at Toledo and Lake Erie is wide and supports considerable commercial traffic, including oil, grain, and coal. About 12 miles (19 km) upstream, in the town of Perrysburg, Ohio, the river becomes much shallower and today supports only recreational navigation above that point. The Miami and Erie Canal was built parallel to and north of the Maumee between Toledo and Defiance, Ohio, to enable extended transportation of shipped goods. The canal entered the river at a "slackwater" created by Independence Dam. It exited the river at Defiance and was built to the south, ending at Cincinnati, Ohio. While abandoned for commercial use, portions of the canal's towpath are maintained for recreational use in both Lucas and Henry counties. A restored section of canal, including a canal lock, is operated at Providence Metropark, where visitors can ride an authentic canal boat.
The Wabash and Erie Canal was constructed on the south side of the river, continuing southwest from Defiance to Fort Wayne, Indiana, crossing the "summit" to the Wabash River valley (in Miami-Illinois the Wabash River was known as Waapaah?iki siipiiwi). Both canals were important pre-railway transportation methods in the 1840-60 period.
The Maumee has the largest watershed of any Great Lakes river, with 8,316 square miles (21,540 km2). This area includes a portion of southern Michigan. In addition to its source tributaries - the St. Joseph River (in Miami-Illinois: Kociihsasiipi) and St. Marys (in Miami-Illinois: Nameewa siipiiwi), the Maumee's principal tributaries are the Auglaize River and the Tiffin River, which join it at Defiance from the south and north, respectively.
Due to environmental contamination, a portion of the river was designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC) under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1987. The Maumee covers 8,316 square miles and has the largest drainage area of any Great Lakes river. The Maumee AOC is contained within 775 square miles of the river and includes several creeks. The environmental problems were caused by sediment contamination and agricultural runoff. The runoff caused large amounts of phosphorus to enter the river, eventually leading to cultural eutrophication in Lake Erie. Sediments at the site contained high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals, which came from old dumps, contaminated industrial sites, combined sewer overflows and disposal of dredged materials.
A 2006 remedial action plan for the AOC identified 10 "beneficial use impairments" caused by the pollution:
There are several small islands in the section of the Maumee River in northwest Ohio. The names of the islands are:
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the annual walleye run up the Maumee River is one of the largest migrations of riverbound walleyes east of the Mississippi. The migration of the walleye normally starts in early March and runs through the end of April. Although the first week of April is "historically" the peak of the migration, it varies according to environmental conditions. When river flows rise due to snow melt-off and the river water temperature reaches 40 to 50 °F (4 to 10 °C), the migration begins. Walleye come to spawn from the western end of Lake Erie and the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair in Michigan. The most popular method of fishing for the migrating walleye is by wading out into the river and casting.