The Mattabesset River Watershed

The Mattabesset River Watershed is a valuable natural resource that spreads across fifteen Connecticut towns and drains into the Connecticut River.

Mattabesset River Watershed


(Click on map for larger image.)

  • The main stem length of the Mattabesset River is about 18 miles, and it falls about 460 feet in elevation.

  • Historically, its source is Smith Brothers Pond in Southington. A technical view today might consider its source to be Merimere Reservoir in Meriden, based upon the greatest waterway length and watershed area.

  • Its mouth is on the Connecticut River, where it forms the border between Middletown and Cromwell.

  • The Coginchaug River is the predominant tributary of the Mattabesset River, and some people view the Coginchaug as a separate watershed.

  • The total area of the watershed is 109 square miles, including 39 square miles in the Coginchaug River sub-watershed.

  • Willow Brook in New Britain is the tributary that drains the next largest area - 11 square miles.

  • Other major tributary brooks are Belcher Brook in Berlin (includes Hatchery Brook and Crooked Brook, draining eight square miles) and Sawmill Brook in Middletown (includes Fall Brook and Roaring Brook, draining seven square miles).

  • Nine reservoirs for public water supplies impound its waters. The largest is Shuttle Meadow Reservoir in New Britain, which is approximately 200 acres in size. The highest is Wasel Reservoir in Southington, at an elevation of 512 feet above sea level. Others are Adder, Merimere, Kenmere, Hallmere, Mount Higby and Laurel Brook reservoirs, and Harts Ponds.

  • Over 40 lakes and ponds are in the watershed. The largest is Silver Lake in Berlin/Meriden, 150 acres in area. Myer Huber Pond in Guilford is a source of the Coginchaug River.

  • Important watershed brooks by town include: Newington (Webster and Rockhole); Rocky Hill (Little/Cold Spring and Saw Mill); Cromwell (Cold Spring, Coles, Willow, and Chestnut); Durham (Pannalee). The Coginchaug River is important especially in the towns of Durham, Middlefield, and Middletown.

  • Boggy Meadow (also called Cromwell Meadows) is a large marsh that comprises the last few miles of the river. Its water level changes with the tide in the Atlantic Ocean, and the fact that it is freshwater (tidal waters are generally salt water) makes this an uncommon wildlife habitat.

  • Wadsworth Falls in Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield is a significant waterfall of the Coginchaug River.

  • The watershed lies in three counties and 15 towns, of which 8 towns have more than 33% of land area in the watershed.

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