101 Cape Fear River Facts: Is That Its Real Name? Find Out! | Kidadl


101 Cape Fear River Facts: Is That Its Real Name? Find Out!

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The Cape Fear River of North Carolina is one of the most important aquatic systems of not just the state, but the whole country.

The Cape Fear River starts within the boundaries of North Carolina and has its mouth in the Atlantic. Its journey covers a total 0f 191 mi (307.4 km), which covers a number of major cities, towns, and counties.

The Cape Fear River basin serves a number of important functions, which further strengthen the economic growth of the state and the whole country. In fact, since the times of the early settlers, this river has been an important system to maintain transportation and hence, trade. Apart from trade, the biological diversity of the river is quite exceptional. You might catch a glimpse of the West Indian manatee in the waters of this river. The river is also home to various commercial fish, as well as rare fish varieties.

Unfortunately, through the years, the Cape Fear River has been subjected to several pollutants from the industries and residential areas along its bank. This has led to a degradation in the water quality of the river. Continual research has been going on, in order to ensure the river remains as clean as possible.

To learn more about the Cape Fear River, keep reading! You can also check out Chang Jiang river facts and Chicago river facts.

Fun Facts About The Cape Fear River 

Present in North Carolina, the Cape Fear River is one of the most well-known river systems in the United States, and hence, a ton of fun and interesting facts are associated with this water body.

The Cape Fear River flows for a total distance of 191 mi (307.4 km), and has a basin size of 9120.6 sq. mi (23622.2 sq. km), making it quite a majestic aquatic system, and the largest river in the state of North Carolina. Out of a total of 100 counties in North Carolina, the tributaries of the Cape Fear River flow in 25 states. Some of the well-known tributaries of this river are the Gulf Creek, Northeast Cape Fear River, Ellis Creek, and Cedar Creek. The river is also the site for a number of bridges.

Did you know that the nickname for North Carolina originated from the Cape Fear River? Well, it did! North Carolina is often referred to as the 'Tar Heel State'. This name was given due to the fact that along the Cape Fear River, there is the presence of vast pine plantations.

The naming history of the Cape Fear River itself is also quite fascinating. Around the year 1526, this river was named 'Rio Jordan' by Spanish explorers. Later it came to be known by other names like the Clarendon River and Charles River, before getting the name we know now.

The Cape Fear River watershed serves as a home to a large population of people. In fact, in recent years, the population has only been growing. This has mainly been a result of the urbanization and suburbanization that has taken place in the areas surrounding this river system.

The famous Hollywood film 'Cape Fear', directed by Martin Scorsese, was shot in the regions surrounding the Cape Fear River.

Geographical Facts About The Cape Fear River 

The geography of the Cape Fear River makes for a fascinating read, as this river encompasses a large area and flows through several cities and counties. In addition, other geographical attributes of the Cape Fear River and river basin are also essential to learn about, in order to better understand the river.

The Cape Fear River system has its source along the region where the counties of Lee and Chatham have their boundary. This river begins due to the confluence of the Haw River and Deep River. After flowing a distance of 191 mi (307.4 km), the river ultimately drains into the Atlantic Ocean. The region where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean is near Cape Fear, and this is how the river got its name. One of the most unique features of this river is the fact that it runs entirely within the boundaries of one state, North Carolina.

Overall, the Cape Fear River has a southeastern course of flow. Some of the towns and cities that lie on the path of the Cape Fear River are Elizabethtown, Fayetteville, Lillington, Southport, and Wilmington. It flows through the counties of Chatham, Lee, Bladen, and Columbus, among many others. Apart from flowing through these regions, the river furnishes drinking water to a number of major cities like Durham and Greensboro.

Between the Atlantic Ocean and Wilmington, the 35 mi (56.3 km) distance covered by the Cape Fear River basin is known as the Cape Fear Estuary. An estuary is defined as the meeting point of a river and the ocean. So, this part of the Cape Fear River basin is known as an estuary due to having both tidal and saltwater influence.

The Cape Fear River empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Fear.

Logistical Purposes Of The Cape Fear River 

The Cape Fear River basin serves a number of logistical purposes, which makes it an essential river in the country. Let us now take a look into the important functions of this river.

The Cape Fear River is well-known as being the most industrialized river basin, with many industries relying on the Cape Fear River to provide them with routes for transportation and also, freshwater. Interestingly, the river has always been used for a number of trade purposes. During earlier years, settlers along the Cape Fear River basin used the river to move their goods and resources downstream. Subsequently, more efforts were put into making navigation of this river easier. During the Colonial era, the river served as an important transportation route, connecting the incoming ships and vessels to the interiors of North Carolina.

At present times, the river is considerably more navigable, due to the construction of various dams and locks. The Cape Fear River watershed is also the location for Fort Bragg, which is one of the largest military installations in the whole world. Nearly 54,000 military personnel reside here. Apart from Fort Bragg, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the 82 Airborne Division, and the 18th Airbone Corps of the U.S. Army are also present here.

This majestic river also serves as the source of drinking water for many major regions in the state. A total of 33 reservoirs have been built in the basin of the Cape Fear River, with the B. Everett Jordan Reservoir being the largest of them all. However, unfortunately, the presence of serious contaminants in the water of this river is alarmingly affecting its quality.

Facts About The Cape Fear River's Ecosystem

The ecological diversity of the Cape Fear River is one of its most notable features, that certainly deserves a special mention. The ecosystem of this river sustains a large amount of plant and animal life, making it an essential and important part of nature.

The main aquatic systems observed in the Cape Fear River basin are rocky streams, blackwater rivers, and estuaries. All these ecosystems have helped provide a home to a number of important fish species. While earlier, migratory fish like river herring, striped bass, and sturgeon frequented this river, at present times, due to decreased water quality, these species are rarely observed. However, other species of fish, including the federally endangered Cape Fear shiner are found here. The Cape Fear River is also a well-known fishing spot in North Carolina, due to having nearly 95 species of recreational and commercial fish. However, nowadays it is not considered safe to consume these fish due to the degrading water quality.

Apart from fish, the waters of the Cape Fear River are also home to the West Indian manatee. Astonishingly, some species of sharks have also been observed in the southern waters of this river. Hence, the Cape Fear River may not be completely safe to swim in.

Along the coasts, the loggerhead sea turtle and the American alligator can be found. Birds like the red-cockaded woodpecker also grace the surrounding areas of the river with their presence.

Additionally, the Cape Fear estuary is home to a number of saltwater animals. This region is also used as a nursery for young crabs, fish, and shrimp, which further highlights the commercial value of the river.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 101 Cape Far River Facts: Is That Its Real Name? Find Out! then why not take a look at Chenab river facts or Chattahoochee river facts?

Written By
Srija Chanda

<p>An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.</p>

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