Transcribed from the Wellsville Daily Reporter by Crist Middaugh.


Passing through….Jericho Hill
By Ly Kesse
Staff Writer

Alfred - Brooding over the village, Jericho Hill is a part of a sub-continental divide system winding its way through Allegany County.

 Jericho Hill Alfred NY

Allegany County is a waterbed for three major river systems, all of which eventually feed into the Atlantic Ocean by vastly different routes, according to soil scientist John Wulforst, of the Allegany County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The major rivers fed from the county are:

The Susquehanna River, which winds it way through Pennsylvania, finally emptying into the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

The Genesee River, which empties into Lake Ontario and hence the St. Lawrence seaway, also has tributaries in Allegany County, according to Wulforst.

The Allegheny River, which feeds into the Ohio river, also has some of its tributaries in the county, he said. The Ohio River feeds into the Mississippi River, which finally empties into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans.

All the divides in Allegany involve breaks between two river systems, he said. However, the division between the Genesee and the Susquehanna and the division between the Genesee and Allegheny systems come together at a high point in Pennsylvania, with a 2550 foot elevation. That high point forms a three way break. The Jericho Hill break is about 2300 feet, while the Alma hill break is 2548 feet, he said. Alma Hill, the high point in western New York, is part of break between the Allegheny and Genesee river systems.

Jericho Hill is part of a ridge and valley formation dividing the Susquehanna River system from the Genesee River system, he said. The north and east side of the hill feeds Caneadea Creek, which feeds into the Susquehanna. The west and south side of the hill feeds Foster Lake and Vandermark Creek, a part of the Genesee River system.

Such watershed breaks, directing streams and rivers east or west, occur up and down the Appalachian Mountains, Wulforst said. Although similar to the Rocky Mountains continental divide, this is considered only a subcontinental divide as all the water eventually feeds into the Atlantic Ocean rather then two different oceans.

Although Allegany County may not have hills higher than those in Pennsylvania, the watershed breaks are determined by the elevation of the valleys, rather than the elevation of the hills.

Much of Pennsylvania was never covered with glaciers, Wulforst said. As a result little glacial deposit was left in the valleys.

Though the hills of Pennsylvania may be higher, the valleys are also lower, which is why Allegany County feeds the Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers.