Shabakunk Creek

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Shabakunk Creek
2013-05-04 15 37 44 View down the Shabakunk Creek just below Colonial Lake in Colonial Lake Park, Lawrence Township, New Jersey.jpg
The Shabakunk Creek below Colonial Lake
Country United States
State New Jersey
Region Mercer County
Part of Assunpink Creek
 - right The West Branch
Primary source The main branch
 - location Hopewell Township
 - elevation 217 ft (66 m)
 - coordinates 40°18′38″N 74°45′50″W / 40.31056°N 74.76389°W / 40.31056; -74.76389
Secondary source The West Branch
 - location Ewing Township
 - elevation 197 ft (60 m)
 - coordinates 40°16′50″N 74°48′49″W / 40.28056°N 74.81361°W / 40.28056; -74.81361
Source confluence
 - elevation 59 ft (18 m)
 - coordinates 40°15′4″N 74°44′57″W / 40.25111°N 74.74917°W / 40.25111; -74.74917
Mouth Assunpink Creek
 - location Lawrence Township
 - elevation 37 ft (11 m)
 - coordinates 40°14′58″N 74°43′9″W / 40.24944°N 74.71917°W / 40.24944; -74.71917Coordinates: 40°14′58″N 74°43′9″W / 40.24944°N 74.71917°W / 40.24944; -74.71917

The Shabakunk Creek is a tributary of the Assunpink Creek in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States.[1] Via the Assunpink, its water ultimately flows into the Delaware River. The name Shabakunk is from the Lenape word meaning "shore land".[2]


Main branch

The 7.9-mile-long (12.7 km) main branch of the Shabakunk Creek is born near what was once known as Twin Pine Airport in Hopewell Township. Flowing southwards, it flows under Pennington-Lawrenceville Road and then passes underneath I-95, joining with several unnamed tributaries in the process. From this point, it continues southward into Ewing, crosses underneath Bull Run Road and Ewingville Road, and enters the 11-acre Lake Sylva on the campus of The College of New Jersey.[3]

File:Shabakunk Creek map.png
Map of the Shabakunk Creek

Below Lake Sylva, the Shabakunk flows southeastward, passing under Green Lane and then Ewingville Road for a second time. For a short distance it forms the border of Ewing and Lawrence townships before joining with the West Branch Shabakunk Creek, turning eastward and completely entering Lawrence. After passing underneath Lawrence Road, Princeton Pike and Brunswick Pike, the stream is impounded within Colonial Lake. Below Colonial Lake, the stream crosses underneath the Trenton Freeway and the Delaware and Raritan Canal before finally reaching its terminus at the Assunpink Creek.

View southeast along the West Branch Shabakunk Creek from the Rutledge Avenue Footbridge.

West Branch

The 5.3-mile-long (8.5 km) West Branch of the Shabakunk Creek emerges from the airfield of Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing. From there, it flows generally southeastward, quickly joining with several small, unnamed tributaries while passing underneath the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad (formerly owned by the Reading Railroad, now owned by Conrail), Scotch Road and Upper Ferry Road. It then passes underneath Carlton Avenue, Lower Ferry Road, Stratford Avenue, Central Avenue, North Olden Avenue Extension, Pennington Road, Parkside Avenue and Prospect Street. At this point it turns northeasterly, passes under North Olden Avenue Extension again and finally flows underneath Spruce Street. Shortly thereafter it meets the main branch at the Ewing/Lawrence border. Much of the West Branch Shabakunk Creek's course between Pennington Road and Spruce Street is canalized due to heavy commercial development, with at least one structure built directly over the stream.


File:West Branch Shabakunk Flood Hazard Areas.png
Map of flood hazard areas along the West Branch Shabakunk Creek in Ewing Township, produced by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in its report, "Environmental Resource Inventory for the Township of Ewing, Mercer County, New Jersey"

Revolutionary War

Under the command of Colonel Edward Hand, a successful delaying action was fought at the Shabakunk Creek near Lawrence Road which prevented British forces from reaching Trenton before nightfall on January 2, 1777. This skirmish was part of the Second Battle of Trenton.[4]

1996 flooding and associated improvements

On June 12, 1996, a 100-year flash flood occurred on the West Branch Shabakunk Creek in Ewing. Over 7 inches of rain fell in just 4 hours, resulting in $10 million in damages and $24 million in municipal overtime costs due to cleanup efforts (in 1996 dollars). Over 175 residences and 75 businesses were affected, and some businesses were closed for nearly 2 weeks due to the cleanup and repair of damage. As a result, a $4.2 million flood and erosion control project was initiated to stabilize the banks and create storm water detention basins along the more heavily developed central and southern portions of the creek's course.[5][6]

See also


  1. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed May 26, 2013
  2. "The Lawrence Nature Center". Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  3. "Environmental Resource Inventory for the Township of Ewing, Mercer County, New Jersey" (PDF). Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  4. "Revolutionary War Site - Shabakunk Creek Marker". Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  5. "Flood control project brings economic stability". Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  6. "Ewing Township Erosion Control". Retrieved May 27, 2013. 

External links