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Creeks, streams & rivers

Posted by Lotg on December 05, 2003

In Reply to: Creeks, streams & rivers posted by Al on December 05, 2003

: : : : What's the difference between a creek and a stream. Apart from the fact that in Australia we tend more to creeks than streams, which I've always assumed was just a terminology thing.

: : : : And who decides when a creek becomes a river? In northern NSW & Qld, some of the creeks are huge, way bigger than most rivers down south. So what denotes a river over a creek?

: : : In the US, if memory serves, a length of moving water officially becomes a river when it reaches 100 miles.

: : : Creeks, streams -- and more names for less-than-rivers, too. Becks...runs (as in Bull Run, Virginia)...branches...kills (this in New York State, e.g., Catskills)...burns (that sounds Scots)...rills. But the difference between them? Er, local nomenclature?

: : In U.S. usage, streams include creeks (small) and rivers (large).

: >"..who decides.." In the US the USGS may do all the official naming. However there is some bureaucratic mechanism whereby anyone can pick anything not previously named but which shows up on a USGS map and submit a name for it. So if one can find a waterway on USGS map that is not already named you may submit "PhraseFinder Creek" and it may be accepted.

I have several tiny unnamed creeks on my property in northern NSW (Aust). So I set about to name them and announced it around the traps, and people have started using those names (cos they're silly names of course, so people remember them). Anyway, the other day I had to call an authority out to the farm to inspect an old cattle dip for chemicals, and he asked me if it was between two of my newly named creeks and to my astonishment, he used my names. I have registered these nowhere, yet this govt employee had the names written in some document he had. Methinks, sometimes these names simply evolve. It will be interesting to see how 'official' my self-named creeks become.