North River is located in the northernmost part of the Petitcodiac River watershed. The total watershed area of North River is 264 sq km.
The predominant land use in this watershed is agricultural, with a golf course within its drainage boundaries. These are likely the cause of increased nutrient and bacteria levels in the river during spring and early summer. The riparian zone along North River is well vegetated which helps to protect it from the effects of anthropogenic activity. The substrate of North River is characterized as rock and cobble with some sand and silt.
A tributary of the North River, Bennett Brook, drains approximately 44km2. A nearby salt spring that is rich in chlorides and sodium causes high salinity. This spring is of natural occurrence due to the underlying geology.