Funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program was approved by the House Appropriations Committee today. This is an important step in the federal budgeting process that will allow money to flow to on-the-ground restoration projects throughout the Delaware River Watershed.
“We’re thrilled to see Congress prioritize this type of non-regulatory program that supports local conservation efforts,” said Maddy Urbish, Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “It is a testament to the bipartisan support for protecting and restoring the natural resources of our region that provide clean, reliable water for people, businesses, and fish and wildlife.”
The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program was established last year following passage of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.
Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA), who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, remarked he was happy to see “funding was specifically included for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program...to help preserve and protect the Delaware River Basin through providing grant programs to promote conservation efforts." Additionally, Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, expressed his support for the inclusion of funding for the region.
The non-regulatory program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will identify, prioritize, and implement conservation projects throughout the watershed while supporting these efforts through technical assistance and grants. The House Appropriations bill provides $5 million for fiscal year 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017.
“Funding the program is a smart investment” said Liz Deardorff, director of Clean Water Supply for American Rivers. “The program will leverage the expertise of multiple experts, promote partnerships, and coordinate resources to address critical needs of the Delaware River Basin, its habitat, clean water, and supply for communities from the Delaware Water Gap to the Delaware Estuary.”
Next, the bill will go before the full House of Representatives for a vote. The same process must also be completed in the Senate before the legislation can be passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. The Coalition will continue to advocate for robust funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program and ensure the non-profit community has a voice in the program's development and implementation.