Joining Together in the Delaware River Watershed: The Winner of the Delaware River Means “Togetherness” Contest

Joining Together in the Delaware River Watershed: The Winner of the Delaware River Means “Togetherness” Contest

By Rita Yelda, Outreach & Communications Manager, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed

 Matt B. and Madi celebrating their win of the Delaware River Means "Togetherness" contest in front of the Delaware River in Easton, PA.

Matt B. and Madi celebrating their win of the Delaware River Means "Togetherness" contest in front of the Delaware River in Easton, PA.

Imagine that you’re out enjoying the Delaware River on a canoe and the nighttime slowly sneaks up on you. The river winds left and right, and the surrounding trees loom above you as the sky darkens. Though not recommended, this scary scenario led to a prize-winning photo in the Delaware River Means “Togetherness” contest.

The Delaware River Watershed crosses through mountains, valleys, cities, and rural landscapes from the headwaters in New York, and down through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The Delaware River means different things to different people, from boaters and anglers, to photographers and bird-watchers. The Appalachian Mountain Club launched the Delaware River Means contest to capture these different experiences and highlight the varied importance of the river with a four-phased contest.

Matt B. won the “Togetherness” phase of the contest by submitting a photo of his daughter Madi canoeing on the Delaware. “My daughter and I took a canoe trip from the Delaware Water Gap back down to our hometown of Easton, PA. I miscalculated how long the trip was going to take and was getting a bit spooked we would be traveling in the dark down the river,” said Matt. “All things said and done, we made it home in the daylight and I got one of my favorite pictures of her. It was a great day we are sure to recreate again.”

 Matt's winning photo for the "Togetherness" phase of the Delaware River Means contest.

Matt's winning photo for the "Togetherness" phase of the Delaware River Means contest.

Matt and his family have always enjoyed the beauty and recreation the Delaware River offers, and currently live in Easton, PA, with the river nearby. The day of the winning photo, his daughter Madi received a Junior River Ranger badge from the Delaware Water Gap. Matt’s father often enjoys the Delaware through kayaking, and when Matt was younger he lived in Williams Township, where the river was practically his backyard. “I lived close enough that I could walk to the Delaware River, so during the summers I would ride my bike or walk down to go fishing, skim rocks, swim, and just play in the streams,” added Matt. “I was always taught to have fun around the river, but also respect it at the same time because it can get nasty. But it’s been a constant source of recreation for me.”

For Matt’s family and for many who live and visit the watershed – the Delaware River brings people together. Matt’s winning photo is a heart-warming example of father and daughter venturing out to enjoy the river together, and the adventures for Matt and his family aren’t over yet! Matt’s prize for the winning photo was a Marmot Halo tent, big enough for six people to enjoy together for camping this summer. “I’d like to take the canoe out again, go up a little bit farther and tent out a night on the way back down,” says Matt.

The Delaware is not only a source of “Togetherness,” like the contest suggests, but the final phase of the Delaware River Means contest focuses on the “History” of the river. Whether it’s the history of a nation, a city, or a family, the Delaware has played a significant role in shaping the region’s history. Use your photo to illustrate how the Delaware River represents history for you, and you’ll be entered to win a weekend trip to a historic bed and breakfast. You will also be entered to win the Delaware River Means grand prize: a stand-up paddleboard package!

 Matt and Madi receiving their contest prize, a Marmot Halo tent, from Margaret Wilson of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Matt and Madi receiving their contest prize, a Marmot Halo tent, from Margaret Wilson of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Entering the next phase of the Delaware River Means contest is easy. For Matt, the winner of the “Togetherness” phase of the contest, it was as simple as sharing a snapshot. “I had a great picture and decided I wanted to share it with everybody because it’s one of my favorite pictures of my daughter Madi,” said Matt. You can share your photo and story about the Delaware River at www.DelawareRiverMeans.com.

Be sure to venture out into the Delaware River Watershed while the weather is still nice to enjoy the camping, boating, fishing, and other fun activities that bring us together. But if you find yourself about to hop in a canoe or kayak, be sure to follow Matt’s sage advice: “Leave enough time to see what you want to see on the Delaware before it gets dark.”

NFWF and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announce Launch of New Fund to Support Delaware Watershed Conservation Efforts

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the launch of the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (DWCF), a competitive grant and technical assistance program of $4.3 million that will provide new support for the protection, restoration and conservation of fish and wildlife habitats in the Delaware River Watershed, which provides drinking water for more than 15 million people.

The Invasive New Zealand Mud Snail Spotted in the Delaware River Watershed

Call it “Snailzilla” or “the Snailpocalypse,” but the New Zealand mud snail is an invasive species that is no laughing matter. Just this month, the mud snail’s presence was recorded in the Musconetcong River in New Jersey and the Little Lehigh River in Pennsylvania - the first two sightings in the Delaware River Watershed. The mud snail has the potential to rapidly reproduce through cloning and displace native macroinvertebrates. Macroinvertebrates include insects, snails, worms, algae, bacteria, and fungi that play key roles in the ecosystems they inhabit. Displacing native macroinvertebrates can have upstream affects in the food chain, by pushing out native aquatic insect larva and snail populations that feed fish and insect-eating terrestrial species like bats, dragonflies, and birds.

Getting a Bird’s-Eye View of the Delaware River with Lighthawk

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) staff works to unite organizations and move policy forward that benefits the Delaware River Basin. To accomplish this, we’re often in meetings, on the phone, or sitting behind a computer screen. It’s a rare day when we’re able to venture out into the watershed, which is why when Lighthawk offered to take our staff up in a plane over the Delaware River – we “flew” at the opportunity! Lighthawk is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1979 with one man and a borrowed plane, and now they utilize over 200 volunteer pilots across the U.S. who provide conservation organizations, scientists, and other environmental experts the powerful perspective of flight.

U.S. Senator Booker and Coalition Stand up for New Jersey’s Waterways

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s office, New Jersey Audubon, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Youth Corps of Phillipsburg, North Jersey RC&D, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) gathered for a press conference Tuesday to discuss the significance New Jersey plays within Delaware River Basin and new funding coming to the state. For the first time in history, dedicated federal funding to Delaware River states was secured through the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations omnibus bill in the amount of $5 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP).

U.S. Senator Carper, U.S. Senator Coons, and Coalition Stand Up for Delaware’s Waterways

U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, Ducks Unlimited, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gathered for a press conference Friday to discuss the significance Delaware plays within Delaware River Basin and new funding coming to the state. For the first time in history, dedicated federal funding to Delaware River Basin states was secured through the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations omnibus bill in the amount of $5 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP).

An Incoming Tide: Introducing the New Director of CDRW

Starting in June 2018, I am delighted to announce that I have joined the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) team as Director. I join CDRW with several years’ experience in coalition building, communications, and policy strategy - a skill set I'm excited to utilize with the Coalition! I look forward to meeting with partners to talk through priorities and goals, but until then, here is a little bit about myself and how I came to work for the Coalition.

The 2018 Brandywine-Christina State of the Watershed Report

The recently-released Brandywine-Christina State of the Watershed report provides an overview of the watershed, along with the current trends and conditions of several indicators of watershed health. The report was a collaborative effort of several partners in the Brandywine-Christina Watershed, including: The Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, Stroud Water Research Center, Natural Lands, Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, The Nature Conservancy in Delaware, the University of Delaware Water Resources Center, and the Chester County Water Resources Authority. The report was funded by the William Penn Foundation through the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.