Delaware River Basin Restoration Program Clears First Funding Hurdle

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.

Photograph by Stephen Harris.

Photograph by Stephen Harris.

EPA Moves to Rollback Clean Water Protections

Today, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency is moving forward with a rule to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, led by New Jersey Audubon and National Wildlife Federation, and its partners are deeply dismayed by this action. Repealing the Clean Water Rule threatens the water resources of the entire nation, including the Delaware River Watershed, which supplies clean and reliable drinking water to over 15 million people.

Conservation in the Delaware at Stake in Trump Administration Budget Proposal

President Trump released a more detailed budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 recommending severe cuts to the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other areas. If enacted, these reductions would result in the elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Program, and other geographic watershed programs, as well as the National Estuary Program and critical water quality research and support grants that go directly to the states. This would halt critical work around the country that has shown real success in protecting, preserving, and restoring our nation’s waters.

Firm stance on Flexible Flow Management Plan could have big impacts for the Delaware River

The management of the New York City Delaware River reservoirs near the top of the watershed has many implications for the entire basin. Water releases from the reservoirs are used to meet downstream flow targets, repel the northward migration of the salt front from the Delaware Bay, maximize recreational opportunities, and ensure healthy aquatic habitat. 

Presidential Budget Takes Aim at Restoration Programs Nationwide

Yesterday, President Trump released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 recommending the elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Program, and other geographic watershed programs – a total reduction of $427 million from last year’s support. This would bring to a standstill these critical programs aimed at protecting, preserving, and restoring our nation's waters.