NY, NJ, DE, and PA Waterways to Benefit from Infusion of Delaware River Basin Funds

NY, NJ, DE, and PA Waterways to Benefit from Infusion of Delaware River Basin Funds
After Seven Years, Coalition Celebrates Federal Funds Flowing to the Basin

Senator Coons, Senator Carper, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, USFWS, and NFWF at the March 22, 2019 press conference in Wilmington, DE.

Senator Coons, Senator Carper, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, USFWS, and NFWF at the March 22, 2019 press conference in Wilmington, DE.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is celebrating today as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation jointly announced the first round of 25 Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grant recipients totaling $4,140,000 in federal funds. This is the first time that dedicated federal funding has been allocated to on-the-ground projects that conserve and restore the Delaware River Basin (NY, NJ, PA, and DE) which provides 15 million people, including New York City and Philadelphia, with drinking water.

The Musconetcong River in Port Murray, NJ is among the Delaware River tributaries to benefit from the Delaware River Conservation Fund.

The Musconetcong River in Port Murray, NJ is among the Delaware River tributaries to benefit from the Delaware River Conservation Fund.

“Since our founding in 2012, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed has been working toward this milestone through our efforts to pass the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act and ensure a successful framework for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program. The Coalition worked diligently with Congress and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make this a reality and we are grateful to our members and close partners for playing a tremendous role in this effort,” said Sandra Meola, Director at New Jersey Audubon and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “The first set of grant awards and their associated conservation and restoration impact is a strong foundation for the Coalition to build upon as we continue to ensure the successful implementation of the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program and advocate for robust future funding.”

The Christina River, a major Delaware River tributary that flows through Wilmington, DE.

The Christina River, a major Delaware River tributary that flows through Wilmington, DE.

Of the 25 Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grantees, 15 are members of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed: Friends of the Upper Delaware River (NY), Trust for Public Land (NY), New Jersey Audubon (NJ), Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (NJ), American Littoral Society (NJ), Trout Unlimited (NJ and PA), Friends of Cherry Valley (PA), Ducks Unlimited (PA), Wildlands Conservancy (PA), Pennsylvania Resources Council (PA), Brandywine Red Clay Alliance (PA), Friends of the Wissahickon (PA), Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (PA), Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PA, NJ, and DE), and University of Delaware Water Resources Center (DE).

Delaware Bay shorebirds. Photo Credit: Chris Neff

Delaware Bay shorebirds. Photo Credit: Chris Neff

“New Jersey Audubon is dedicated to restoring Delaware River Watershed wildlife habitat and improving water quality. We’re grateful to receive two grants from the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund to continue this work,” said John Cecil, Vice President of Stewardship, New Jersey Audubon. “These funds will allow us tackle two major projects: restoring wetland function and creating habitat for American Black Duck in Northwestern New Jersey; and restoring and connecting wetland and upland habitats beneficial for water quality and Bog Turtle in the Upper Salem River in South Jersey.”

Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grants were awarded to organizations to address key issues facing the watershed, such as conserving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat, improving and maintaining water quality, sustaining and enhancing water management and reducing flood damage, and improving recreational opportunities and public access. A large pool of worthy projects was submitted for consideration, signifying the need for continued robust federal funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program.

Funding levels throughout each state are as follows:

  • New York received $437,525 for two in-state projects;

  • New Jersey received $1,127,764 for seven in-state projects and three multi-state projects;

  • Pennsylvania received $1,757,319 for eleven in-state projects and four multi-state projects;

  • Delaware received $241,000 for one in-state project and two multi-state projects;

  • Four multi-state projects received $490,392.

The Delaware River in Easton, PA.

The Delaware River in Easton, PA.

"We’re delighted that the new Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund will support bringing living shoreline technology to the freshwater urban areas of the Delaware Estuary and to work with partners such as the Philadelphia Water Department and states of Delaware and New Jersey," added Danielle Kreeger, Science Director, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. "During the funding period, we will find locations in Delaware and New Jersey where tidal, freshwater living shorelines would be effective in stabilizing stream erosion, buffering waves and flooding, and promoting improved water quality using natural means. We will also work with the Philadelphia Water Department to design and implement a portion of a freshwater mussel-based living shoreline for water quality and habitat enhancement along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia."

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation performed a preliminary analysis of expected outcomes from the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grants and discovered that across all the proposed projects:

  • 626 acres of wetland habitat will be restored;

  • 12 miles of riparian habitat will be restored;

  • 549 acres of floodplain will be restored;

  • 64 miles of stream habitat will be restored;

  • 1,406 acres of forest habitat will have improved management;

  • 18,310,710 gallons of stormwater will be prevented;

  • 12 miles of trails will be developed or improved;

  • 1,794 acres will have new or improved public access;

  • and 32 news jobs will be created by project investments.

"By utilizing Delaware Watershed Conservation funds, we will improve natural stream function and reduce stream erosion plaguing the Upper Delaware River in New York State. As we reduce accelerated sedimentation and enhance water flows to Upper Delaware tributaries, we are restoring aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife, supporting local jobs, and boosting the recreational value of the river," stated Jeff Skelding, Executive Director, Friends of the Upper Delaware River.

For a full list of all 25 projects funded, you can download it here.

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For more information, please contact Rita Yelda, rita.yelda@njaudubon.org, 732-979-0655.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is a network of 140+ non-governmental organizations in NY, NJ, PA, and DE dedicated to protecting and restoring the natural resources of the Delaware River Basin. To find out more, visit www.DelRiverWatershed.org

The Delaware River Means Photo Campaign’s Grand Finale: How Can You Stay Involved?

The Delaware River Watershed is an expansive area, tracing its borders around 12,800 square miles across four different states in the Northeast. It is an area as diverse in its fauna and flora as it is in its people and communities. With millions of different people living within the watershed, there is a multitude of backgrounds and perspectives and, more pointedly, endless opportunities for experiencing the Delaware River and the resources it has to offer. It was that desire to learn and share personal experiences that sparked the Delaware River Means photo campaign and now, over a year since its beginning, the initial photo campaign has reached its grand finale.

Delaware River Restoration and Conservation Awarded $6 Million for 2019

On February 15th, the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) received $6 million in funding as part of the fiscal year 2019 Interior Appropriations bill approved by Congress and signed by the President, a $1 million increase from last year. The DRBRP will provide much-needed technical assistance and grant funds to address the Delaware River Basin’s environmental challenges. This funding will support local governments, state governments, and nonprofits in NY, NJ, PA, and DE that are implementing on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects that combat critical issues like habitat degradation, invasive species, and climate change….

New Year, New Priorities: A Recap of CDRW’s Annual Member Meeting

January is a time for a fresh start and a chance to shake off the dust and get ready to work refreshed. With the new year comes new year’s resolutions, and personal goals that one wishes to focus on in the upcoming months. CDRW is among those joining in the new year traditions and, with the help of exemplary representatives of our various member groups, we are excited to announce that we have adopted an official list of our 2019 priorities!

Urban Promise Offering New Viewpoint of The Watershed for Camden Youth

When one thinks of the environment of the Delaware River Watershed, Camden, New Jersey might not be one of the first locations that comes to mind. Urban areas overall tend to be overlooked as integral parts of the watershed due to the concrete sprawl and lack of green, open spaces. But, as with most situations in life, there is more than what is just seen on the surface. Cities can hide a vast array of valuable wildlife and natural resources, especially a city like Camden that sits on the banks of two important rivers—the Delaware and the Cooper. One organization in the city is taking that idea and putting it into action. Through education of the youth in the area, UrbanPromise hopes to change the perspective the younger generation has on their local environment and broaden their future horizons.

A Vision for the Future: Restoring Petty’s Island

Blossoming spring buds, lush summer greenery, vibrant autumn leaves, and sparkling fresh winter snow—each season in the northeast has something naturally beautiful to offer for those who wish to explore the outdoors. No matter what the season may be, people in the four-state cradle of the Delaware River Watershed are constantly looking for safe and beautiful places to go outside. Accessible open spaces are an area of interest for environmental enthusiasts and organizations alike and, thanks to the collaborative efforts of a New Jersey state agency, the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust (NJNLT), the environmental community, and a private company, one new destination is on its way to being added to the hiking lists of people throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area—Petty’s Island.

Planning for the Future of the Upper Delaware River Watershed

I’m Molly Oliver and I was recently hired as the Policy Director for Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR). I’m a native of Delaware County, NY and a Registered Landscape Architect. I’ve spent the last five years working for Delaware County, NY in the Departments of Planning and Watershed Affairs, where I spent a significant amount of time working with FUDR and other watershed partners developing a comprehensive Stream Corridor Management Plan for the Upper Delaware River Tailwaters. I also worked on policy matters and local land use issues in the Upper Delaware River watershed above the NYC Delaware basin reservoirs.