Dedicated to the Delaware:
CDRW Hosts Annual Member Meeting
by Rita Yelda
With the Delaware River Watershed spanning four states and hundreds of miles, it can be challenging for all the organizations working in the watershed to come together in the same room to create a plan of action for the mighty Delaware. That is, in part, why the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) brings member organizations together for the Annual Member Meeting at the start of each new year. The Annual Member Meeting is also an opportunity for our member organizations to vote on policy priorities that will guide our work in 2018. Forty-seven individuals from twenty-five organizations attended the day-long meeting, which this year was held at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ, just minutes away from the Delaware River that runs on one side of the city.
The Annual Member Meeting began with CDRW staff presenting accomplishments from 2017, which included watershed-wide planning, federal policies for a healthy watershed, and state-level support for clean water funding. In 2017, CDRW solicited feedback for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP), which included CDRW members and partners submitting recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. CDRW also acted as a unified voice to ensure federal policies and spending support restoration and protection of the Delaware River Basin through direct advocacy, outreach and education, and grassroots organizing throughout the region and in Washington, D.C.
This past year, CDRW educated members of Congress on key policy issues, including the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and other legislative matters through briefings, in-district engagements, and at the Delaware River Watershed Hill Day in March. At the Delaware River Hill Day, CDRW member organizations spent two days in Washington, D.C. to advocate for policy priorities, and attendees met with all 31 Congressional offices representing the Delaware River Watershed.
In 2017, CDRW also supported state efforts and policies to secure funding for clean water projects in the Delaware River Watershed, as identified by our State Outreach Lead Initiative, including writing letters of support, submitting public comments when the opportunity is available, endorsing issue campaigns, and distributing calls to action around pertinent issues. State Outreach Leads also had many accomplishments in 2017 in their home states while working on clean water conservation and policy.
In October 2017, CDRW also hosted the 5th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum in the Pocono Mountains, which welcomed over 230 attendees to the two-day conference. The event included 15 breakout sessions, four workshops, and five educational field trips, aimed at getting people engaged and working collaboratively to preserve and protect the Delaware.
The CDRW Annual Meeting this January was an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments as a coalition this past year, discuss and adopt 2018 policy priorities, and dive into opportunities to expand work at the state level through in-person discussions among New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware organizations about priorities for their states. CDRW’s adopted 2018 Priorities can be viewed online here. Additionally, pictures of the Annual Meeting are available for CDRW members to view and use; please just attribute the photos to CDRW. The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is looking forward to turning these priorities in to action in 2018, as we continue to be dedicated to the Delaware.