The National Wild & Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Fewer than ¼ of 1% of all river miles in the United States are given the “National Wild & Scenic” designation. Therefore, it's notable that the the Delaware River Watershed has six National Wild & Scenic Rivers: the Upper Delaware, the Middle Delaware, the Lower Delaware, the Maurice River, the Musconetcong River, and the White Clay Creek Watershed. The Delaware River's main stem has 60% (180.7 miles) of its 301 miles designated as National Wild & Scenic.
It could have been far worse. The Upper Delaware River dodged a bullet this August when heavy rains and flooding washed out a railroad culvert, and a 63-car train carrying an assortment of waste materials, some of it toxic, derailed near Deposit, NY. Two rail cars plunged into the West Branch of the Delaware, home to one of the East Coast’s most prolific wild trout fisheries. An estimated 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the train’s punctured gas tanks into the river, leading to widespread reports of strong fuel odors and visible slicks for 30 miles downstream.
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters would like to congratulate Lisa J. Plevin to her appointment as Executive Director for the New Jersey Highlands Council. Lisa takes over the role after Margaret Nordstrom, who is stepping down after joining the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council staff six years ago. The Highlands Council is a 15-member appointed body tasked with implementation of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act of 2004. The Highlands Council is advised in its actions by its Executive Director, who serves as the chief administrative officer of the Council.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).