While some pundits debate whether the November midterms exhibited a "blue wave" nationally, the Delaware River Watershed certainly showcased the phenomena. Democrats flipped a total of nine seats. The watershed is now represented by 18 Democrats and three Republicans. The Coalition welcomes 11 new members to the Delaware Watershed House delegation! Of significance, the 116th Congress will see a record number of women and racially diverse representatives including five women newly elected within the boundaries of the watershed.
On November 27th the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, New Jersey Audubon, and New Jersey League of Conservation Voters delivered 2,760 petition signatures to Governor Phil Murphy as part of National Wildlife Federation’s “4 the Delaware” campaign. The state’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy, accepted the petition signatures and received a briefing on the “4 the Delaware” campaign from the delivering organizations. The delivery to Governor Murphy is one of three actions taking place across the Delaware River Basin on November 27th and 28th. Governor Murphy (NJ), Governor Cuomo (NY), and Governor Wolf (PA) will all receive in-person petition deliveries, with a total of 8,129 petition signatures delivered throughout the basin.
Water shapes the State of Delaware. From the bustling city-scape of Wilmington to the quaint store fronts of Bethany Beach; the headwaters of Nanticoke to the Delaware Bay, water plays an important role in Delaware’s economy, health, and environment. The second smallest state is home to 25 miles of coastline, 500 square miles of wetlands, 540 square miles of bay, 2,900 acres of lakes and ponds, and 4,500 miles of rivers and streams. With a geography knitted together by waterways, Delaware’s waters provide $7 billion to the regional economy, 70,000 jobs, and $2 billion in wages. Why, then, is Delaware facing substantial water quality and flooding issues?
The fluttering sound of laughter rising over the splashing of water, the satisfaction of finding the perfect spot to pitch a tent that gives you a vibrant view of the sunset along the river, the stories told by campfire that you’ll forget in the morning but meant so much in the moment-- these are all memories. While one may not find these memories listed in any text book, they all make up one’s own personal history.
This story is about planting trees along the East Branch Delaware River on October 20. First, I want to tell the tale of how a few dedicated tree planters got out on a cold, rainy October day. It started three years ago with a Letter to the Editor in the Catskill Mountain News by local fishing guide Lenny Millen. He reasoned that the poor trout fishery in the East Branch above the Pepacton Reservoir, was due to an old silted-in millpond (Wawaka Lake) that caused thermal impairments downstream on a 13 mile stretch of the river – especially during the warm summer months. It made a lot of sense and I contacted Lenny and a friendship and a partnership has developed since.
There’s strength in numbers and power in working together. This is what we believe at the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and why we invite all 131 of our member organizations to our annual Delaware River Watershed Forum. Going on its 6th year, the Forum took place on September 25-26 in Cape May, NJ. Over 240 attendees joined us to share information, build new relationships, and coordinate to drive a collective vision to protect and steward the Delaware River Basin’s natural resources. Topics emphasized this year included Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and National Wildlife Federation’s 4theDelaware campaign.
Congressman Brendan Boyle, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, Riverfront North Partnership, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, and Pennsylvania Environmental Council gathered for a press conference in Lardner’s Point Park on October 24, 2018 to advocate for 2019 federal funding for Delaware River Basin states, including Pennsylvania. The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) received $5 million for fiscal year 2018 and stakeholders are now encouraging Congress to increase the funding to $6 million for fiscal year 2019. On September 28th, Congress did not vote on the fiscal year 2019 Department of Interior bill, which contains DRBRP funding. Instead, Congress passed a continuing resolution, giving them until December 7th to act.
The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed held its 6th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum in Cape May, NJ on September 25th and 26th. About 250 people attended the two-day event, which provided a platform to share information and learn about a variety of efforts underway to protect the Delaware River Watershed. The Forum focused on how to mobilize around issues and policies that impact the watershed to ensure a healthy river basin for future generations. Additionally, the Forum delved into how to reach new audiences and ensure all underrepresented, underserved, and overburdened communities share equitable access and benefits of clean water.