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.
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.
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.
On October 14th, a brisk Fall Sunday afternoon, approximately 20 water-minded cyclists could be spotted cruising Wilmington, Delaware’s city streets as part of “Wheels for Water”. This water-themed cycling event was designed to showcase some of the city’s prominent water features and projects. The tour was a cooperative event between cycling experts from Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, water experts from the City of Wilmington’s Public Works Department, and Delaware’s Clean Water Alliance.
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.