Throughout our region, residents rarely think twice about turning on their taps and receiving clean water to drink, clean, and cook with. The Delaware River Watershed alone provides clean water an estimated 13.3 million Americans, roughly 4 percent of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, clean water protections are threatened by the current Administration’s proposed redefining of the Waters of the United States rule under the Clean Water Act.
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the State Policy Lead for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, is proud to announce New Jersey’s 2019 State Priorities. Along with the Coalition’s federal policy priorities, State Lead organizations are encouraged during the meeting to adopt their own, state-specific priorities, that complement the watershed-wide adopted priorities.
On March 12, 2019, 39 individuals from 25 Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed member organizations went to Washington D.C. for the Coalition’s annual Delaware River Watershed Hill Day. In total, organizations met with a total of 29 Congressional offices that represent the watershed states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Coalition thanked Members of Congress for their support of federal clean water funding and protections and advocated for 2019 policy priorities, which included the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Clean Water Act. Clean water advocates from all over the watershed ensured that Members of Congress know that clean water is a priority for the Delaware River, its tributaries, and the people and wildlife that call it home.
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 decisions made by our nation’s leaders today will impact generations to come. This statement couldn’t be truer of investment in our natural resources, including life-sustaining water. Waterways within the Delaware River Watershed provide drinking water, recreation, wildlife habitat, and economic stimulus for New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
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.
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….
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!