New Jersey Falls Short in Funding the Delaware River Basin Commission

New Jersey Falls Short in Funding the Delaware River Basin Commission

Budget Includes $693,000 Instead of Full Share Funding

PC: Nicholas Tonelli

PC: Nicholas Tonelli

In the just-released New Jersey 2020 fiscal year budget, funding fell $200,000 short for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a four-state agency charged with overseeing water quality and quantity of the Delaware River Basin. In response, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, a network of over 140 nonprofits located within the four states of the Basin (NY, NJ, PA, DE) have prepared the following statement:

PC: Delaware River Basin Commission

PC: Delaware River Basin Commission

“The Delaware River Basin Commission continues to face significant budget gaps, though we rely on them to ensure the future of the Delaware River. We are discouraged by New Jersey’s decision to not fund the Delaware River Basin Commission at the full share level of $893,000. The Basin provides 1.9 million New Jerseyans with water for drinking, washing, and farming; and takes up about forty-percent of the state’s land area, making it a critical resource that must be invested in,” says Sandra Meola, Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “Since 2014, New Jersey has not met the funding needs of the Delaware River Basin Commission, impacting the commission’s ability to hire staff, conduct monitoring, and move forward research that our water resources rely on. All four basin states and the federal government must contribute their agreed upon funding in order to support the Commission’s clean water programs, research, and protections.”

Under an agreement reached in 1988, the annual contribution of each state to the DRBC should be: New Jersey $893,000 (25%), Delaware $447,000 (12.5%), New York $626,000 (17.5%), Pennsylvania $893,000 (25%) and the United States $715,000 (20%). Including water diverted out of the Basin via the Delaware & Raritan canal, the number over New Jerseyans served jumps to 2.6 million.

 For more information, contact Rita Yelda, Rita.Yelda@njaudubon.org, 732-979-0655.

CDRW Comes to Harrisburg: 2019 Pennsylvania Clean Water Education Day

On May 1, 2019, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) and Choose Clean Water (CCW) joined forces to storm Harrisburg for the second annual Pennsylvania Clean Water Education Day spearheaded by PennFuture. In total, about thirty individuals from both organizations came together during at the state capitol to educate lawmakers in a series of meetings, literature drop-offs, and a press conference highlighting the importance of clean water. Twenty-three meetings with Pennsylvania senators and house members were held that day along with thirty literature drop-offs. With 13 million people relying on the Delaware River Basin for water, clean water must take priority for the health, safety, and the economy of the region.

Benefits to Delaware River Watershed Communities from the Land & Water Conservation Fund

With the spring weather breaking into warm summer days, now is the perfect time to enjoy the green, open spaces of the watershed. The Delaware River Watershed has become a haven for outdoor recreation, from hiking and biking to watercraft activities like kayaking and tubing. Outdoor recreation in the watershed not only brings families together for memorable bonding experiences, but it succeeds in bringing together like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. Preservation of green, open spaces is an asset to communities while also making economic sense, since outdoor recreation brings in $887 billion annually on a national level. Safeguarding recreation by conserving outdoor spaces in the watershed is critical, which is why the Congress must fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Governors of DE, NJ, and PA Commit to Restoring the Delaware River Watershed  

On May 16, 2019 in Philadelphia, the governors of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania made a shared commitment to protect the Delaware River Watershed and agreed to work as equal partners to grow the region’s economy and protect America’s “founding waterway.” The Governors signed a proclamation agreeing to work together to make the Delaware River Basin the national model for sustainable economic development, drinkable clean water, healthy fish and wildlife populations, outdoor recreation and nature-based climate resilience.

The Clean Water Act is at Risk: Take Action by April 15th

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.

Setting Legislative Priorities for the Delaware River Watershed in NJ

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.

Advocating for Clean Water at the 2019 Delaware River Watershed Hill Day

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.

NY, NJ, DE, and PA Waterways to Benefit from Infusion of Delaware River Basin Funds

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.