Support for more conservation work is coming to the Delaware River Watershed. For the first time, dedicated federal funding has been secured to support watershed conservation and restoration. $4.3 million in funding has been designated for a new Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund that will build on the great work local stewards have been doing as part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. It will support conservation and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat, clean water investments, and projects to improve recreational opportunities and public access within the watershed.
“We’ll see the $5 million applied throughout the Delaware River Basin — New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The whole space has the opportunity to take this funding and put it to work for water quality, for wildlife and for outdoor recreation,” John Cecil of New Jersey Audubon told NJTV News. This federal funding is an acknowledgement of the national importance of the Delaware River Watershed, which supplies drinking water to 15 million people in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who championed the funding, said in InsiderNJ, “Millions of residents from across the region rely on a healthy and vibrant Delaware River as a source of drinking water. This funding will help protect the Delaware for future generations.”
The new Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is intended to identify unfunded conservation and restoration priorities in the basin. Mike Slattery, Delaware River Watershed Coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service told Delaware Public Radio that priority projects could include dam removal, farm field runoff reduction or coastal community protection. Grant applications are due September 27.
Image: Kilgour Spur, credit David Soete