The Delaware River is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, extending more than 300 miles from the juncture of its East and West Branches in Hancock NY to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The Watershed contains over 12,000 square miles of land in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware (as well as a tiny fraction of Maryland), in addition to more than 200 tributaries and the nearly 800 square mile Delaware Estuary and Bay. Roughly 50 percent of the Watershed is forested and it also contains vast wetlands, providing vital habitat and safeguarding water quality. The Watershed is home to more than 8 million people, and provides drinking water for a similar number living outside its boundaries. Consequently, millions of people in the mid-Atlantic depend on the Delaware River Watershed as a source of clean water, an economic engine for the region, and a place of recreation. – Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
Our Upstream Team of Jon Musselman (Upstream Municipal Watershed Coordinator) and Alex Cooper (Community Watershed Specialist), and Julie Slavet (Executive Director) joined with fellow Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) partners at the Inn at Pocono Manor earlier this month for the two day Winter Gathering organized by the Institute for Conservation Leadership (ICL). We enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the city, connect with colleagues both old and new, and re-focus our energies.
The DRWI, developed and led by the William Penn Foundation, brings together organizations working strategically to protect and improve the Delaware River, its tributaries, and surrounding lands and communities. It is exciting to see the development of a common vision, and how relationships among diverse organizations are developing..from the headwaters in New York all the way to the Delaware Estuary. The first projects funded through the Delaware River Restoration Fund of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are starting to be implemented, including our two projects in Abington.
Our watershed is one of the most urbanized sub-watersheds in the Delaware River watershed. All of our water drains into the same river that starts in mountain springs up north, and flows through over 100 miles of forests, past river communities and small cities, to eventually reach Philadelphia. We face very different challenges than many of our partners upstream. Our watershed is extensively developed, with stormwater runoff and loss of natural habitat as our most serious issues. Through our participation in the greater Delaware River Basin vision, we are working diligently to increase watershed concern, stewardship, and advocacy in both our watershed and the larger Delaware River Basin.