Monday, December 28, 2020

Approved Federal Budget Includes $10 Million For Delaware River Conservation

On December 28, the
Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed announced the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program received $10 million in funding as part of the fiscal year 2021 Interior Appropriations recently approved, a modest increase from $9.7 million last year. 

The DRBRP will provide technical assistance and grant funds in 2021 to address the Delaware River Basin’s environmental challenges in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. 

Early next year, government entities, nonprofit organizations, and schools within the basin can apply for funds to implement on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects.

"We applaud the Congressional champions who supported the inclusion of $10 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program in the 2021 federal budget. This program represents a critical investment in the land and water resources of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware," said Sandra Meola, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. 

“The program empowers organizations to tackle critical environmental issues, such as overdevelopment, stormwater runoff, flooding, stream erosion, and loss of wildlife habitat. The increase in funding for the Delaware River Basin will allow for the continued expansion of conservation and restoration of the resources upon which people, wildlife, and our economy rely.”

Since 2018, the grant program created by the DRBRP, called the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, has awarded $16.86 million to 90 projects, which generated $34.05 million in match, for a total conservation impact of $50.91 million. 

These projects will collectively restore almost 17 miles of riparian habitat and 73 miles of stream habitat, conserve and enhance 297 acres of wetland habitat, restore 251 acres of floodplain, improve 10,648 acres of forest habitat, and open 3,173 acres for public access.

Investment in the Delaware River Basin is significant because it encompasses portions of four states and supplies about 13.3 million people with water for drinking, washing, and farming. 

Land and water within the Delaware River Basin must also be protected as it provides habitat to over 400 types of birds, over 90 fish species, and many other animals, including several threatened and endangered species.

For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed website.

[Posted: December 28, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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