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Federal budget increases Delaware River funding


The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) has received $9.7 million in funding as part of the fiscal year 2020 Interior Appropriations bill approved by Congress and signed by the president, a 62 percent increase from fiscal year 2019’s funding levels.

The DRBRP will provide much-needed technical assistance and grant funds to address the Delaware River Basin’s environmental challenges. This funding will support eligible applicants in New ork, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, including government entities, nonprofit organizations, and institutes of education implement on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects.

Projects will combat issues such as overdevelopment, stormwater runoff, flooding, stream erosion, and loss of wildlife habitat.

“We anticipate a growing demand for the project funding from eligible entities throughout the basin,” said Sandra Meola, director at New Jersey Audubon and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.

In the first two years of implementation, the DRBRP has funded 53 projects throughout the basin and awarded $8.74 million in grants for these projects. These grants have generated $12.04 million in matching funds for a total conservation impact of $20.78 million.

The projects will collectively: restore 10 miles of riparian habitat and 17 miles of stream habitat; conserve and enhance 119 acres of wetland habitat; restore 251 acres of floodplain; improve 3,737 acres of forest habitat; and open 200 acres of land for public access.

With federal funding increased by 62 percent, even more conservation and restoration projects can begin to address environmental concerns within the basin.

The Delaware River Basin is significant because it encompasses portions of four states and supplies about 13.3 million people (4 percent of the U.S. population) with water for drinking, washing, and farming. Additionally, the Delaware River Basin is the only water source for two major U.S. cities, Philadelphia (100 percent) and New York (about 50 percent) .