The Delaware River can expect a little more love from the U.S. Congress if U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-19) does what he promised:
"If there is a Delaware River caucus in Congress, I'll join it. If there isn't, I'll start one," he said in answer to a question posed by Delaware Currents at a press conference on Monday ,Oct. 7, 2019, in Deposit, N.Y.
The Friends of the Upper River held the event with Trout Unlimited and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed to celebrate some much-needed federal dollars coming into the upper river region as part of the new Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund.
Fourteen projects in Delaware and Sullivan counties totaling $1.2 million which range from flood mitigation, to research into how to suppress Knotweed, an invasive species, to habitat creation and/or stabilization, to improving river access.
Delgado also expressed his support for the Delaware River Basin Commission. Asked about the shortfall in state and federal funding for the DRBC: "We should live up to our responsibilities."
The conservation fund was recently created after the passage of the Delaware River Conservation Act in 2016, which represents the first time that federal dollars have been specifically allocated to the four-state Delaware River watershed, mimicking other funds that have been made available to other significant watersheds in the United States, like the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.
"The Upper Delaware is an enormous economic engine for our region and this new conservation investment is a great example of how the river generates resources for our local communities," said Jeff Skelding, executive director of the Friends of the Upper Delaware River.
"These grant awards happened," he said, "because the Upper Delaware Tailwaters Coalition -- a broad coalition representing diverse local interest groups and municipalities -- came together with the common recognition that protecting the river serves everybody's interests."