Recap: A Day on the Delaware

August 11, 2021

We recently hosted a “Day on the Delaware” event with the Alliance for the Upper Delaware River Watershed, Friends of the Upper Delaware River, and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. The goal of the event was to connect elected officials, partners, and other stakeholders to each other and the river while elevating the need for funding for the Upper Delaware River Watershed. Speakers outlined below highlighted the ecological, recreational, and economic value of the region. 

Francis O’Shea, Project Manager at The Trust for Public Land highlighted the history of the property where the event was held. For many years it was a working agricultural land and in recent years was a campground. Unfortunately, floods in 2005 and 2006 degraded the land, but TPL approached the owner to purchase the land and create a public park. The project is a great example of collaboration between multiple groups and agencies to create more access to the river and recreational space for the community. 

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther emphasized the need for dedicated funding for the Upper Delaware River region. As a local resident, Assemblywoman Gunther is motivated by her love of the area and fond memories of growing up in the region. She plans to advocate for funding for the region in the upcoming budget cycle. She hopes to help preserve the land and river for generations to come.

New York State Senator Mike Martucci emphasized that he is working with Assemblywoman Gunther as a team to get dedicated funding from the State in the upcoming budget cycle. He referenced that there has been sustained funding at the federal level for the protection of the Upper Delaware River Watershed and voiced his belief that the State should commit investments as well.

NYLCVEF President Julie Tighe spoke on the importance of clean and protected waterways for activities like fly fishing and spoke about how the Upper Delaware River Watershed has been historically overlooked. While recreational opportunities and tourism generate approximately 3.5 billion dollars to the State’s economy, the area is still underfunded. Additionally, President Tighe spoke about the importance of properly protecting the Watershed, especially in the face of climate change.

Vincent Sapienza, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection shared the agency’s responsibility of managing flows from NYC reservoirs into the river system. He also recognized that the reservoirs not only provide NYC residents with clean water, but support a world-class fishery on the river as well as other recreational and tourism activities in the region. He expressed that DEP is proud to partner with the organizing groups to advance the Alliance’s goals. 

Together, NYLCV, FUDR, CDRW, the Alliance for the Upper Delaware River Watershed, and esteemed guests enjoyed a wonderful day soaking up all that the Delaware River has to offer and engaging with key stakeholders in the fight for dedicated funding for the Upper Delaware River Watershed.

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By Kerry Ellis

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