Federal funds could flow to Delaware River

    Congressman Castle hopes federal legislation will help clean up the river that runs through New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. It also provides much-needed federal funding.

    For millions of people from New York to Delaware, the Delaware River and Bay is a source of drinking water, recreation and jobs.

    Standing just a few feet from the river’s shores in New Castle, Congressman Mike Castle (R-Delaware) announced Monday new federal legislation that would help protect and restore the entire Delaware River Basin, which includes parts of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

    “The legislation will give a point of focus on the Delaware River Basin and our estuaries,” Castle said. “All the things we have to do to make it cleaner and more inhabitable for fish and human beings.”

    The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2010 would coordinate the conservation efforts of federal, state and non-profit organizations. It also provides much-needed federal funding, including $5 million annually for a competitive grant program.

    “The Delaware River and Bay has been treated a little bit like a poor stepchild,” said Roger Jones, State Director for the Nature Conservancy in Delaware. “But there’s been some really great efforts in terms of protecting habitat and doing a lot of restoration work up and down this great river.”

    Jennifer Adkins, Executive Director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, says the First State may benefit the most.

    “Delaware is in the lower part of the river system and the bay,” she said. “So everything that happens upstream affects the people in Delaware.”

    Adkins says the system has been seriously under funded for years. For decades the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and other geographic regions have received significant dedicated federal funding.

    “This is a really tough time in the country in terms of funding and we recognize that,” Adkins said. “But the disparity is really huge. So we think this system deserves some more attention because of the importance of it.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.