11th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum Unites Hundreds of Conservation Advocates, Constituents, and Organizations in Wilmington, DE 

by Danica Brendon

The 11th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum took place in Wilmington, DE, bringing together hundreds of conservation advocates, constituents, and organizations. The event, organized by the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW), supported by the National Wildlife Federation, aimed to reflect on the protection and preservation of the Delaware River and plan for the future of the watershed.

The Delaware River Watershed is responsible for providing drinking water to 14.2 million people across Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. As such, it is vital to have conversations about successes, challenges, and ways to advocate for and protect the natural resources of the region.

Over the course of two days, more than 300 watershed advocates attended the forum, collaborating and building capacity for environmental conservation in the area. The event focused on mobilizing efforts to combat water pollution, involving governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and communities.

Kelly Knutson, Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, expressed pride in hosting the event for another year, emphasizing the importance of the relationship and cooperation between coalition members. Knutson also highlighted the significance of the Delaware River, serving major cities like Philadelphia, New York City, and Wilmington, and the commitment to conservation and clean water policy in the region.

Stuart Clarke, Watershed Protection Program Director at the William Penn Foundation, acknowledged the success of the coalition in aligning partners’ energy and priorities for clean water in the basin. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration as the region faces challenges related to climate change and equitable sustainability.

Water quality challenges in the Delaware River Watershed are diverse, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The forum focused on policy issues and important topics such as infrastructure, stormwater challenges, federal funding for conservation and restoration projects, plastic pollution, and forever chemicals in waterways.

Participants recognized the importance of community engagement and cross-sector partnerships in reaching a sustainable and equitable future for water management. They also acknowledged the role of the Delaware River as a fundamental source of drinking water for millions of people, as well as crucial habitat for fish and wildlife species.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, comprising over 185 member organizations and stakeholders, aims to protect and restore the land and waters in the Delaware River Basin. By amplifying the collective power of its members, the coalition advocates for a healthy and protected watershed, coordinating communications and advancing policies at the federal and state levels.

Overall, the 11th Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum provided a platform for meaningful collaboration and discussions. Participants expressed their commitment to conservation and their dedication to ensuring a sustainable future for the Delaware River and the communities that rely on it.

For more information about the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, please visit their website at www.delriverwatershed.org.

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