The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced 37 grant awards totaling more than $8.1 million to support recreation, water quality, water management, and habitat conservation throughout the Delaware River watershed. Grantee organizations have committed nearly $22.1 million in match, for a total conservation impact of $30.2 million.
The grants were awarded through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (Fund), a program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The Fund is coordinated by the Service to achieve the goals of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act. The Act guides and supports federal, state, regional and local partners to collaboratively identify, prioritize, and implement habitat restoration and conservation activities within the watershed.
This year’s grant slate also includes projects that address disparities in access to nature by putting equity, justice and cultural competency at the core of their work.
“Investing in conservation now helps ensure a sustainable future for the Delaware River watershed, a region where communities, lives, and livelihoods depend upon a healthy environment,” said Mike Slattery, landscape partnership coordinator for the Service.
“Three years into the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grant program, we have tremendous momentum with 90 funded projects led by a range of partners working at different scales,” Slattery said. “Each investment produces positive ripple effects across the watershed, adding up to long-term conservation outcomes for human and natural communities that are significantly greater than the sum of their parts.”
The awards announced today were granted to projects in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The grants provide vital support to migratory and resident wildlife, fish and native plants, and contribute to the quality of life and economic vitality of the communities in the watershed. Grant awards include:
(New Jersey) $94,823 to New Jersey Audubon Society for “Restoring Atlantic White-Cedar in the Maurice River and Rancocas Creek Watersheds”
(Pennsylvania) $258,366.56 to John Bartram Association for “Youth Stewardship and Community Recreation Access on the Tidal Schuylkill River”
(Delaware) $500,000 to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources for “Restoring Wetland Habitat and Water Control in the Thousand Acre Marsh”
(Watershed-wide) $499,999 for the National Wildlife Federation’s “Delaware River Basin Urban Wildlife Community Engagement Program”
In total, the projects will improve 6,783 acres of forest habitat, treat polluted runoff using agricultural conservation practices on more than 4,596 acres, restore 141 acres of wetland habitat, and improve 3.5 miles of instream habitat in critical headwaters. See the full list of 2020 Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grants here: www.nfwf.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/dwcf-2020-grant-slate.pdf
The Delaware River watershed covers 13,539 square miles of land and water, running from the Catskills in New York through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, ultimately emptying into the Delaware Bay. Despite its position in a major metropolitan corridor, the watershed is home to a remarkable variety of species and their habitats—from mountainside cold-water streams to tidal salt marshes—that are economically, ecologically and culturally important to the region. Urban and suburban waterways play a major role in the watershed’s communities, with headwaters in neighboring rural and agricultural areas. Grant projects are implemented across this variety of landscapes, serving to improve wildlife habitat and human communities, accelerate implementation of best practices, provide opportunities for people to engage with nature, and ultimately benefit water quality locally and for those downstream.
For more information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s conservation work in the Delaware River Watershed, visit https://www.fws.gov/northeast/delawareriver/