This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $14.9 million in funding through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for 36 conservation projects in the Delaware River watershed. Support includes more than $4.5 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for six projects that will improve public access, recreational opportunities, and water quality, as well as enhance shoreline and wildlife habitat.
The Delaware River watershed is in one of the most densely populated urban areas in the nation, yet it remains 50 percent forested and boasts 400 miles of designated rivers within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
“These 36 projects in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York will boost local economies and address needs for natural resources …” said Martha Williams, service director. “By addressing conservation and resiliency needs head-on, we demonstrate the necessity and importance of caring for lands and waters and for those who share a connection to the watershed. Whether a project restores habitat, replaces a decaying culvert, or improves outdoor access, the positive impacts allow fish, wildlife, and people to thrive.”
“This year’s 36 grants will allow our grantees and their partners to implement projects that benefit communities, fish, and wildlife and continue the remarkable progress made over the past decades for a healthier, cleaner, and more resilient Delaware River watershed,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Delaware River’s diverse watershed, which flows through nearly 330 miles of the mid-Atlantic region, is both a source of drinking water for more than 15 million people and provides vital habitat for important wildlife species, including threatened red knots and vulnerable saltmarsh sparrow, forest birds rebounding from decline, as well as previously abundant fish such as river herring, American shad, and eastern brook trout.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides an overall $2 billion to the Department of the Interior to restore public lands and waters and advance “America the Beautiful,” the Biden administration’s initiative to restore and conserve 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030. To guide these historic investments, the department recently released the restoration and resilience framework to support coordination across agency restoration and resiliency programs and drive transformational outcomes.
See a full list of 2023 Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund and Delaware River Restoration Fund grants on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.