The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have announced the launch of the $4.3 million Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (DWCF), a competitive grant and technical assistance program that will provide support for the protection, restoration, and conservation of fish and wildlife habitats in the Delaware River watershed, which provides drinking water for more than fifteen million people.
Covering 13,539 square miles of land and water, the watershed is home to native brook trout, red knots, river herring, freshwater mussels, oysters, and other fauna. Headwaters and streams located in the watershed's rural, forested, and agricultural areas play a significant role in the entire ecosystem, as do urban and suburban waterways in Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and surrounding areas. The fund will support efforts to restore and conserve fish and wildlife habitat in the Delaware River Basin; improve and maintain water quality for fish, wildlife, and people; manage water volume and improve flood damage mitigation; and improve recreational opportunities consistent with ecological needs.
Through the fund, NFWF will award conservation action grants to nonprofit organizations; federal, state, interstate and local governments; Native American tribes; and educational institutions working to achieve the goals of the Delaware River Basin Restoration Partnership and Program Framework. Support also will be provided to projects that engage the public in support of coordinated restoration and conservation efforts; facilitate the resilience of natural systems; increase scientific knowledge, monitoring, and research; provide technical assistance to restoration and conservation efforts; and conserve areas of regional significance.
"This new fund complements and enhances the incredible work already under way in the Delaware River Watershed," said NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. "We are excited to play a role in sparking an even bigger and broader conservation impact on the habitats and communities of the watershed."
(Photo credit: Eric Rowe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)