The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has announced grants totaling $4.1 million in support of twenty-five projects aimed at accelerating restoration and conservation of wildlife habitats in the Delaware River watershed.
The first grants awarded under the newly funded Delaware River Basin Conservation Act will support projects designed to help native fish and plant species as well as migratory and resident wildlife while improving economic vitality and quality of life for communities in the region, which encompasses more than thirteen thousand square miles and is home to fifteen million people. Focused on New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York, the projects also are expected to generate $7.5 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $11.6 million.
Recipients include the Friends of the Upper Delaware River, which will use its grant to implement integrated restoration objectives in the Upper Delaware River in New York State, including five stream restoration and enhancement projects, and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, which will use the funds to establish beds of freshwater mussels in an urban tidal living shoreline at Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia.
"The Delaware River Basin doesn't just provide drinking water for fifteen million Americans; it's an economic engine for Delaware's tourism, hunting, fishing, and agricultural industries," said Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE). "We know that federal partnerships with local stakeholders improve ecosystem vitality and boost environmental quality for the Delawareans and wildlife that depend on a healthy Delaware River Basin. That's why I'm thrilled to see the first grants under this law be awarded, and I look forward to seeing the outcomes of these twenty-five important projects."
"Our work together in the Delaware River Watershed brings to life a shared vision for collaborative conservation that is driven by the needs of the fish, wildlife, and people who make their homes here," said Wendi Weber, Northeast regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We are pleased to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support a program that will have a significant impact on the environment, economy, and quality of life for all citizens in the watershed."