The Delaware: Four States and One Great River

Let’s face it, getting things done inside the Washington Beltway right now is tough, and it’s not just because of the cold weather. From rollbacks on clean drinking water to the gutting of protections for migratory birds like the rufa red knot, we know it’s time for a new approach. So where can we make a difference? Locally. That’s why we’re launching an exciting new campaign to ask the governors of the Delaware River watershed to step up for water and wildlife.

Value of Delaware River Watershed

The Delaware River watershed is more than just an ecological treasure. The river and its waterways provide drinking water for more than 15 million people and power a 25 billion dollar economy. They support small towns and big cities alike through local jobs, increased property values, and recreational opportunities that enhance quality of life and drive tourism. The watershed basin is home to world class fishing in the Upper Delaware region of New York and Pennsylvania and a thriving bay shore in New Jersey and Delaware. The watershed provides critical nursery grounds for oysters, mussels, and horseshoe crabs as well as some of the most important migratory bird habitat on the East Coast. That’s why this campaign to drive new leadership from the governors in the four state basin is so important.

Photo credit: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Thanks to the commitment of government partners, the National Wildlife Federation, non-profit partners and countless individuals, we are seeing progress as iconic species such as the bald eagle and river shad begin to return to the river, but more must be done to protect and further these gains.

Calling on Governors

We believe this is a unique and timely opportunity for the Governors of the four states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York) to lead the conservation of forested headwaters (areas that help filter and water before it enters the stream), support local economies, work with homeowners and farmers to clean up streams, and bring back native plants and wildlife.  We will be working in each state with our friends and affiliate partners; Delaware Nature Society, Friends of the Upper Delaware, New Jersey Audubon and Penn Future to mobilize our members, elected officials, business leaders, and sportsmen to help advance our goal of a more robust and effective partnership across state lines. We anticipate our efforts will help restore and protect the clean water that is so important for all the people and wildlife who call the Delaware River watershed home.

I too have returned to the places of my youth, excited to call the watershed and the city of Philadelphia my new home. As the days begin to get longer, I am eager to discover the places to paddle, pedal and hike as I work with others on this campaign that I am confident will make a difference for communities and critters alike.

The purple martin relies on healthy Delaware Basin habitat. Photo credit: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

We know people are excited to work locally, knowing they are contributing to a greater good that will help protect drinking water, iconic species, and places where their children and grandchildren can safely enjoy all the bounty nature provides. This campaign will help galvanize that spirit to advance the goal of new vision, leadership, and ultimately restoration of the Delaware River watershed across the four states. Stay tuned!

Help protect wildlife in the Delaware River watershed!

Take Action


Published: February 7, 2018