MIDDLETOWN, Del. — United States Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today reintroduced a bill to reauthorize the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.
Carper made the announcement at an event highlighting the program’s success to date with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Shawn Garvin, Secretary of Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Wendi , North Atlantic and Appalachian Regional Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Weber, National Wildlife Federation President Collin O’Mara, and members of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed at Thousand Acre Marsh.
“The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act continues a program that is a tremendous success that we can and must continue”, said Senator Carper. “In Delaware, the law has facilitated projects such as wetland habitat conservation in the Thousand Acre Swamp and an urban wildlife community engagement program. These restoration efforts protect the species we love, purify our drinking water and boost local tourism. Reauthorizing the legislation would have clear benefits for our environment and our economy – a win-win situation for Delaware and our region.
“Delaware’s natural resources help make our state a great place to live, work and visit. » said Senator Coons. “Reauthorize the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act will ensure a better and more resilient future for our Delaware ecosystem and economy. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to work to secure funds to protect our state’s land, water and wildlife by supporting restoration projects in the Delaware River Basin.
“Delaware is full of a rich and historic natural heritage, including areas like the Thousand Acre Swamp,” said MP Blunt Rochester. “Reauthorize the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act would allow us to conserve these areas for future generations of Delawares to enjoy. That’s why I’m honored to join Senator Carper and Senator Coons in introducing the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act to the House to reauthorize this vital program — so we can continue to invest in our environment, our health and our to come up.
“Since its inception in 2016, the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program has helped advance the shared goals of conserving and connecting the lands and waters that fish, wildlife and people here depend on,” said Wendi Weber, North Atlantic and Appalachian regional director for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “Investments led by the program’s Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund partners will produce positive ripple effects in this landscape for generations to come.”
“Water levels in the Thousand Acre Swamp are controlled to provide vital habitat and food sources for waterfowl, shorebirds and many other resident and migratory species of fish and wildlife,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With a grant made possible by the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, DNREC worked with DelDOT to replace major components of the water control system, restoring our ability to manage the Thousand Acre Marsh, support a diversity of wild animals and to provide public access.
“Restoration projects fueled by Delaware River Basin Conservation Act rejuvenate America’s first waterway. These advances show that when we work together, we can restore endangered fish and wildlife populations, improve water quality, expand equitable access to recreation, and create good jobs. Reauthorizing the DRBCA to ensure we can continue its success is common sense,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We are proud to stand side by side with Senator Carper, Senator Coons, Rep. Blunt Rochester and their colleagues as they work hard every day in Washington to bring home much-needed funds for key projects in the Delaware Basin – from Shad Restoration works removing dilapidated dams on the Brandywine and White Clay to partner with congregation and faith communities to replant critical wildlife habitat at places of worship – and the best is yet to come.
“Thank you to Senator Carper and the Delaware delegation for their support of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Reauthorization Act. The Delaware River watershed is home to nearly 3/4 of Delawares and provides drinking water to 725,000 people in the whole state.” said Emily Knearl of the Nature Conservancy, Delaware/Pennsylvania Chapter. “The investments enabled by this law are so important to the Nature Conservancy and other environmental organizations to help protect and restore vital wetlands, habitats and waterways.”
Promulgated in 2016, the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act succeeded in bringing federal, state, and local governments together with regional partners to identify, prioritize, and implement restoration activities in the Delaware River Basin. Grants provided through legislation have helped states carry out restoration projects. To date, the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, funded by the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act — granted $26.6 million to 123 projects that support recreation, water quality, water management and habitat. Recipients matched this investment at a ratio of nearly 2:1, for a total conservation impact of $72.6 million.
Carper’s legislation would again allow the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act until September 30, 2030, and facilitate the participation of small rural and disadvantaged communities in restoration projects. Senators Cory Booker (DN.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) joined Carper in introducing the bill.
Invoice text is available here.
DELAWARE SUCCESS STORY:
The Thousand Acre Marsh is Delaware’s largest impounded freshwater wetland complex and a refuge for waterfowl, waterfowl, shorebirds, muskrat, mink, and fish associated with coastal wetlands . The US Department of the Interior considers Thousand Acre Marsh one of “America’s 50 Most Beautiful Landscapes”.
Unfortunately, the wetland complex has been threatened by high water levels and increased salinities due to a failing water control structure. Thanks to Delaware River Basin Conservation ActDNREC and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) repaired the tidal gates in the wetland complex, restoring the wetlands and conserving the many species of wildlife that call them home.