Environmental Groups Deliver 4,038 Signatures To Gov. Wolf Urging Him To Prioritize Delaware River Basin
On November 28, Pennsylvania members of the National Wildlife Federation’s 4 The Delaware Campaign delivered 4,038 signatures on a petition to Gov. Tom Wolf urging him to help create a new vision, prioritize resources, and further watershed-wide planning for the Delaware River Basin by attending a summit in 2019 with all four governors.
Representatives of PennFuture, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Coalition for the Delaware River, Audubon Pennsylvania, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited delivered the signatures.
Petitions were also delivered to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“People across the state are taking action on behalf of the Delaware River basin, and this is another chance for citizens to take action for clean water,” stated Jacquelyn Bonomo, President and CEO of PennFuture. “We thank Gov. Wolf for protecting Pennsylvania's parks and streams, while making the Delaware a priority. This petition urges him to take the next step and stand with our neighboring states to protect the Delaware River basin so that so that families, towns, businesses, and wildlife that depend on it can thrive.”
The Delaware River Basin encompasses portions of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey, and supplies over 15 million people with drinking water, which is 5 percent of the U.S. population-- including the cities of Philadelphia, New York City, Trenton, and Wilmington.
In Pennsylvania, the Delaware River Basin stretches from the Pocono Mountains down to Philadelphia, occupying 14 percent of Pennsylvania's land area and includes 43% of the state's population.
While the basin is a vital resource, it faces threats such as overdevelopment, stormwater runoff, flooding, stream erosion, and wildlife habitat loss.
The Delaware River Basin provides habitat for over 200 resident and migrant fish species, as well as birds, mammals, and other wildlife. Several threatened or endangered species call the basin home as well, such as the Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon and the dwarf wedgemussel.
“Through the leadership of the four Delaware River Basin Governors, a new vision for the future of the basin must be forged. We’re delivering these petition signatures on behalf of thousands of residents to signify that now is the time to prioritize the basin and further basin-wide planning and protection efforts for our drinking water, wildlife habitat, and economy,” added Sandra Meola, Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.
The Delaware River Basin is an economic powerhouse that must be protected, as it generates $25 billion in annual economic activity and contributes $21 billion worth of ecosystem goods and services each year.
The Delaware River Basin creates 130,364 jobs, such as fishing, recreation, tourism, water/sewer construction, water utilities, and ports, that generate $2.8 billion in wages.
The “4 the Delaware” campaign’s goal is to urge all four Delaware River Basin governors to pledge to work together and share the responsibility of continuing progress throughout the basin.
To date, there is strong interest from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to meet for an in-person summit in early 2019 that will create a basin-wide vision and long-term plan for management.
For more information on this initiative, visit the 4 The Delaware Campaign website.
[Posted: Nov. 28, 2018]
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