Langhorne, PA – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) praised the creation of the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, which will accelerate restoration and conservation of wildlife habitat across the Delaware River watershed while supporting local communities.
“The Delaware River Watershed faces extraordinary challenges, resulting from unplanned development, extensive loss of forests, the effects of a changing climate, and deteriorating water quality. Congress took a momentous step when they established this conservation program, and I am pleased we were able to secure funding to launch restoration and protection grants throughout the river basin,” said Fitzpatrick. “This new grant program allows state and local governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and other partners to come together to protect our drinking water and tackle increasing problems with flooding. This program will help restore and protect critical habitat for the wildlife and fisheries that make the river and its tributaries a local and national treasure.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced the launch of the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (DWCF), a competitive grant and technical assistance program of $4.3 million that will provide new support for the protection, restoration and conservation of fish and wildlife habitats in the Delaware River Watershed, which provides drinking water for more than 15 million people.
Last year, Fitzpatrick joined a regional, bipartisan push to provide robust funds for the FWS in fiscal year 2018 to leverage public and private funding to support the environmental and economic health of the Delaware River Watershed for boots-on the-ground conservation projects — as outlined in the Delaware River Basin Restoration Partnership and Program Framework.
Fitzpatrick said, “This is our generation’s legacy to the health, jobs, and well-being of our children and grandchildren.”
Covering 13,539 square miles of land and water, the Delaware River Watershed is home to native brook trout, red knots, river herring, freshwater mussels, oysters and other wildlife. Headwaters and streams located in rural, forested and agricultural areas play a major role in the entire ecosystem, as do urban and suburban waterways such as those in Trenton, Philadelphia and Wilmington.
Through the DWCF, NFWF will award Conservation Action Grants to nonprofit organizations; federal, state, interstate and local governments; Indian tribes; and educational institutions to implement on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects that achieve the goals of the framework. Projects also will engage and equip the public to:
- Support coordinated restoration and protection
- Facilitate resilience of natural systems
- Increase scientific knowledge, monitoring and research needed for successful project implementation
- Provide technical assistance for restoration and conservation
- Conserve areas of regional significance in the Delaware River Watershed.
NFWF will administer an annual competitive grant solicitation and selection process, working closely with the FWS and an advisory team comprised of federal, state, interstate and local government agency representatives, nonprofits and other leading experts. The request for grant proposals is now open and applications are due on September 27, 2018.
In August 2017, Fitzpatrick penned a joint op-ed with Greg Goldman, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Audubon on funding for Delaware watershed protection.
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $4.8 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.