LANGHORNE, PA – Today, U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Antonio Delgado (NY-19), founders and Co-Chairs of the Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus, led a group of 16 caucus members in requesting that the Fiscal Year 2022 funding bill include $12.5 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP). This funding level represents a 25 percent increase from the previous year.
Reps. Fitzpatrick and Delgado founded the Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus in April 2021 to give voice to funding and conservation needs throughout the watershed. Since 2018, the DRBRP has supported 123 projects across the watershed, totaling $26.2 million in grants and leveraging an additional $46 million in matching funds. These projects restore and protect vulnerable habitats and improve public access and recreational opportunities. After backing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $26 million in supplemental funding for the DRBRP, Reps. Fitzpatrick and Delgado are turning their attention to the upcoming funding bill.
“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus, I have long advocated for federal funding for the Delaware River Watershed to improve the lives of our communities and our natural habitats,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I’m pleased to join Congressman Delgado to lead the charge in calling for increased funding for the DRBRP, which will assist with restoration efforts, improve environmental policies, encourage stewardship, and grow the economy here in our Basin.”
“I'm proud to be a founder of the bipartisan Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus along with my colleague, Rep. Fitzpatrick. As the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, the Delaware River and its watershed generate billions for local economies, support 600,000 jobs, and provide drinking water for millions of Americans,” said Rep. Delgado. “By funding the DRBRP, we can support economic growth and help preserve our environment. I will keep pushing to protect this great natural resource that serves so many of our communities.”
“The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed thanks the Delaware River Watershed Caucus co-chairs, Representatives Antonio Delgado and Brian Fitzpatrick, as well as the 14 additional Congressional Offices for their leadership in supporting the 12.5 million funding request for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP),” said Kelly Knutson, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. "The program empowers organizations to tackle critical environmental issues and investments in infrastructure, such as stormwater runoff, flooding mitigation, and other climate resilience projects. The increase in funding for the Delaware River Basin will allow for the continued expansion of conservation and restoration of the resources upon which people, wildlife, and our economy rely."
"The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program has significantly increased the federal restoration investment in on-the-ground projects in the Upper Delaware River watershed. These projects protect infrastructure and create local jobs, mitigate flooding, improve aquatic habitat, preserve water quality, and enhance river-related recreational opportunities. We applaud Congressman Delgado and the members of the Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus in their effort to increase funding for this important program that helps protect and restore one of America's most iconic river systems," said Jeff Skelding, Executive Director, Friends of the Upper Delaware River.
Spanning across four states and 12,800 square miles, the Delaware River Watershed generates $25 billion in annual economic activity, supports 600,000 jobs, and contributes $21 billion worth of ecosystem goods and services each year. With more than 6.4 billion gallons of water withdrawn from the watershed every day, it provides drinking water for 13.3 million Americans—more than four percent of the U.S. population. The watershed is also a critical refuge for more than 90 species of fish and 400 types of birds, and annually hosts more than 250 species of migrating birds.
Read the full letter here.