What We Do to Protect the Delaware River Watershed

Delaware river watershed

The Delaware River is the longest free-flowing river in the eastern United States, spanning five states from its headwaters in the Catskills of New York to the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The watershed supplies clean drinking water to more than 5% of country, vital habitat for wildlife and is a historic and recreational treasure.

Unfortunately, the capacity of the river to sustain fish and wildlife and the human community long-term is in question.

In the lower Basin, fish consumption advisories remain in effect for many communities and prime spawning beaches for signature species are fragmented and lost to development and rising sea levels. Degradation of natural defenses against floods have exacerbated natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and cost taxpayers millions in repairs. Nonpoint source pollution confronts all developed landscapes and legacy pollutants defy easy solutions. And new challenges to the watershed continue to arise, including the specter of gas drilling and emerging contaminants.

Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed

As the fiscal agent of the recently formed Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, NWF is spearheading the charge to:

  • Educate and engage citizens throughout the watershed – 8 million people live in communities across the Delaware River Basin. NWF and its partners want to further educate and connect these families to the river – upstream and downstream, land and water – and help them advocate for clean drinking water and safe natural areas for wildlife.

  • Protect communities from old and new threats of water pollution – From floodplains compromised by rapid development, to destruction of the shellfish and migratory fish that populated our waters, to polluted runoff in cities and towns, NWF and its partners are committed to spreading the practices that keep our land and water safe and clean. Working with Coalition members, we are committed sharing critical information and best practices and championing federal policies that increase transparency and accountability for polluters.

  • Secure our fair share of federal investment in Delaware River watershed restoration and protection – Unlike other geographic watershed programs, the federal government has never had a comprehensive strategy addressing conservation, water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat protection. We will continue to advocate for federal dollars, matched with local and state dollars for on-the-ground work to protect water resources.

  • Make basin-wide collaborative solutions a priority – The purpose is plain: a clean Delaware for future generations. To achieve it we need to work together to protect nature, control pollution, and keep our water safe for children, families, and all whose lives and livelihoods depend on clean water. Our common bond is a belief that we all are accountable for a healthy watershed. We are the only coalition that bridges the gap between small groups and large, upstream and down, urban and rural. We believe that by working together we can do more.

Connect with This Campaign:

A membership list and more information about the Coalition can be found at www.facebook.org/delawarerivercoalition.


Chesapeake Mid-Atlantic Regional Center

Impacts of Global Warming on Coastal Wetlands

Ode to a Founding Fish

Protecting Delaware Bayshore Habitat

Shorebirds' Fate Hinges on Horseshoe Crabs

NWF's Work Conserving America's Waters and Wetlands

Reports & Factsheets

Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster

According to the 2013 report, more than 650 dolphins have been found stranded in the oil spill area since the Gulf oil disaster began. This is more than four times the historical average.

Answering 10 Fundamental Questions about the Mississippi River Delta

A scientific and economic case for restoring the Mississippi River Delta wetlands, which have shrunk in size by nearly 1,900 square miles since the 1930s.

Pulsed Land-Building Sediment Diversions

Effective “pulsed” sediment diversions are a key tool for building land and sustaining our delta.

Wetlands & Barrier Islands

The wider the wetland buffer, the higher level of protection.