The Upper Watershed is dominated by mature, even-aged forests. Audubon manages these forests for sustainability, profitability and habitat suitability for key species, including the iconic Wood Thrush. Forest preservation in this region of New York and northeastern Pennsylvania also serves a critical role in watershed health, preserving water quality and regulating temperature in headwater streams.
In the Central Watershed, forests give way to urbanization, agriculture, energy infrastructure, and other fragmenting uses. The Lehigh and Schuylkill Rivers are the largest tributaries in this region, containing an expansive network of wetlands and streamside habitats supporting abundant and diverse bird communities.
Greater Philadelphia, Camden, Wilmington, and the Greater Lehigh Valley in the Central Watershed experience stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows, which contribute to degraded water quality in these population centers, as well as face increased flooding and extreme weather events.
In the Lower Watershed, the Delaware Bay suffers from stressors like nutrient pollution and sea-level rise that are degrading bird habitats along salt marshes and beaches. Overfishing and reduced oxygen cause declining forage fish populations, a vital food source for migratory shorebirds that depend on the Delaware Bay as a key migratory stopover site along the Atlantic Flyway.