Delaware River Watershed

Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program Director Tapped to Shape Regional Watershed Plans and Climate Resiliency

With appointments to two regional commissions, Audubon aims to influence conservation and policy to protect the birds and people of the watershed.

This article first appeared on Audubon Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA (May 7, 2020) – Today, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) appointed Elizabeth Koniers Brown, Esq., Director of Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program, to two conservation committees: the Advisory Committee on Climate Change (ACCC) and the Monitoring Advisory and Coordination Committee (MACC).  Audubon welcomes the opportunity to further guide regional policy to improve and protect treasured watershed resources.

“The Delaware River Watershed is such a critical place for birds – it has the second largest population of migrating songbirds and raptors in North America and more than 400 resident bird species. Birds and people will experience the changing climate directly through water, with issues like more intense storms and flooding posing real ecological as well as economic risks. We can’t solve these problems alone, so working with the DRBC is a huge opportunity, with experts in so many fields coming together to help shape a more resilient future for the region.” Elizabeth “Beth” Brown said.

“Beth’s appointments reflect Audubon’s long history of landscape-scale collaboration,” said Greg Goldman, Audubon Pennsylvania’s Executive Director. “This collaboration has never been more critical, with Audubon’s ground-breaking 2019 report, Survival by Degrees, concluding that 40% of Pennsylvania’s bird species are vulnerable to climate change.”

The DRBC is a multi-state agency responsible for river basin planning, development, and regulatory activities. With the announcement of the membership of the Commission’s inaugural Advisory Committee on Climate Change (ACCC), established in December 2019, Brown joins a group of 18 members selected for their relevant expertise, representing government, watershed, academic, business and water user perspectives.

The ACCC will advise the Commission on the impact of climate change on regional water resources with the goal of enhancing planning and policy development. The ACCC is authorized for 10 years and can be renewed or extended prior to its expiration in 2029.

“DRBC has recognized potentially significant impacts to the water resources of the Delaware River Basin posed by climate change,” said Kenneth Kosinski, Alternate Commissioner for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and current Commission Chair. “We formed the ACCC to provide the Commission and the Basin community with scientifically based information for identifying and prioritizing these threats, which include salinity impacts from sea level rise and changes in the seasonality and volume of streamflows, as well as recommendations for mitigation, adaptation and improved resiliency.”

In addition to the ACCC appointment, Brown joins DRBC’s Monitoring Advisory and Coordination Committee (MACC), which reviews and offers recommendations for basin monitoring activities and works to strengthen coordination among monitoring and data sharing programs across the basin.

Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program is a national water initiative, focusing on landscapes where both water quantity and water quality are paramount to birds’ survival.   Other major components of this program include the Great Lakes, the Florida Everglades, and the Saline Lakes of the intermountain West.  Through this program, Audubon engages a diverse audience of members and partners in conservation and policy across an entire watershed landscape.

“Audubon’s Water strategy focuses on protecting and restoring habitat where it is crucial to birds’ survival. Addressing the impacts of climate change, such as temperature changes, erosion and salinity, are critical steps to restoring and maintaining the Delaware River Watershed for birds and people,” noted Julie Hill-Gabriel, Audubon’s Vice President for Water Conservation. 

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About Audubon

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more about Audubon at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Audubon Pennsylvania, a state office of the National Audubon Society, conserves and restores natural ecosystems in Pennsylvania, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Learn more at www.pa.audubon.org and by following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonpa.

Media Contacts:

National Audubon Society, Chandler Lennon, chandler.lennon@audubon.org, 212.979.3063

Audubon Pennsylvania, Carrie Barron, carrie.barron@audubon.org

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