PHILADELPHIA – “A Delaware River Watershed Caucus marks a hopeful chapter for a watershed that is home to more than 400 bird species, and begins to recognize its importance as an iconic watershed on par with the likes of the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes,” said Beth Brown, director of Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program. “With bipartisan leadership from Representatives Delgado and Fitzpatrick, it signals a promising future for increased funding and efforts to protect the water and land that birds and we all need for a healthy and prospering ecosystem, community and economy.”
Today, U.S. Representatives Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) announced the formation of the Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus. The caucus will serve as an informal, bipartisan group of Members of Congress dedicated to issues related to the Delaware River Watershed and its landscape-scale programs focused on water quality and quantity, ecological restoration, and conservation.
Notable focuses of the caucus include appropriations for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and the Delaware Estuary Program, and educating other Members of Congress on these and other policy issues as they arise.
“The Upper Delaware River is more than beautiful scenery -- it's an economic driver for our communities,” said Rep. Delgado. “In New York's 19th Congressional District, the river generates more than $400 million in economic value every single year. I am proud to launch the bipartisan Delaware River Watershed Caucus alongside Representative Fitzpatrick. This caucus will bring together members from both sides of the aisle to advocate for our communities and secure federal funding to protect these precious waters.”
“The Delaware River runs along the entire length of my district, which includes tourist destinations such as New Hope, historically significant villages like Washington Crossing, and job hubs like Bristol and Bensalem. Our new Caucus will help advance bipartisan coordination on the marquee conservation programs throughout the Delaware River Watershed,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I’m honored to co-chair this bipartisan caucus with Congressman Delgado.”
The Delaware River Watershed is a complex system of forests, rivers, marshes, and urban landscapes, covering 13,500 square miles and 2,000 rivers and streams across Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This landscape provides life-sustaining resources to a wide array of birds, from the Saltmarsh Sparrow, Golden-winged Warbler, and Wood Thrush to the Ruddy Duck, Red Knot, and American Black Duck, and it supplies drinking water to more than 13.3 million people.
“Now is the time to act to conserve and restore the Delaware River Watershed. Faced with decades of underinvestment and increasing impacts of climate change like sea level rise, urban and agricultural pollution, deforestation, and invasive species, this irreplaceable ecosystem faces an uncertain future,” said Suzanne Biemiller, executive director of Audubon Mid-Atlantic. “Audubon looks forward to working with the Caucus under the leadership of Reps. Delgado and Fitzpatrick to inform policymakers and raise the profile of the Delaware River Watershed, the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region.”
Within the watershed and on Capitol Hill, Audubon works toward bipartisan support and policy-focused solutions for increased conservation funding and program effectiveness throughout the watershed. Audubon is also a member of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed and works with partners like Friends of the Upper Delaware River to advance strategic conservation efforts.
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 at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
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