The article originally appeared on Audubon Mid-Atlantic.

From the Catskill Mountains to the Schuylkill Highlands and Fairmount Park, birds of the Delaware River Watershed ranging from the Wood Thrush to the Louisiana Waterthrush depend on a reliable flow of quality water to survive and thrive. They aren’t alone. The success of communities and local small businesses, such as craft brewers, are just as connected to the health of the watershed.

To highlight the importance of watershed water quality, Audubon Mid-Atlantic hosted a panel of experts, business owners, and city leaders at the first in a series of “Birds & Brews” events at The Discovery Center to discuss the biggest issues facing the Delaware River Watershed and how these issues impact birds, businesses, and communities alike.

Many may wonder how birds and beer are connected. (Well, besides imbibing with friends on a relaxing evening looking out over the Strawberry Mansion Reservoir for a Warbling Vireo or Red-tailed Hawk at The Discovery Center.) Water makes up 90 percent of beer. The local water gives each brew a uniqueness that is distinct to the region – and is just as true for the brews of the Delaware River. This is why Audubon formed a coalition, the Brewers for the Delaware River, under a shared mission to preserve a steady supply of clean water from our watershed.

The July event drew in dozens of Philadelphia and local residents who joined to learn more about the importance of investing in regional efforts to protect our water now and into future, while enjoying the taste of local, craft beer brewed with quality water from the watershed.

Moderated by Elizabeth Brown, director of Audubon Mid-Atlantic’s Delaware River Watershed Program, the panel discussion included two members of the Brewers for the Delaware River, Mike Contreras of 2SP Brewing Company and Tim Brown of Tannery Run Brew Works, along with Daniel Schupsky from the Philadelphia Water Department, and Scott Quitel of LandHealth Institute.

During the discussion, Mike Contreras, director of sales and marketing at 2SP Brewing Company, reflected, “As a small brewery, it is critical that we can rely on clean water for our operation. For any brewery, if we don't have clean water, we can't brew beer. The Delaware River Watershed’s protection and preservation ensure we can bring better beer to the region and keep tap lines flowing.”

The “Birds & Brew” event series will continue once a month in August, September, and October and will continue to feature members of the Brewers for the Delaware River, along with local partners throughout Philadelphia. Check out the upcoming dates and partners!

Stay up to date on Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program and ways to take action to protect and restore our watershed!

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