The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday announced $ 11.5 million in grants for the conservation of the Delaware River watershed that will include the development of an aquatic trail in Camden, the restoration of a shad passage over the Brandywine River; and construction of a waterfront education center at Bartram’s Garden.
The sum was complemented by $ 13.5 million from environmental and conservation nonprofits that partner with the two federal agencies, bringing the total to $ 25 million.
The money will fund 41 projects along or near tributaries of the watershed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The grants are designed to improve recreation, water quality and habitat conservation.
“These 41 projects announced today will help ensure a healthier, cleaner and more resilient future for the Delaware River watershed and the various species that depend on it,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF.
Grants to protect the watershed are awarded annually through the federally administered Delaware Watershed Conservation and Delaware River Restoration funds. Conservation funding comes from the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2016 and administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Funding for the restoration is provided to the NFWF by the William Penn Foundation.
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The agencies say the new projects will improve 12,000 acres through improved management, treat polluted runoff using agricultural conservation practices on about 937 acres, restore 585 acres of wetlands, plant near 2,000 trees and establish over 1,500 acres of new public access land.
The projects are designed to help advance the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, an initiative largely funded by the William Penn Foundation, which has spent more than $ 120 million since 2013.
The Delaware River watershed covers 13,500 square miles in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and requires large-scale coordination between states, local governments, and landowners to reduce pollution and preserve the quality of water. water, which can be affected by sewage treatment plants, runoff from agricultural fields and storm water.
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A local project is planning a 6,000 square foot Ecosystem Education Center to complete a freshwater mussel hatchery on the southern border of Bartram’s Garden in southwest Philadelphia on the Schuylkill.
The 8,500 square foot freshwater mussel hatchery planned in conjunction with the Delaware Estuary Partnership will produce up to half a million mussels each year, which will be seeded in streams, rivers and streams. wetlands and local waterways, where each adult mussel can filter up to 20 gallons of water each day, according to Caroline Winschel, director of development at Bartram’s Garden.
Winschel called the hatchery “cutting edge science” and “a world-class facility, possibly the first of its kind in the world.”
Among other local projects:
A federal grant of $ 750,000 and $ 761,000 in matching funds to Ducks Unlimited to restore 150 acres of Henderson Marsh to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, which will help reduce flooding in nearby communities and expand opportunities kayaking and fishing.
A federal grant of $ 123,200 and matching funds of $ 124,000 to the New Jersey Audubon Society to restore 60 acres of habitat and half a mile of creek to help protect the marsh turtle and other endangered species by the federal government.
A federal grant of $ 175,000 and $ 220,257 in matching funds to Glenolden, Delaware County, to stabilize 550 feet of shoreline, construct a riparian buffer zone and redirect the flow of a 48 feet to a wetland in Glenolden Community Park, and help prevent flooding in surrounding Creme Philadelphia.
A federal grant of $ 151,723 and $ 151,723 in matching funds to the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art for the removal of the Hoffman’s Mill Dam along the Brandywine to improve aquatic habitat and restore flowing waters through Brandywine Creek and contribute to the return of the migratory shad after a 200-year absence.
A federal grant of $ 220,000 and matching funds of $ 73,334 to Rutgers and the State of New Jersey for green stormwater infrastructure in the Upper Salem River watershed to reduce water pollution runoff, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and suspended solids.
A federal grant of $ 500,000 and matching funds of $ 1.5 million to the Upstream Alliance to develop a 13 mile water trail along the Cooper River in Camden. The money will also be used to fund recreational programs, such as fishing and kayaking, for 2,000 residents, the hiring of eight residents to manage the programs and restoration of American Shad habitat and river herring.
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Eve Quinones, an environmental educator for Camden County who grew up in Camden, said many residents are disconnected from the Cooper and Delaware rivers because they have been “walled” by industry and pollution. A new river path would help tear down those walls, she said.
“My goal is for this grant to put Camden on the water, hopefully enriching the lives of thousands of people,” said Quinones.
Stuart Clarke, director of the watershed protection program at the William Penn Foundation, said these initiatives are important because “the Delaware River watershed is an interconnected system that requires unified efforts to ensure its health and resilience.
Trandahl said the projects “will help ensure a healthier, cleaner and more resilient future for the Delaware River watershed and the various species that depend on it.”
Below is the full list of grants from both funds: