REGION—The United States' Interior Appropriations bill, recently passed by Congress and approved by President Trump, allocated $6 million in funding to the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) for 2019, an increase of $1 million over last year's funding.

According to a release from the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, “The DRBRP will provide much-needed technical assistance and grant funds to address the Delaware River Basin’s environmental challenges.”

The funding is available to help bolster state organizations and non-profit groups in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and New Jersey which are looking to initiate restoration and conservation projects “...that combat critical issues like habitat degradation, invasive species, and climate change,” states the release.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed notes the Delaware River Basin – home to over 400 species of birds, over 90 species of fish, and other diverse species – is at risk of overdevelopment, stormwater runoff, flooding, stream erosion and loss of wildlife habitats.

The river also supplies water to over 15 million people in the four states mentioned above.

Jeff Skelding, Executive Director of the Friends of the Upper Delaware River, stated in a release, “The Upper Delaware River's clean water and prime outdoor recreational opportunities support a growing and increasingly important river-based regional economy in New York State.

“The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program will invest funds into improving the Upper Delaware, which will safeguard the area's jobs, boost tourism, and ensure this essential resource stays healthy.”

The DRBRP was created by passage of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2016 and received its inaugural funding last year.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed notes program funding can go towards “water quality improvements, habitat restoration and protection, flood mitigation, strategic planning to enhance resilience, public access and recreation, planning, monitoring and research.”

—Information from a release was used in this story.