Delaware Public Media

Advocates hope Delaware River Basin gets full FY19 federal funding

Jul 13, 2018

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is hoping for more federal funding in the fiscal year 2019 budget.


The U.S. House is likely to vote on next year’s appropriations for the river basin next week. 

The Delaware River Basin got $5 million in dedicated funding from Congress earlier this year. The state matched that amount, putting a total of $10 million into the restoration program.

Sandra Meola, Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed said for the first time ever, the river basin is finally getting the same dedicated federal support that other basins get.

Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge
Credit Sarah Mueller

“The Delaware is crucial to the Mid-Atlantic Region health and economy, but also faces some significant challenges including stream erosion, flooding, polluted runoff, overdevelopment and habitat loss,” she said.

Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed Friday at Bombay Hook in Smyrna. Meola said Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Smyrna is a prime example of how federal dollars can help conserve habitat for wildlife like migrating birds.

Coons said he and Carper worked together to make sure the money got included the FY 2018 spending bill.

“He’s an authorizer and I’m an appropriator, so when he does the hard work of laying the groundwork by authorizing something, it then gives me and my team the opportunity to then go and appropriate something," he said. "It’s the ‘Mother may I’ and ‘Here’s how much’ of the federal government.”

Ducks Unlimited, a habitat conservation group, has used federal funding at Bombay Hook to conserve more than a 1,000 acres of wetlands.

Delaware River Basin states include Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Delaware River supplies drinking water to Philadelphia, New York and the city of Wilmington.

The House is recommending giving another $5 million to the restoration program next year. A Senate committee approved $4 million.