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Shad project among grantees from new Delaware River conservation fund

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Delaware's congressional delegation stand with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials to present a ceremonial check to grantees

The first grants have been announced from a new fund to support conservation efforts in the Delaware River Watershed.


Twenty-five projects impacting the Delaware River are being funded through the new Delaware River Watershed Conservation Fund, which was established by the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act in 2016.

Only one of the grants awarded this cycle will fund a project solely in Delaware: the Brandywine Shad Conversation Project.

Hunter Lott is a leader of that project, which received a $241,000 grant from the fund. He says shad live most of their lives in saltwater, but need freshwater to spawn. The Brandywine Shad Conversation Project aims to help restore the local shad population by removing several dams in the Brandywine River.

“When they don’t have any impediments to get around, they will do what nature tells them to do,” said Lott. “They will run up the river. They will spawn. And the next year, the year after that, there will be thousands more.”

A total of 4.1 million dollars was awarded this cycle to projects in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.  

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation chief conservation officer Holly Bamford says Delawareans will benefit from projects funded upstream.

“Delaware, being at the end of the watershed, is going to benefit from all the projects that are taking place in Pennsylvania , New Jersey and New York,” said Bamford.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is accepting proposals for the next round of grants until April 11.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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