Federal funding for the multistate Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) has been awarded, for the first time ever. The amount — $5 million — isn’t a heck of a lot of money given the scope of the work involved, but advocates are taking it as a good sign and perhaps a harbinger of future funding. The money will go toward conservation and restoration projects in fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and management, repairing flood damage, and improving recreational opportunities and public access. The basin supplies drinking water to about 15 million people.
New Jersey’s portion of the Delaware River Basin covers 40 percent (2,961 square miles) of the land area and includes 22 percent of the state’s population. The region’s a real economic engine for the Garden State, with more than 60,000 related jobs and $1.3 billion in annual wages; the jobs are in fishing, recreation, tourism, water/sewer construction, water utilities, and ports. (The basin also encompasses portions of New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.)