Assessing Threats to the Delaware River: NJ Spotlight Roundtable

Although the river is a lot cleaner than in decades past, experts discuss the perils it faces including regulation rollback and looming climate change
Bruce Friedman of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Carol R. Collier of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University were among the roundtable panelists.

The Delaware River’s watershed supplies drinking water to some 13 million people. Once characterized as an “open sewer” by the Delaware River Basin Commission, the river now is much cleaner than it was in the mid-20th century. Tougher environmental regulations on discharges have led to higher oxygen levels in the river, allowing fish to return and breed in areas that previously supported little or no aquatic life, while improving water quality for drinking and recreation.

But could the progress be reversed? Environmentalists fear the gains are threatened by the Trump administration’s rollback of the Waters of the U.S. Rule that protects smaller wetlands and seasonal streams from pollution or development. Experts at an NJ Spotlight roundtable on March 5 also discussed how the river is at risk too from climate-related threats including floods, droughts, and encroaching saltwater.

The roundtable took place at Cooper’s Riverview, Trenton on March 5.



Carol R. Collier, Senior Adviser, Watershed Management and Policy, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Bruce Friedman, Director, Division of Water Monitoring and Standards, Water Resource Management, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Dr. Alan Hunt, Policy Director, Musconetcong Watershed Association

Kathy Klein, Executive Director, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey



Jon Hurdle, NJ Spotlight Environmental Reporter


Related content:

Delaware River Experts Hail Environmental Wins but Warn of New Climate Threats


NJTV News Delaware River Explainer

Delaware River Basin map 1

Delaware River Basin map 2




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