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Delaware River Named River of the Year for 2020 by American Rivers
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Delaware River Named River of the Year for 2020 by American Rivers

With decades of conservation progress, the Delaware River is finally winning its Oscar-like award for rivers. Fortunately, the river doesn’t require a span of Leonardo DiCaprio movies to prove its worth.

From staining passing ships to becoming a haven for wildlife, Delaware River has become the River of the Year for 2020

On April 14th, the American Rivers announced the Delaware River’s win as the River of the Year for 2020 through Twitter.

Bob Irvin, American Rivers’ CEO, stated that the Delaware River is a model showing how a river could be a catalyst for growing communities and local economies.

The river earned its title by achieving four goals:

  • Federal, regional and state application of clean water protection.
  • Creative local water managing, emphasizing the importance of natural infrastructure.
  • State-wide participation in managing sufficient water resources.
  • Implementation of federal conservation for the river.

The river didn’t always boost a clean water agenda. The water was once filled with toxic waste, and some areas could not harbor any fish or aquatic life.

The Delaware River Basin stated that the river’s quality was so toxic that it caused discoloring of ships as they passed through, and that citizens were revolted by the thick stench from the river.

Now, the water is continually improving as fish and wildlife such as the Atlantic sturgeon and American shad are coming back in unprecedented numbers.

From small breweries to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the conservation of the river has been an ongoing process for numerous groups.

Yet, American Rivers says that there still are challenges that need to be addressed. The organization is asking for federal assistance in tackling aging water infrastructure, urban expansion and the effects of global warming.

These problems could cause intense storms due to climate change, and saltwater interference in drinking water. Additionally, the organization mentions the possible overflowing of sewage at water treatment plants.

The Delaware River stretches between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, spanning a 400-mile trek from New York’s Catskills to Delaware Bay. It provides drinking water for thirteen million people, and the river’s recreational activities have generated $22.5 billion towards the economy on an annual basis.

The Delaware River also carries one of the largest freshwater ports in the world. The mainstem of the river is the longest free-flowing river in the northeastern United States, and it is protected by the National Wild and Scenic River protection.

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Jessica Rogers

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