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Our Campaigns

Delaware Watershed Project

Goal: To better enable citizens, activists, officials and others to take positive action to improve the health of the Delaware River watershed.
The Delaware River is one of America's most treasured waterways.  The river and its tributaries are a home for wildlife, scenic views, and opportunities for fishing, swimming and hiking.  The watershed provides drinking water for more than 15 million people.  
To realize the Clean Water Act’s promise to make all of our waters safe enough for swimming and fishing, we need to make it easier for people to see and understand the problems affecting our waters. That’s why we organized the Delaware Watershed Project.
What’s wrong in our watershed?

When rivers like Ohio’s Cuyahoga were so polluted they caught fire, it was easy to see our waters were sick. When discharge pipes spewing toxic waste lined rivers like the Delaware, it was easy to see why our waters were sick.

Today our rivers don’t catch fire, and discharge pipes are fewer and farther between. But that doesn’t mean waters such as the Delaware are healthy.

Pollutants still run off into the watershed from parking lots, streets, backyards and farms. Toxic waste sites still aren’t fully cleaned up. Sewage systems still overflow during storms, and those overflows are getting worse as climate change supercharges storms. New threats are emerging as well.

Our map highlights threats from fossil fuels and mining, industrial pollution, urban and agricultural runoff, and sewage systems.

Photo credit: (from left)  ILoveMountains.org/CC BY 2.0, Public Domain, Public Domain, Kate Boicourt / Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Visualizing the problems so we can solve them

To realize the Clean Water Act’s promise to make all of our waters safe enough for swimming and fishing, we need to make it easier for people to see and understand how the problems of today are affecting our waters. That’s why we organized the Delaware Watershed Project.

We built the project around three principles:

First, water is life, as many activists say, but it’s also local. Everybody supports clean water in general. People care most deeply about the river, stream, lake or other body of water that’s close to their home and heart. That’s why we chose the Delaware River watershed as the focus for our work. It allows us to do a deep dive (pardon the pun) into the problems affecting one watershed that touches the lives of millions of people.

Second, it’s the 21st century. We expect to find answers on our laptops, tablets and phones. By creating an online interactive map of the problems affecting the watershed, we’re raising awareness of the problems in a way that’s accessible and meaningful.

Third, we believe in empowering people. Our hope is that these tools, and the information they provide, will better enable local citizens, activists, officials and others to take positive action to improve the health of the Delaware watershed.

After all, we wouldn’t have made so much progress cleaning up our waters if it weren’t for the concern and action of thousands of citizens across the country.

ACT NOW

Our hope is that we bring to the project both the professional expertise it demands and the on-the-ground experience that makes information useful and powerful for local residents and activists.

To learn more about the problems affecting the Delaware watershed, check out our online interactive map now.