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DRBC Staff Participate in Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed-Hosted Forum

The Accelerating Action: The Delaware River Watershed Forum was held on Monday and Tuesday, October 28-29, 2013 at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa. Hosted by the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed with funding support from the William Penn Foundation, this free, two-day forum brought together over 200 people from more than 60 non-government organizations, as well as those representing public agencies and universities, to explore key issues affecting conservation and restoration work in the watershed. 

The first day focused on landscapes, and the second day focused on watershed-wide issues; each included a series of facilitated, action-focused discussions amongst session leaders and attendees. Keynote speakers included:

  • Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, who discussed the impacts of climate change on the Delaware River and highlighted the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy;
  • Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for the City of Philadelphia, whose remarks focused on the importance of connecting diverse communities to the waterfront and creating a conservation ethic; and
  • Jerry Kauffman, University of Delaware professor of water science and policy, who spoke about the economic value of the Delaware River, a topic on which he penned a opinion piece that was printed in the October 27, 2013 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer (click here to view).

Laura Sparks, Chief Philanthropy Officer of the William Penn Foundation, announced during the forum that "the foundation is directing significant funding toward impacting the entire watershed and is interested in creating a shared Vision for the Watershed. The foundation plans to impact the Delaware basin by addressing watershed-wide issues, protecting and restoring places of ecological significance, and building the constituency for the watershed by engaging people." Learn more at http://www.williampennfoundation.org/WatershedProtection.aspx.

Several DRBC staff members participated in the forum:

  • Jessica R. Sanchez, Ph.D., DRBC Basin Planner, gave a "Basin-wide Perspective" presentation on October 28 as part of the "Water: Tributaries, River, and Bay" session;
  • DRBC Executive Director Carol R. Collier spoke as part of the "Research for Policy Making" session on October 29;
  • Erik Silldorff, Ph.D., DRBC Aquatic Biologist, presented "Status-Reason-Response: The Role of Data in Watershed Management" on October 29 as part of the "Knowledge Base - Monitoring, Databases, and Modeling" session; and
  • DRBC Deputy Director Robert Tudor attended the forum on October 29.

Kim Beidler, Project Coordinator for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, said that next steps include compiling the notes taken during the forum to identify common key issues and themes. The William Penn Foundation has expressed an interest in using the coalition to facilitate workgroups around some of those key issues as they move forward towards implementing a shared "Vision for the Watershed."

View web site for the forum, which includes links to presentations given and a synopsis paper highlighting key issues that emerged from the discussions.