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Successful, Committed Partnership Highlighted in Re-Signing of Delaware Estuary Agreement

Earlier this month, environmental officials from federal, state, and regional agencies joined together for a ceremonial signing of an agreement renewing their joint commitment and responsibility for continued water quality improvements and water supply sustainability in the Delaware Estuary and Bay.

Organized by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), the signing ceremony occurred at its offices in Wilmington, Del. The agreement highlights a unique partnership made between PDE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), state environmental agencies in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD). It is renewed every seven years and outlines the roles and responsibilities of these key partners of the Delaware Estuary Program, which was created in 1996. 

DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini was one of the featured speakers. His remarks focused on how the mission and activities of the DRBC and the Delaware Estuary Program are closely connected: both emphasize the importance of collaboration and cooperation, utilizing a watershed approach to managing resources, and using sound science to improve water quality, maintain adequate water supply, and plan for future needs.

"Today we renew our ongoing commitment with our estuary partners to join together in planning for a sustainable future to ensure that we have a resilient water inventory to meet the region's needs as well as use our collective expertise to protect and improve water quality throughout the tidal river and bay," said Tambini.

Several other environmental leaders provided remarks: Jen Adkins, PDE Executive Director, David Small, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC); Kelly Heffner, Deputy Secretary for Water Management at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP); Daniel Kennedy, Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources Management at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP); Kevin Donnelly, Chairman of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary's Board of Directors; Shawn M. Garvin, Regional Administrator of the U.S. EPA's Region 3 Office; Lisa J. Plevin, Chief of Staff at the U.S. EPA's Region 2 Office; and Howard Neukrug, PWD Commissioner.

Using tap water pumped from the Brandywine River (a Delaware River Basin tributary), the event culminated in a toast celebrating the accomplishments that have been achieved jointly through these partnerships since the formation of the Delaware Estuary Program in 1996. The signing of the new agreement highlights each agency's continued commitment to work together towards the common goals of an environmentally healthy and economically viable Delaware Estuary and Bay. 

For more information on the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, please visit http://www.delawareestuary.org/