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DRBC Joins Partners to Celebrate Passage of New Delaware River Conservation Law

DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini joined federal, regional, and local partners at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia on Jan. 19 to celebrate the recent enactment of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act (DRBCA).

Speakers included Mr. Tambini, U.S. Representatives Patrick Meehan (Pa.-7) and Ryan Costello (Pa.-6), Michael Slattery (Acting Coordinator for the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Maddy Urbish (Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed), and Lamar Gore (John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Manager).

The DRBCA, which was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 16, 2016 as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act ("WIIN Act"), establishes a non-regulatory program to identify, prioritize, and implement restoration and protection activities throughout the Delaware River Basin.

Executive Director Tambini noted that the new law "is a great complement to the effective and extensive planning, science, and regulatory programs that we currently manage at DRBC with our state and federal partners." He went on to say, "Water is not a partisan issue. Water is life. Thanks to the leadership of the Delaware River Watershed’s congressional delegation – in both houses of Congress on both sides of the aisle – the Delaware River Watershed is not only getting the additional resources it needs, it is also getting the national recognition it deserves as one of this nation’s great waterways." He thanked Congressman Costello, Congressman Meehan, and all of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives who supported this legislative effort. The DRBCA bills were originally introduced in 2015 by Senator Tom Carper (Del.) and former Congressman (now Governor) John Carney (Del.).

Mr. Tambini also recognized and thanked the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed and its director, Maddy Urbish, for their vision, focus, and leadership.

The speakers noted a common theme: with numerous private entities, non-government organizations, and government agencies operating throughout our complex and diverse river system, the new law encourages greater cooperation and collaboration. The law’s competitive, matching grant and technical assistance programs, if funded, will not only complement ongoing efforts, but also leverage federal investment in a water resource that is vital to our regional and national economies and quality of life.