Delaware River Basin

From the exceptional creeks and streams of the Pocono Mountains region down to the tidal estuary of the Delaware Bay, PennFuture advances efforts to restore and maintain our precious Delaware River Basin.

The source of drinking water for 13 million people, the Delaware River is relied upon as a clean water resource. Fifty years ago, the water quality we enjoy today was nearly unimaginable. Polluters recklessly dumped raw sewage and chemicals straight into the river, making it near impossible to sustain even the most basic forms of aquatic life.

Progress remains fragile. Decades of progress are at risk due to ongoing land development and other activities that expand wastewater discharge. 

We recognize further improvements are still possible. PennFuture is co-leading a Delaware River Basin Commission use-designation petition to upgrade a portion of the lower Delaware River, reflecting community use of the river now includes primary contact recreation sports.  

Our legal team and community organizers lead a variety of campaigns to defend the Delaware against illegal polluters and from efforts to undermine legal protections.

  • Our Pocono Waters is a PennFuture-affiliated coalition of businesses and conservationists advocating for Exceptional Value protection of the Delaware River headwaters.
  • Keep Philly Green & Water Clean is a campaign that advocates wider adoption of innovative infrastructure that minimizes spread of polluting bacteria, helps communities adapt to the dangers of climate change, and expands benefits of nature-based solutions to disadvantaged communities.
  • Stream Redesignation is an important tool for watershed groups to protect and maintain local stream quality. PennFuture published a handbook to guide the process of upgrading and upholding such protections.
  • Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed advocates for federal funding and comprehensive, watershed-wide planning. PennFuture holds the state lead seat for the four-state coalition, guiding efforts to protect and restore the Delaware River, its tributaries and distinctive landscapes in the watershed.

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