Caption: Speakers at the Dec. 22 press conference were, from left to right: Madeline Emde from the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed; Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19); Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Inc. Executive Director Jeff Skelding; and Town of Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe.
HANCOCK – Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19), Delaware County and municipal officials, non-profit organizations, and members of the public came together on December 22, 2016 at the offices of Friends of the Upper Delaware River in Hancock, NY to celebrate passage of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act (DRBCA).
The DRBCA will help bring national attention to the Upper Delaware River and establishes a grant program to fund important waterway projects that create jobs and help boost local economies.
Representative Gibson, a co-chair of the Delaware River Congressional Task Force, was a chief sponsor of the bill and worked tirelessly to advance it through the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill was signed into law by the President on December 16.
The new program is non-regulatory and relies on local partnerships to implement projects to help mitigate flooding, protect public infrastructure, and improve water quality. The program also requires meaningful participation at the local level on project review and selection.
“Passage of the DRBCA is timely and dovetails very nicely with the efforts of the Upper Delaware River Tailwaters Coalition to develop a comprehensive waterway management plan for Delaware County below the NYC Delaware basin reservoirs. The project identified in the new waterway plan will require the kind of resources that the DRBCA can provide. The new program has the potential to be an economic shot in the arm for Delaware County municipalities below the dams,” said Jeff Skelding, executive director of Friends of the Upper Delaware River.
The Upper Delaware River Tailwaters Coalition is comprised of Town Supervisors, Village Mayors and county officials from Colchester, Deposit, Hamden, Hancock, Masonville, Sanford, Tompkins and parts of Broome County, NY, the Upper Delaware River Business Coalition, Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Trout Unlimited, and the Equinunk Watershed Alliance.