NARROWSBURG – The Upper Delaware Council, Inc. (UDC) reached out to welcome Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf shortly after he took office on Jan. 20 as the Commonwealth’s 47th chief executive.
The non-profit organization tasked with protecting and conserving the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River that forms the northeastern Pennsylvania border with New York State penned a Jan. 23 letter offering congratulations to the successful Democratic candidate and providing a brief overview of the UDC’s operation.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been a voting member of the Upper Delaware Council since its inception in 1998.
Pennsylvania Code Subchapter MM. Upper Delaware Federal Scenic River assigns the Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) as the Commonwealth’s appointed representative to the UDC and provides that “conflicts among fiscal, development, service or regulatory activities of State agencies which have a direct and significant impact on the Upper Delaware River resources and cannot be resolved through available administrative mechanisms will be resolved by the Governor.”
The Pennsylvania Code, which superseded Executive Orders No. 1989-2 and 2003-05, directs all its state agencies to “act consistently with the goals, policies and objectives of the Upper Delaware Scenic River Management Plan” to the maximum extent permitted by law in recognition of the national designation bestowed upon the bi-state Upper Delaware River for its outstanding resource values.
The UDC letter describes the establishment of the Council to oversee administration of the River Management Plan and the cooperative management model among its federal, state, and local partners that relies primarily on the use of existing land use controls and voluntary private landowner actions to achieve the stewardship mission.
The River Management Plan adopted in 1986 proposed a 60% Federal and 40% State cost-sharing ratio to fund the operation of the UDC. While the federal government has provided an annual appropriation through a line item in the National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River’s budget, neither Pennsylvania nor New York State have ever contributed their anticipated shares and the federal funding has remained largely static over the past 27 years.
“The situation of a flat-level revenue stream, offset by exponentially increasing operational expenses every year, has presented a financial challenge for the UDC,” the letter points out.
The UDC invites Governor Wolf to visit the Upper Delaware River Valley and enjoy the boating, fishing, sightseeing, and other recreational activities that attract approximately 250,000 visitors per year to contribute to the local economy.
Courtesy copies of the UDC letter were provided to PA DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn, whom Gov. Wolf selected to join his administration after Dunn had previously served as a deputy secretary for that agency and was most recently the chief executive officer of PennFuture, and to the federal and state elected officials representing the Upper Delaware River Valley region, among others.The Commonwealth’s interests on the UDC are currently represented by Timothy Dugan, PA DCNR’s District Forester for the Delaware State Forest Office based in Swiftwater.
The PA alternate representative, Rhonda Manning, is the River Basin Program Coordinator for the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Interstate Water Office located in Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania Township UDC members include Berlin, Damascus, Lackawaxen, Shohola and Westfall; who work jointly with the New York Towns of Hancock, Fremont, Delaware, Tusten, Cochecton, Highland, Lumberland and Deerpark. The Delaware River Basin Commission is a non-voting member.
For more information about the UDC, please call the Narrowsburg office at (845) 252-3022 or visit