The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed hosted a webinar on Monday, October 5 to share information on a project seeking to promote fair and equitable opportunities to “get more people, more often, in more places” swimming, paddling and enjoying the 27 mile stretch of the Delaware River flowing past Philadelphia, Camden and Chester.
The Water Center, University of Pennsylvania, and the American Littoral Society, with the support of the William Penn Foundation, are creating a “road map” of possible improvements and a process to advise policy makers on preferred paths for relatively short-term action that would result in better water quality in targeted areas of the Delaware River in order to support swimming, wading, and paddling.
Thankfully, the section of the river adjacent to these cities has already seen improvement due to the combination of federal, state and local regulations, in concert with action by public utilities and community groups to reduce pollution. However, many believe that additional steps can be taken in the near future to improve water quality with the associated societal and economic benefits.
While it is important to support safe and healthy activities on all sections of the river, this is especially important in this region which includes economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and areas with newly developed opportunities for recreational enjoyment and economic growth.
In sum, the goal of the Returning to the River project is to develop a strategy for reducing bacteria-related pollution, while working with people representing all aspects of its use, in order to increase opportunities for swimming and paddling in the Philadelphia/Camden/Chester areas of the Delaware River.