CNTY STORY - Red Knots Crabs 2020-5.jpg

Over 100 years ago, horseshoe crabs were used by the hundreds of thousands as a fertilizer for the fields and farms in the region. They also were used as bait, and their blood is valuable for medical testing. Now, their numbers are decreasing, which can throw off the eco-system of the Delaware Bay region, including providing less food for the Red Knots who rely on their eggs for nutrition.

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TRENTON - The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the fourth round of Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grantees, totaling nearly $11.5 million in awards. 

According to a release issued by the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, $560,800 will be awarded from the funding for horseshoe crab and shorebird restoration work at Kimbles Beach, in Dias Creek.

Grantees have committed more than $13.5 million in match, for a total conservation impact of $25 million that will restore and protect land and water resources.

The awards announced Sept. 20 were granted to 41 projects in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The projects range from increasing habitat resiliency and beach restoration to those that will expand recreational information and access. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which assesses climate change science, released its new 2021 report, serving as a warning for policymakers all over the world of nearing irreversible tipping points. Climate change is rapidly intensifying as a result of human activity, resulting in devastating floods and destructive wildfires. 

Funding from the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund will provide projects with the necessary resources to combat the effects of climate change through improving drinking water quality and protecting our communities against flooding. 

“We’re thankful to our congressional champions and thrilled to see that our advocacy for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program continues to translate to on-the-ground dollars for restoration and conservation throughout the Delaware River Basin,” stated Kelly Knutson, interim director of The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “The science is clear. Climate change is here, and this round of funded projects will go a long way to improving water quality and protecting our communities against flooding. Today’s announcement of 41 projects will continue to build a lasting impact of protecting our land and water resources across the region.” 

On behalf of Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) and the Delaware Estuary Program, Kathy Klein, executive director, PDE, stated, "We are thrilled to see the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund growing and supporting so many meaningful projects in the Delaware River Watershed. These projects support the Estuary Program's themes of clean waters, healthy habitats and strong communities, and are helping to achieve the goals of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan to make watershed improvements to benefit millions of people who live, work and play in the region."

“The Musconetcong Watershed Association thanks the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund for providing matching funds to expanding recreational information, access and interpretive development at scenic, recreational, and historic sites in northwestern New Jersey,” stated Alan Hunt, director, Policy and Grants, Musconetcong Watershed Association. “This project will advance the development of an interpretive center at the historic 1865 Asbury Mill, create a new interpretive loop trail connected to that Mill, and provide online maps and guides of recreational resources from Lake Hopatcong down the Musconetcong River, to the Delaware River.”

“With this award from the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, we are thrilled to be joining the many projects that aim to restore and conserve the vital Delaware River Watershed,” stated Jen Mihills, Mid-Atlantic regional executive director, National Wildlife Federation. “This round of funding will support sacred grounds in Wilmington, Delaware, a program that recognizes congregations, houses of worship and faith communities, who both create wildlife habitat and actively link faith practices and caring for the environment.” 

Funded projects will contribute to long-term outcomes for equitable access to nature, resiliency, healthy habitat, and a thriving outdoor economy. This year’s grant slate also includes projects that address disparities in access to nature by putting equity, justice and cultural competency at the core of their work. 

A full list of 2021 Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund grants is available here.

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