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Joining Forces to Preserve the Delaware River

HANCOCK, NY. -- Environmental groups are teaming up with state agencies along the Delaware River in a new effort to protect it.

On the banks of the upper Delaware River, you can find many species of wildlife that depend on the river for life. You'll also find communities that depend on the river's wildlife for fishing and tourism income

Environmental and government officials recognize the importance of the river to those who live around it and are coming together help to maintain its health
they call it the 4theDelaware campaign.

"To keep the water clean, to make sure the tributaries are healthy all of that stuff leads to a healthy economy. This is a notoriously underfunded section of the Delaware River and we want to change that," says Jeff Skelding, the Executive Director of Friends of the Upper Delaware River.

Now Wildlife and Government Officials from the state of Pennsylvania and the state of New York will be working with the National Wildlife Federation to help preserve the integrity of the Delaware River so that the wildlife here can flourish.

"What's the number one pollutant in Pennsylvania waterways? It's sediment, it's actually dirt," says Kristina Keister of the National Park Service.

Conversationalists say dirt from roads and development is making its way into the river at an abnormally fast rate, keeping the fish from their spawning grounds.

"When you reduce the shorelines with less water and it starts to shrink then you have all those fish moving into a concentrated area and once they become competitive they become stressed, and when they become stressed they can't thrive in the environment," says Jim 'Coz' Costolnick, a river guide who's been taking folks out on the river for more than 27 years.

River guides say if the fish can't thrive, then the multi-million dollar tourism economy for the upper Delaware River is at stake.

These groups are teaming up to produce projects, conduct research, and advocate for more funding to keep the upper Delaware River beautiful.