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PMarch 15, 2013

EDiS is Proud to Play a Role: Improving the Delaware Estuary

Being located on the Christiana River, we are reminded of our link to the environment and our water supply every day.   Luckily, EDiS has the privilege of sharing our building with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), which reminds us daily that everything we do in our office, on our project sites, or even at home, effects the environment.   We are relieved to have recently learned that the PDE is able to demonstrate that programs all over the region, like the EDiS GreenSense program, are having a substantial impact on our watershed.

45237316The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary provides service to the tidal reaches of the Delaware River and Bay and to the land draining to them in coastal Delaware, Southern New Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania. The Estuary provides habitats for many species of fish, shellfish, waterfowl, migrating birds and many more, as well as continuously strives to protect our waterways in highly commercialized area. Recently, the PDE issued a report entitled “State of the Delaware Estuary for 2012”, which is updated every 3-5 years, that assesses the current condition of the estuary.

According to the Delaware Estuary’s study, we currently hold a “fair” rating, which suggests that we need improvement in controlling new and existing contaminants in the watershed. We are losing forests faster than we can restore them, and these areas drain to our watersheds. Coastal wetlands are threatened and eastern oysters have suffered due to disease, climate change and lack of funding. Additionally, the Atlantic sturgeon has recently been listed as an endangered species and freshwater mussels have continued to decline in numbers. These freshwater mussels are able to filter ten gallons of water a day therefore, if we were able to increase their numbers, this species could function similar to a wastewater treatment plant!

osprey_652_600x450It’s not all bad news! Water management for public uses has done well. Fresh water and salt water balance is good, allowing for quality drinking water. Water pollution in the Delaware River is the cleanest it has been since before the Industrial Revolution; however, it is not quite safe enough for the consumption of fish or for swimming. The number of Osprey, a fish-eating bird of prey, have severely rebounded in the Delaware Bay area since the banning of the pesticide DDT and other harmful chemicals. Also, although the Delaware Bay’s horseshoe crab population is only a fraction of what it once was, it is still the largest breeding population in the world; therefore, the species is not at risk.

Jennifer Adkins, executive director of the PDE, reinforced the notion that the estuary is improving and moving in the right direction. Adkins stated, “We are happy to report that the Delaware River and Bay are continuing to recover from the centuries of pollution. What was once a dead river in parts, is now alive with striped bass and blue crabs thanks to less water pollution and good management – that’s a major victory. But we still face many challenges, including shad and oysters that continue to struggle, and sturgeon that are in real trouble”.

Everyone already knows about the typical environmental helpers like recycling, light changing and more that the EDiS GreenSense  program continually promotes, but how else can you help? The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has a few upcoming events that you can join:

[Click here to get the Delaware Estuary Study: http://www.delawareestuary.org/pdf/EstuaryNews/2012/SummerNews12.pdf ]

To find out more information about the Partnership of the Delaware Estuary and read the current report, go to: http://www.delawareestuary.org/state-estuary

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