Philadelphia’s William Penn Foundation says it is injecting an additional $42 million into protecting the Delaware River watershed, an area encompassing thousands of square miles that provides drinking water and recreation to people in four states.
The money, to be spent over three years, will bring the total to more than $100 million the foundation has pledged to the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, which began in 2014. Janet Haas, chairwoman of the foundation, made the announcement Wednesday at Adventure Aquarium on the Camden waterfront.
“When we led the creation of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, our intent was to serve as a catalyst for accelerated watershed protection in our region,” Haas said. “We wanted to build a framework that would harness the enormous capacity of conservation organizations to work together on a shared approach, and to see whether that critical mass could affect greater change.”
The initiative funds and coordinates efforts among 65 nonprofits working to protect the watershed, which covers all the land and waterways that ultimately funnel and filter rainwater into the Delaware River. The groups pool resources, provide scientific expertise, restore wetlands, buy land, and monitor water quality at 500 stations. The watershed provides drinking water for more than 15 million people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.