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Working with Communities

We are the only advocacy organization working throughout the entire Delaware River Watershed. We use a combination of strong science, community action, and legal expertise to defend the Delaware River, its tributaries, and communities against threats to clean water and healthy rivers. We work with communities to take a strong stance on the hard issues — to defend our River and communities from projects that would do harm, and to fight for and secure new regulations and protections that will provide critical defense and progress in the future.

Climate Change, Fossil Fuels, and Energy

Any practical means to address the growing Climate Crisis must include a just transition away from fossil fuels towards clean, renewable sources of energy. Not only do fossil fuels contribute massive amounts of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, but the associated operations and infrastructure required also scar the landscape and directly impact the health and safety of nearby communities. In addition, new technologies meant to generate energy or sequester carbon must also be proven to be safe, feasible, before adoption. 

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Traffic and Transportation

DRN will often challenge projects wherein the amount and type of traffic, including underlying infrastructure, would have detrimental impacts on communities and the landscape. Noise and air pollution are a factor, as well as the potentially hazardous cargo carried by vehicles that can pose safety risks to the surrounding communities.

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Hazardous Chemicals

The presence of toxic chemicals in the environment is a serious concern because of the potential for far reaching, and long term consequences for our health and the health of wildlife.  As a result, much of our work involves working to implement regulations and policies in order to prevent, limit, control, and manage the presence of these chemicals in our environment.

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Waste Management and Processing

Issues having to do with the generation, storage, transportation, treatment, processing, escape, or re-use of waste from any source. This includes landfills, sewage treatment, radioactive waste, incinerators, waste generated from other industrial operations, and the policies governing how they are managed.

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Pollution, Discharges, and Dumping

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network engages on issues at multiple levels of government and in variety of ways to prevent, monitor, and enforce regulations, where an entity is directly dumping, discharging, or emitting some form of pollution into the environment.

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Water Quality, Health, and Protection

Within our Delaware River watershed, one will find a variety of different waterways and waterbodies, tributary streams, ephemeral and permanent, all of which ultimately drain into the Delaware River. Our work focuses on protecting our water from certain kinds of human activity, such as dredging, filling, and any construction near a body of water which may have a significant impact on the quality of the water, either for drinking, recreation, and for life in general. DRN will often work to upgrade stream designations to higher status for greater protection under the law. We will also engage with government entities regarding certain management practices and policies so that our water resources are well protected and used responsibly.

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Land Protection and Antidegradation

Increasing human development and encroachment on natural land is a major issue, especially in areas where natural open space is scarce, or in areas where biomes are uniquely sensitive to changes. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network works to protect and preserve lands from certain kinds of human activity such as mining, quarrying, mega warehouses, or any project that may involve destruction or disturbance of large tracts of land and forest, which can in turn alter the natural hydrology of an area and impact water supplies. 

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Restoration and Remediation

There is always a question about how we can improve lands and waters that were formerly used by humans, whether to its original natural state, or an improved state that is healthy for both humans and local wildlife. This may involve containing or cleaning up a site that was contaminated with hazardous material, removing invasives and reintroducing natives species to an area, landscaping to improve drainage in a flooded area, creating habitat, or removing dams that obstructed navigation for migrating fish.

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Environmental Rights, Justice, and Equitable River Access

A clean, safe, and healthy environment is essential and fundamental for life to thrive, let alone survive. However, access to clean air, water, and all the stable environmental conditions necessary for life, isn’t always guaranteed, especially for certain demographics and communities that have repeatedly been subjected to pollution and other environmental injustices that have impacted their health and livelihoods. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network works to ensure that every community is afforded the same level of protection under the law and that every community, no matter how small, has a voice in the decision-making process. This fairness must also extend to each individual’s ability to access and enjoy our natural resources.

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Species Protection

Our Delaware River watershed is home to diverse array of plant, fungi, and animal life, some of which are either endangered or approaching endangered status.  Recognizing the important ecological niches they fulfill, as well the vibrancy they bring to the region, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network undertakes efforts to protect and defend these species and the places in which they inhabit.

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Laws, Regulations, and Enforcement

We have a variety of laws at multiple levels of government— federal, state, and local— that are intended to regulate the way we manage our natural resources, generate and produce energy, deal with waste, and laws that govern public participation, among other things.

Much of our work centers on improving and amending these laws and policies to better protect the environment and serve our communities, and make sure the government is held accountable to proper procedures and laws as they stand.

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Flows, Flooding, and Floodplains

Issues pertaining to the way we manage and control stormwater and flows, including infrastructure and projects that may dramatically impact flooding in an area.

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Habitat, Wetlands, and Groundwater

A very special dynamic exists in the interface between land and water which can appear as wetlands or riparian buffers along streams. These zones play a very important role in controlling erosion, filtering out contaminants, controlling for flooding, refilling our aquifers, and providing habitat. 

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