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Share your stories to support improving water quality standards for the Delaware River!

the Delaware River kayaking

Your voice is needed to make the Delaware River cleaner and safer for recreation! Have you ever enjoyed kayaking, canoeing or other recreation activities on the section of the Delaware River from Philadelphia/Camden to Chester Township in Delaware County, PA? If so we want you to share your story with us!

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is required to make the water quality standards safe for the recreation activities that are already happening on the Delaware River from Philadelphia/Camden to Chester Township in Delaware County, PA. Your statements will help show DRBC that primary contact recreation activities are taking place on the Delaware River and must be protected. Primary contact recreation includes all activities that bring individuals into direct contact with the water such as canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, water skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, and tubing.

Access to clean outdoor space is more important than ever right now. Today, people participate in activities on the Delaware River along Philadelphia, Camden and upper Delaware County, PA in many ways that bring them into direct contact with the water, which is known as “primary contact” recreation. However, the existing regulations for the river only protect “secondary contact” recreation, which means that water quality only needs to be good enough for activities that involve limited contact with the water, such as fishing from the shoreline. As a result, the current water quality standards, which establish limits for concentrations of harmful bacteria, such as fecal coliform and enterococcus, are inadequate for protecting the health and safety of everyone who enjoys “primary contact” recreation activities on this stretch of the river.

This past March, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a coalition of organizations in the region submitted the Safe and Healthy Delaware River Petition to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC).  This petition asks DRBC and its member states to upgrade the regulatory status for the portion of the Delaware River from Philadelphia and Camden to Chester Township (Delaware County, PA). Now, we need your help in advancing it!

Share your primary contact recreation experiences!

Send us your story about why primary contact recreation on this stretch of the Delaware has been beneficial to you. You can either write your story or record a video. Please be sure to include the type of primary contact activity you participated in.

Your story will play a key role in making sure DRBC and its member states take the necessary actions in order to upgrade water quality standards and better protect the health and safety of everyone who enjoys this section of the river. 

Consider including the following in your written or video testimonial:

  • If you have participated in this activity more than once, how frequently have you participated in this activity?
  • When (during which months/years) have you participated in this activity?  
  • Where on the river did you participate in this activity?
  • Did you come into direct contact with the water and how frequently? If you have gotten splashed, or accidentally ingested water, let us know!
  • If other people have benefited with you, how many?  
  • Include pictures, video, or other multimedia content documenting your experience.

If you are recording a video testimonial consider the following:

  • Keep your story under 2 minutes in length (you can write out your statement and read it back to yourself for practice)
  • After you’re comfortable with your testimony choose a location with proper lighting.  Try to avoid getting shadows or glare on your face.
  • Recording works best if you can have someone hold the camera, and tell you as you approach 2 minutes (hand signal)
  • If you’re using a smartphone, please have the person shooting the testimony hold the phone so the framing is landscape style. The phone should be held lengthwise forming a rectangle.
  • Speak slowly and clearly to make sure your message is delivered effectively. Playback the video and make sure that your voice can be heard and that there isn’t too much background noise.

Instructions for Submission: 

For more information about this campaign and to learn how your organization can get involved, see our Guide.