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Pledging to protect our water

The Delaware River flows for 330 miles through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, providing drinking water to more than 15 million people and supporting a multitude of wildlife and plant species. The individual choices we make ultimately help to determine the quality of that water.
TRR photos by Sandy Long

February 24, 2016

Countless individuals have worked with great dedication to protect the magnificent Delaware River—and other regional waterways—from a variety of potential harms. Sometimes that has called for heroic feats of activism to fend off the impacts of power lines, pipelines and natural gas extraction. In reality, all of the individual actions we take, based upon the choices we make, impact the quality of our water, and each of us can implement meaningful and manageable steps to minimize those impacts and protect our water.

Our regional land trust, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, Wildlands Conservancy, Pocono Heritage Land Trust and the Brodhead Watershed Association, has launched a new website filled with useful tools, helpful tips and a motivational challenge to take a pledge on behalf of our lakes, rivers and streams. Participants choose from one or more categories related to conservation initiatives, impacts of lawn fertilizers, native plants and gardens and volunteerism.

Website visitors who take a pledge—or pledges—help to create a map showing the locations of others taking action to conserve and protect water in the region. The resulting image shows the impact their collective actions are having on nearby rivers and streams. The online educational resource, “Clear Choices, Clean Water: My Delaware River” can be accessed at MyDelawareRiver.ClearChoicesCleanWater.org.

Visit www.DelawareHighlands.org to learn even more about how protecting land affects water quality.

Photo caption: The Clear Choices Clean Water website offers a host of informative links. The roles played by native plants, such as the Joe Pye weed depicted in the foreground of this photo, and non-natives like the invasive purple loosestrife in the background, are explained in terms of their relationship to water quality. For those interested in focusing their water-supportive actions on native plants, a link to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center provides a list of native species, with images, for each state. See the lists for Pennsylvania and New York at www.wildflower.org/collections . Learn about some of the most common invasive plants impacting regional waterways at www.brodheadwatershed.org/invasive_plants.html .