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Sign on to our letter to make the Delaware River safe for primary contact recreation!


Today, people enjoy our beautiful river in many ways that bring them into direct contact with the water, what is known as primary contact recreation, such as kayaking, swimming and tubing. The regulations currently upheld by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), Pennsylvania and New Jersey fail to recognize that these primary contact recreation uses take place frequently on the Delaware River along Philadelphia and Camden. As a result, the current water quality standards cannot be relied upon to sufficiently protect the health and safety of individuals, children and families who enjoy primary contact recreation activities on this stretch of the Delaware River.

Our petition calls upon DRBC and the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to recognize primary contact recreation as a designated use for this section of the Delaware River in order to conform with the mandates of the Clean Water Act as well as to modify the water quality standards to better protect the health and safety of those who participate in activities on the river that involve direct contact with the water.

It is important for those of us who enjoy the River today, and those who will enjoy the River for generations to come, to know that the DRBC and other agencies have put in place regulatory protections that will ensure the healthy water quality necessary to fully support ongoing recreational uses of the river, including those that put us in direct contact with the water.

If you would like to sign on in support of locking in the environmental successes we have achieved to date and help to make more progress that will make our Delaware River even safer for those who enjoy the water in our urban reaches, please sign this letter of support for our Safe & Healthy Delaware Petition:

Delaware River Basin Commission
PO Box 7360
West Trenton, NJ 08628

Re:      Support for the Petition to Upgrade the Lower Delaware River to Primary Contact Recreation

Dear Commissioners:

On March 2, 2020, the Delaware River Basin Commission received a petition supported by organizations from across our watershed and region requesting that it upgrade the designated use of  Zone 3 and River Miles 95.0 to 81.8 of Zone 4 of the Delaware Estuary to include primary contact recreation. I support this Petition and urge the Commission to upgrade the Delaware River as requested.

As the Petition shows, this section of the lower Delaware River is already being used by community members for primary contact recreation – things like waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, and swimming. Additionally, numerous organizations, including educational and cultural institutions as well as environmental groups, regularly host primary contact recreational programming in this section of the river.  

The Commission has a legal duty to protect these primary contact uses. Recognizing the existing use of primary contact recreation will ensure that the Commission and the member states prioritize developing and enforcing the standards and protections essential for those who are enjoying these sections of the River for primary contact recreation.

I therefore urge the Commission to upgrade the Delaware River as requested in the March 2, 2020 Petition.