The Delaware River Watershed

The Delaware River Watershed is a special place. On its lower reaches sit the country’s largest freshwater port complex and Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. But to the north of the Delaware Water Gap, the watershed is very different. Nearly 90% forested and predominantly rural, the Upper Delaware River watershed produces exceptional quality water for the millions of people who live throughout the watershed – over 15 million people, both in the rural upper reaches and in the urban lower reaches. This water quality is the direct result of the abundant forests of the Upper Delaware River Basin.

But there are threats to forests in the headwaters region. The upper Delaware River basin contains the fastest growing counties in each of the three respective states: Pike County, Pennsylvania; Orange County, New York; and Sussex County, New Jersey. Pike County and Wayne County, Pennsylvania (ninth fastest growing) both rank highly in overall increase of population density; indicating widespread urbanization; corresponding forest loss; and increase in impervious surface.

The Common Waters Fund helps to address these threats head on by providing incentives to forest landowners to maintain their forests as forests. The Common Waters Fund will fund conservation easements and forest management throughout the Upper Delaware region, helping landowners improve the health of their forest and permanently protecting forests.