WRA Newsletter

FEBRUARY 5, 2020


Nominations Due February 10th for Annual Awards

Every year at our annual Recognition Gala, we honor leaders, visionaries and mentors who have made significant contributions to science, and science based solutions for the sustainable management of the Delaware River Basin. Nominations are being accepted through February 10th. Guidelines are available here.

Nominate Your Mentor, Client, Inspiration



Board Chair’s Update

WRA Board Chair Jane Rowan attended the DRBC’s Regulated Flow Advisory Committee’s Subcommittee on Ecological Flows at the Lake Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center in Hawley, Pennsylvania. Discussions focused on the science and application of the current 2017 Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP). DRBC, USFWS, NYCDEP, PA FBC, and members of various environmental organizations discussed how flow and temperature initiated releases of banked water from the Upper Delaware River affected flows downstream. Additional information can be found on DRBC’s website.



fall technical symposium

Strategies for a Sustainable Delaware Basin: Fall Technical Symposium

In keeping with WRA’s mission to promote science based management of the Delaware River, WRA hosted a Fall Technical Symposium on Strategies for a Sustainable Delaware River Basin November 6, 2019 at the Rutgers EcoComplex. Marc Gold, our Symposium Chair, organized the day around this theme “because sustainable management of this resource unites us all - water supply, energy production, ecosystem and fisheries health, shipping and manufacturing, to name a few - as beneficiaries, and as an important part of the solution.”



Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, energy and food production, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change, serving as the crucial link between society and the environment.

– The United Nations



Steve Tambini

DRBC: Climate Change Concerns Span the Basin

Steve Tambini and his staff of scientists and modelers provided a deep dive into the latest data and analysis of the river basin. Key water quality parameters overall can be characterized as good and trending positively, including dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and fish contaminants. Emerging contaminants (PFAs and PFOs) and salinity, the latter due in large part to climate change, represent major challenges for the basin. Measuring and reporting of water use has greatly improved since the 1990’s; water use and consumptive use remains stable, or decreasing (which is a positive trend).

Climate change is driving sea level rise, and increases in temperatures and precipitation, which affect seasonality of flow, amount of snowpack, and the availability of water for all uses. More extreme weather events, including tropical storms, flooding and short-duration dry periods require enhanced flood mitigation and water management solutions.



NYC Water Supply System

It Starts at the Top: Sustainability in the Headwaters

The sustainability of the basin starts in the headwaters. The New York City water supply, the largest unfiltered water supply system in the United States, is comprised of three watersheds, one of which is the Delaware River Basin. Jen Garigliano, Chief of Staff, New York City Water Supply, outlined several of the key initiatives to protect the resource, maintain and upgrade aging infrastructure, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

New York has invested almost $2 Billion to protect the unfiltered water supply and maintain its filtration avoidance determination (FAD), making New York City one of five cities in the U.S. that has an unfiltered water supply. New York’s 2020 budget includes $3 Billion to address critical water infrastructure needs statewide.

Climate change modeling predicts increased evaporation and streamflow, decreased snow pack and snowmelt, and decreased spring streamflow, all due to increased temperatures. One of the biggest challenges is managing a complex system in the face of increased weather uncertainty.



Cica Green

Cira Green, an award winning green space in Philadelphia, is part of the city’s Green City, Clean Waters program.

Philadelphia’s Approach to Sustainability and Resilience

Marc Cammarata’s Keynote address on Philadelphia’s One Water approach provided an overview of the city’s integrated watershed management program, which works to address the urgent need to upgrade aging infrastructure and adapt to climate change, risks associated with emerging contaminants, and a growing population. Green Stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is a major part of this program, greening the city with rain gardens, small parks, and green roofs as a way to capture and clean stormwater. PWD’s website map shows how ubiquitous these projects are; 1845 plus greened acres. One of the most visible examples is Cira Green, a privately owned, publicly accessible rooftop meadow (and WRA Award recipient!) that captures stormwater and provides a beautiful space for picnics, dog walking and a beer garden while also reducing the urban heat island effect.

PWD partners with Drexel University to monitor systems and improve designs.

Partnerships are critical, as maintaining more than 6,000 miles of water mains and sewers, addressing lead and emerging contaminant like PFAs, and mitigating the effects of increased rain, extreme storms, and other impacts of climate change all require significant capital. PWD’s Climate Change Action Program (CCAP) builds on existing programs to better understand and address climate change risks that include flooding, sea level rise, and drought.

For more information see Green City, Clean Waters.

Visit our website for the full list of speakers at the Fall Technical Symposium.



NYC Water Supply System

Buzzi Scholarship Awarded

Every year, in honor of John L. Buzzi, WRA awards a scholarship to a student who exhibits a commitment to, and leadership in, water resources issues and community service. This year our scholarship awardee is Kelci Knirnschild, a Northwestern Lehigh High School graduate (with honors, class of 2020). Kelci was President of the Science National Honor Society and member of the school’s Science Olympiad team. Now a freshman at Kutztown University, she majors in chemistry and environmental science, and secondary education. She has been a long-term volunteer at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she educates the public about the connections between watershed protection and clean drinking water and teaches community conservation for the Color of Nature initiative.

“We had an impressive pool of candidates. Congratulations to Kelci. Her academic achievements, with a focus on science and environmental studies, and multi-faceted community engagement reflect the values of John Buzzi, who so admirably served the region as a leader and water resources visionary,” said Preston Luitweiler, WRA Board Member and Past President.

Nominations for the 2020 Buzzi scholarship are now open.



Developer with Track Record Redeveloping Industrial Sites Wins PES Auction

The 1,300 acre Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) site may be one step closer to being revitalized. Hilco Redevelopment Partners’ $240 million bid to clean up the site and develop a mixed use industrial facility won at auction, but faces opposition. The site, strategically located in Philadelphia where the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers converge, has been the oldest refinery on the East Coast. The sale must be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross. A hearing is set for February 6th.

A committee of unsecured creditors has called for a rejection of the the sale to Hilco, as another entity, Industrial Realty Group, offered $25 million for the site. The United States Trustee with administrative oversight of the proceedings filed documents stating that the PES Chapter 11 plan must be amended because it is currently “inconsistent with the Bankruptcy Code”. Objections were filed by a range of additional entities, including Sunoco (the former owner) and Point Breeze Renewable Energy LLC, which has an agreement with PES to build a renewable fuel plant on site.


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Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin
Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin
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