Protecting the Delaware River Watershed

LightHawk’s flights and conservation planning have contributed to conserving this watershed that supplies drinking water to over 17 million people.

Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation.

The Delaware River Watershed and 8 priority areas where restoration and protection work is focused. Learn more: 4states1source.org Map by Delaware River Watershed Institute.

The Delaware River Basin includes large expanses of natural lands that protect clean water and provide habitat of regional and national importance. It stretches across four states (NY, PA, NJ, DE) from the southern Catskills of New York to the sea at Cape May, New Jersey. Only 14,119 square miles (36,570 km2) in size, the watershed provides more than 17 million people with a reliable source of drinking water. The Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) is funded by the William Penn Foundation and it focuses on eight management areas within the watershed.

Lighthawk’s flights and conservation planning since 2016 have supported numerous conservation partners including the Coalition To Restore the Delaware River Watershed (CRDW) to achieve their multiple conservation objectives throughout the management clusters of the watershed.

These objectives include to:

  • Permanently protect forested headwaters for filtration of water
  • Engagement of local communities with media resources including compelling imagery
  • Engagement of decision-makers who have the power to influence policy in the watershed
  • Flights supporting the surveying and monitoring priorities of these partners.

Please see the highlighted projects section to get more detail on some of the ways LightHawk flights have accelerated conservation across the entire watershed.

Highlighted Projects

Collaborating to Enlarge Cape May National Wildlife Refuge

LightHawk helped show development’s growing impact on the Jersey shore, helping to convince property owners to dedicate their lands to conservation.

Flying Decision Makers over Delaware Bay

LightHawk and New Jersey Audubon to fly key state and federal decision makers to demonstrate the extent and importance of marshes in the Delaware Bay.

Strengthening Watershed Collaboration

LightHawk flew with the William Penn Foundation alongside two major watershed organizations: The Rodale Institute and the Stroud Center. All of us are working towards better soil and stream health in the watershed.

Removing Dams for River Rebirth

LightHawk flew with The Nature Conservancy New Jersey and other partners to help return the Delaware River to a clear, cold stream capable of harboring native fish and higher water quality.

A flight covering the entire Delaware River from the Bay to its source, compiled by Andreas Lauschke.
Thank you to the William Penn Foundation for their leading support of our work in the Delaware River Watershed.