Environmental Policy News

EPA Awards $1.8 Million to the Delaware Estuary Program, Including Support for Mussel Hatchery at Philadelphia’s Bartram’s Gardens

The Delaware Estuary Program will receive $1.8 million in restoration funds to support a comprehensive conservation and management plan for the program as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to estuaries of national significance, the US, Environmental Protection Agency.

“This funding is a valuable investment in equity, clean water and resilience for the Delaware River’s sensitive coastal shoreline,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Thanks to the support of the President’s BIL, we can accelerate efforts to preserve and improve the health of the estuary and enhance the popular riverside park -- Bartram’s Gardens in Philadelphia.”

The Delaware Estuary Program is one of 28 estuaries under the National Estuaries Program (NEP) receiving this funding. The funding supports projects that address climate resilience, prioritize equity, and manage other key water quality and habitat challenges.

Part of the funding for the Delaware Estuary will support construction of a freshwater mussel hatchery that the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is building at Bartram's Gardens. The partnership is in the beginning phases of raising funds needed to complete this project, and the BIL funding will help accelerate the timeline. The freshwater mussels from the hatchery will be used in a variety of clean water, habitat restoration, and educational projects across the estuary and beyond. Construction is proposed to begin in late 2023.

An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal water body where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with salt water from the ocean. Estuaries, and their surrounding lands, are places of transition from land to sea. Estuaries are an irreplaceable natural resource that must be managed carefully for the mutual benefit of all who enjoy and depend on them.

Along with being home to thousands of species of birds, mammals, fish and other wildlife, estuaries have important commercial value and their resources provide economic benefits for tourism, fisheries and recreational activities.

EPA’s website has more information about the National Estuary Program and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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