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Development of Assessment and Long-term Monitoring Techniques for Free-flowing Sections of the Delaware River: Protecting the Best of the Best

Joseph E. Flotemersch 1, Karen Blocksom 1, Robert L. Limbeck 2, Maggie Passmore 3, Greg Pond 3, Lou Reynolds 3, Frank Borsuk 3, Jim Kurtenbach 4, Matt Marshall 5, Don Hamilton 6 and Allan Ambler 7

1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, Ohio
2 Delaware River Basin Commission, West Trenton, New Jersey
3 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3, Wheeling , West Virginia
4 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, Edison, New Jersey
5 National Park Service, University Park, Pennsylvania
6 National Park Service, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, Beach Lake, Pennsylvania
7 National Park Service, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Milford, Pennsylvania

The Delaware River is a unique system in that it is the longest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi and is home to two National Parks. It also contains what are likely some of the highest quality stretches of river east of the Mississippi; hence, a full three-quarters of the non-tidal portion of the Delaware are included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems. However, the Delaware River is only a gas tank away for about one-quarter of the people living in the U.S. and is under increasing pressure from anthropogenic activities. A collaborative research project is underway to develop robust, yet efficient and sustainable, assessment and monitoring techniques and biological criteria for the 200-mile, non-tidal portion of the Delaware River Basin. A strong emphasis has been placed on documenting the current condition and detecting future changes, with the goal of preserving this rare resource for present and future generations. Ideally, the resulting framework will support the bioassessment, monitoring, and reporting needs of multiple organizations concerned with the well-being of the system, thus effectively leveraging collective resources. Current collaborators include scientists from the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, U.S. EPA Regions 2 and 3, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and the Eastern Rivers and Mountains’ Network of the National Park Service.

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