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Delaware River Basin Commissioners Celebrate the DRBC’s 60 Years of Managing, Protecting & Improving the Basin’s Water Resources

For Immediate Release

December 8, 2021

(West Trenton, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission's (DRBC) 60th anniversary and its accomplishments over the years were recognized during its fourth-quarter public business meeting, held earlier today.

"At the November 2, 1961, ceremonial signing of the Delaware River Basin Compact, President John F. Kennedy referred to the formation of the DRBC as a 'bold venture,'" said Steve Tambini DRBC Executive Director. "I am here today, sixty years later, to say that the venture is working. The Commission, through interstate planning, science, engineering and management, has successfully improved and protected water quality, ensured water availability and resiliency for diverse water users and stands ready to meet future water resource challenges in our Basin."

Tambini also unveiled a new timeline celebrating the DRBC’s 60 years of water resources management. The timeline can be viewed at  https://timeline.drbc.gov/.

The DRBC's five Commissioners, the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware, and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' North Atlantic Division, shared congratulatory letters for the milestone. At the business meeting, each Commissioner's representative said a few words commemorating the DRBC's 60th anniversary and shared excerpts from the Commissioners' letters and proclamations.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division Commander Brigadier General Thomas Tickner wrote:

The history of this Commission is storied and impressive. From its beginnings, the DRBC became a model in water quality control, soon reversing decades of pollution suffered throughout the lower Delaware River … For the millions of Americans who rely on the Delaware River to provide clean drinking water, agricultural and commercial use, recreation, river faring and more, the DRBC is an essential partner in their everyday lives ... To our partners on the Commission and staff members of all parties, past and present who have made this mission possible … congratulations for all you do.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wrote:

Since its inception, the Delaware River Basin Commission has encouraged people to find the need for federal-interstate coordinating to lead the fight in conserving, developing and administering the Delaware River Basin's resource, and to preserve and enhance the value of its scenic and recreational location. I commend the Delaware River Basin Commission for their service to the Commonwealth by enhancing public welfare through the means of comprehensive planning, water supply allocation, management of the water resources, and more … As Governor and on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania it is my pleasure to congratulate the DRBC on [its] 60th anniversary.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wrote in a proclamation:

As Governor, it is my pleasure to commend and recognize the Delaware River Basin Commission for its vision to provide trusted, effective and coordinated management of our shared water resources. The Delaware River Basin Commission is guided by its core values of service to the public, respect for the Basin's water resources, and professionalism defined by high ethical standards and accountability.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul wrote:

Over the last six decades, the Delaware River Basin Commission has brought stability to the region’s water management. From conservation initiatives, to water quality protection, to flood management, the Commission has played an integral role in safeguarding a water supply millions of New Yorkers rely on. The Commission's stewardship of the Basin during a turbulent time for our global climate is commendable.

Delaware Governor Carney wrote:

On behalf of the nearly one million Delawareans who have benefitted from the DRBC's stewardship, I thank you for providing trusted leadership on the many issues that affect the river basin region. It takes extraordinary dedication to manage the 13,539 square miles of this watershed, but your efforts help support the 600,000 jobs and $22 billion in economic activity that the river basin generates. Our river and bay now support year-round fish and wildlife populations, extensive recreation opportunities, parks and greenways for residents to enjoy.

"The success of the Commission is based upon the principle that together the four Basin states and the federal government can achieve for the Basin’s water resources what each cannot achieve individually," Tambini continued. "Through collaboration, science and a watershed-based approach, we are committed to building upon the great history of the DRBC and will continue to provide significant and measurable solutions to ensure water security for the Delaware River Basin."

Jesse Smith, research curator at Philadelphia’s Science History Institute, also shared remarks at the business meeting. Smith noted the Institute’s current Downstream exhibition examines 200 years of water science and protection in the United States, including the improvements seen in the Delaware River Basin. "The DRBC's formation was a critical inflection point, recognizing the need for basin-scale water protection," Smith said. The DRBC donated a large 3-D model of the basin from 1964 and other historical materials to the Institute.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency created in 1961 by concurrent compact legislation, marking the first time that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development and regulatory agency. To learn more about the Commission, please visit www.drbc.gov or follow DRBC on Twitter at @DRBC1961.

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Elizabeth Koniers Brown, Elizabeth.Brown@drbc.gov

Kate Schmidt, Kate.Schmidt@drbc.gov

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Additional Resources:

DRBC's 60th Anniversary (1961-2021)

About DRBC

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DRBC News/Public Info