Partnership for Del. Estuary rolls out plan that includes wider use of water-filtering mussels

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The Wilmington-based Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE introduced arevisedComprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

As part of the process of designating the Delaware Estuary a National Estuary Program, hundreds of stakeholders worked together to develop a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that was approved in September 1996. The original plan was intended to guide the efforts of environmental agencies and organizations in the region to protect and enhance the Delaware River and Bay, including the surrounding watersheds.

The revised plan seeks to continue and accelerate the improvement of habitats, waters, and quality of life in the watershed over the next ten years.

The Wilmington-based Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE introduced arevisedComprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

As part of the process of designating the Delaware Estuary a National Estuary Program, hundreds of stakeholders worked together to develop a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that was approved in September, 1996. The original plan was intended to guide the collective efforts of environmental agencies and organizations in the region to protect and enhance the Delaware River and Bay, including the surrounding watersheds.

The revised plan seeks to continue and accelerate improvement of habitats, waters, and quality of life in the watershed over the next ten years.

“Delaware stands strong with PDE partners, including our good neighbors in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, on our shared goals of ensuring clean water, strong communities, and healthy habitats throughout the estuary,” saidDelaware Department of Natural Resources Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.“By collaborating with state and federal agencies, municipalities, businesses, community groups, non-profits, and tri-state residents through this new comprehensive management plan, we are unified in working toward a vibrant and fiercely-protected future for our beautiful, fragile, and vitally important Delaware Estuary and its precious resources.”

As part of the implementation of the CCMP, PDE will work with theirpartners to conserve, restore and enhance depleted shellfish beds, which provide many ecological and economic benefits, a release noted.

The partnership and partners in the new Aquatic Research and Restoration Center are launching aMussels for Clean Water Initiative(MuCWI) to promote cleaner water and healthier aquatic ecosystems via the propagation, rearing and planting of freshwater mussels from ahatchery planned for Bartram’s Gardenin southwest Philadelphia.

Up to a half million baby mussels will eventually be produced annually using native species that are genetically appropriate for specific areas of the watershed.

Working with the partnership is Suez. Water of Delaware. The northern New Castle County utility is working with the partnership in growing mussels at one of its reservoirs.

Suez, Estuary Partnership put some mussel into water filtering effort

These offspring will be reared to hardier sizes at satellite partner facilities and ponds throughout the region. When ready, these mussels will then be relocated to streams and rivers where they once prospered, especially locations where they can help improve water quality the most.

Like oysters in saltwater, freshwater mussels are filter-feeders that remove substantial amounts of microscopic particles, including many forms of pollutants. Each adult mussel can filter up to 10 gallons of water per day, directly improving water clarity and providing more light for bottom plants.

Construction and operation of the mussel hatchery are expected to cost between $10-11 million over the eight-year startup, and PENNVEST has authorized $7.9 million for construction phases.

“Delaware stands strong with PDE partners, including our good neighbors in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, on our shared goals of ensuring clean water, strong communities, and healthy habitats throughout the estuary,” saidDelaware Department of Natural Resources Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.“By collaborating with state and federal agencies, municipalities, businesses, community groups, non-profits, and tri-state residents through this new comprehensive management plan, we are unified in working toward a vibrant and fiercely-protected future for our beautiful, fragile, and vitally important Delaware Estuary and its precious resources.”

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