Delaware River Basin Conservation Initiative

Important oyster reef habitat areas have been identified as a conservation priority in the Delaware Bay.
The Mighty Delaware

With more than 300 miles designated “wild and scenic,” the Delaware is a river of tremendous biological, economic and cultural significance. Nearly 20 million people along the East Coast rely on its water for drinking and industrial purposes. They share the resource with shad, sturgeon, eel and other species that migrate through the river.

However, today the Delaware faces a growing variety of threats, including increased human demands on the water supply, development and climate change. With four states relying on the Delaware’s resources, action must be taken to conserve and protect this precious resource.

It was this need to address the Delaware River from a whole system perspective that led to the creation of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Initiative – a collaborative effort between The Nature Conservancy, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and Natural Lands Trust.

The goal? The daunting task of creating a conservation blueprint that will help ensure a healthy Delaware River and Bay.

The yearlong effort was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Conservation by Design

We, working with over 30 partners in four states, completed a set of protection and restoration strategies to conserve the Delaware River Basin – from its headwaters to its Bay – for the benefit of people and nature.

These strategies help to make the landscape ecologically healthy and more resilient—especially to broader issues like climate change—it will also make the most of limited human and financial services.

The plan identified priority areas for conservation and identified strategies that include:

  • Protecting and restoring floodplains
  • Restoring shellfish populations
  • Restoring habitat for migratory fish
Planning for the future

The Initiative blends strategies for protection, restoration, and management –all needed to ensure the long-term viability and health of the basin’s ecosystem. The conservation of these places will require that traditional conservation connects with creative, emerging strategies to accommodate multiple needs.

Go Deeper:
  • Click here to download the factsheet
  • Click here to read the Full Report (including maps and shareable project data)
  • For more information: Contact Patty Doerr with The Nature Conservancy at


Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.