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Report Shows Progress Exceeding Plans in Christina River Basin

Release Date: 02/05/2009
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548, sternberg.david@epa.gov

(PHILADELPHIA, February 5, 2009) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced today that the Christina River Basin Clean Water Partnership in Pennsylvania and Delaware has made significant progress in reducing pollution from storm water runoff to the Christina River basin.

A recent report by the University of Delaware and the Delaware River Basin Commission shows that, throughout the past four years, the Partnership, with the assistance of a $1 million EPA grant, has implemented numerous projects to reduce the harmful effects of stormwater runoff pollution on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife.

For every federal dollar invested in the project, the Partnership leveraged more than two dollars, allowing them to exceed the original goals, some by more than 50 percent.

Pollution from stormwater runoff, which is often called non-point source pollution, comes from many sources. It is caused by rain, or melting snow moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries along natural and man made pollutants, depositing them into our waterways, wetlands, and underground sources of drinking water.

"Partnership projects are reducing excess fertilizers washing off from lawns and farms; and slowing the progress of oil, grease, and toxic chemicals carried by rain and snow from city streets. In addition, they are reducing sediment, nutrients and bacteria from farms, and restoring eroding stream banks,” said Jon M. Capacasa, director of the water protection division for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

“Our interstate partnership created jobs and worked with farmers, homeowners, and schools from Wilmington to the West Brandywine and exceeded our watershed restoration goals, a pleasing development given the Christina Basin is the source of over 60 percent of Delaware's drinking water and the home of the First State's only six trout streams,” said Gerald J, Kauffman, director of University of Delaware’s water resources agency.

Some the completed projects include:
• Over 10,000 feet of stream restoration
• 10 stormwater retrofits
• Approx. 8,000 feet of stream fencing
• 150 "Smartyards" using native plant species to reduce runoff
• 10 nutrient management control plans on more than 1,000 acres
• Seven nutrient management control systems
• Eight water control structures
• Approximately 730 acres of soil conservation practices on eight farms
• 2,250 feet of waterway diversions on three farms

The Christina Basin is an interstate watershed in the Delaware Estuary encompassing 565 square miles throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and is a major source of drinking water for more than half a million people. The basin includes four watersheds -- the Brandywine, Red Clay and White Clay Creeks and the Christina River.

Formed in 1994, the Christina Basin Clean Water Partnership was established to coordinate water quality improvements in the Basin and to restore these waters to fishable, swimmable and potable status. The Partnership is comprised of multiple levels of federal, state and local government, nonprofit groups and academic institutions.

A complete description of all of the projects that have been undertaken to reduce nonpoint source pollution is available in the December 2008 Christina Basin Targeted Watershed Grant Final Report. The Report can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/index.htm

Established in 2003, the Targeted Watersheds Grant program is designed to encourage successful community-based approaches and management techniques to protect and restore the nation's watersheds.