History

The Delaware River Basin Task Force was created in 1999 to better coordinate efforts to promote river basin restoration through appropriations, authorizations, and other federal legislation. The Task Force is currently co-chaired by Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ), Charles Dent (R-PA), John Carney (D-DE), and Chris Gibson (R-NY).

The Delaware River Basin Task Force is a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives from all four basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) that coordinate Congressional efforts to promote the restoration and vitality of the Delaware River Basin and its communities. The goal of the task force is to promote the health and well-being of the region’s natural resources by organizing educational briefings, formulating joint responses to emergencies, coordinating legislative efforts, tracking legislation and the appropriations process, and promoting other initiatives. The task force identifies and coordinates efforts on issues of importance to the nearly 15 million people who rely on the Delaware River’s waters.

The Institute provides research and policy analysis to the Delaware River Basin Task Force.  See also the Institute's Delaware River Basin Program.

Co-chairs and Members of the Delaware River Basin Task Force are:

LAST NAMEFIRST NAMEPARTYSTATE
Andrews Robert E. D NJ 1
Brady Robert A. D PA 1
Carney John D DE
Dent Charles W. R PA 15
Fattah Chaka D PA 2
Gerlach Jim R PA 6
Gibson Christopher P. R NY 19
Holt Rush D. D NJ 12
Lance Leonard R NJ 7
LoBiondo Frank A. R NJ 2
Smith Christopher H. R NJ 4

FY12 Appropriations Notes

 

Fiscal Year 2011

FY 2012 Request

FY12 House

Delaware River Dredging (page 45)

$21.41 million

$20.98 million

National Estuary Program

$26.75 million

$27.06 million

$26.75 million

Clean Water State Revolving Fund

$1.525 billion

$1.550 billion

$689 million

 

Congressionally Directed Spending - FY11 Appropriations

Earmarks for the mid-Atlantic in various FY11 appropriations bills can be found in the following tables.  These will be updated as the appropriations process progresses.

Energy and Water Development Appropriations (House Subcommittee and Senate full Committee)
Interior and Environment Appropriations (House Subcommittee)

Appropriations Letters

Due to recent earmark constraits, the DRBTF did not prepare appropriation request letters for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011.

DRBTF Appropriations Request Letters for Fiscal Year 2009

Subcommittee on Interior, Environment
Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science

Briefings

Delaware River Basin Flood Mitigation:  Flood Analysis Model Findings and Next Steps

December 10, 2009, Room HC-7 of the Capitol

Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) staff were joined by federal agency partners to provide an overview of results from the recently developed Flood Analysis Modeling Tool (Action R-1 of the Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force Report released in 2007). The presentation focused on analysis of potential flood mitigation with existing reservoirs in the Delaware River Basin. This analysis of the three flooding events (2004, 2005 and 2006) with the Delaware River Basin Flood Analysis Model, augmented by inundation mapping prepared by the USACE, demonstrates that pervasive out-of-bank flooding would have occurred regardless of the potential dedicated pre-event voids in the upper basin reservoirs.

The Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force members, after evaluating flood prevention and mitigation options and considering public written and verbal comments, concluded back in 2007 that no set of mitigation measures will entirely eliminate flooding along the Delaware River.  The current analysis confirms that a combination of measures will be required to improve the basin’s capacity to prepare for and recover from flooding in the future.

Speakers included:
Carol Collier, Executive Director, DRBC
Amy Shallcross, Supervisor, Operations Branch, DRBC
William Muszynski, Branch Manager, Water Resources Management

Delaware River Basin Flood Mitigation:  Findings and Next Steps

October 9, 2007, Room HC–6 of the Capitol

Several members of the Delaware River Basin Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force were joined by Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) staff to provide an overview of the task force’s action agenda for a more proactive, sustainable, and systematic approach to flood damage reduction.

The briefing focused on the Interstate Flood Mitigation Task Force’s final evaluation of flood prevention and mitigation options on flooding in the Delaware River Basin. The task force concluded that no set of mitigation measures will entirely eliminate flooding along the Delaware River. However, it believed that a combination of measures will improve the basin’s capacity to prepare for and recover from flooding in the future.

The flood task force submitted its final report with 45 consensus recommendations on July 12, 2007, to the governors of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, who serve as DRBC members along with presidential appointee Brigadier General Todd Semonite. The flood loss reduction recommendations address six management areas: reservoir operations, structural and non-structural mitigation, stormwater management, floodplain mapping, floodplain regulation, and flood warning.

Briefing on Mid-Atlantic River Basin Flooding: Assessment, Response, and Mitigation

July 27, 2006, Rayburn House Office Building Room 2203

The briefing focused on recent flooding in the Mid-Atlantic region. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) spoke at the beginning of the briefing about the need to understand the causes of the June flooding events to mitigate future flood losses.

Peter Ahnert of the National Weather Service indicated that heavy rainfall, up to 15 inches in some regions, was the result of a tropical air mass that stalled over the region from June 22 through June 28, 2006. He noted that with the year’s above-average tropical activity, there was the potential for such events to occur again. The year’s tropical activity was similar to that in 2004 and 2005, which were years of regional flooding. Despite some streamgages that measure water flow being overtopped by flood waters, the National Weather Service was able to offer accurate predictions for flash floods and main-stem river floods with sufficient notice for emergency preparation.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and Delaware River Keeper all spoke about different aspects of the flooding.

One of the questions focused on how to overcome the devolution of planning authority to local municipalities, specifically the traditional “home rule” in Pennsylvania, and how uncoordinated local-level efforts frustrate flood mitigation planning efforts. Larry Larson of the Association of State Flood Plain Managers, and the Delaware River Keeper both indicated that is the reason a federal flood mitigation incentive is needed for states and or municipalities. They said that while flood insurance and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) incentives are in place, they have not been sufficient to mitigate flood-related damages or prevent the loss of life.

The Associated Press reported on this event. A copy of the article filed in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York media markets can be viewed here.

Speakers Included:

  • Peter Ahnert, Hydrologist in Charge at the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, National Weather Service
  • Carol Collier, Executive Director, Delaware River Basin Commission
  • Paul Swartz, Executive Director, Susquehanna River Basin Commission
  • Maya van Rossum, The Delaware River Keeper
  • Larry Larson, Executive Director, Association of State Flood Plain Managers

Regional Water Resource Challenges: Problems, Resources, and Legislative Opportunities

March 13, 2002, 8:30-10:30a.m., Mansfield Room (S207) in the Capitol Building

The Regional Water Resource briefing was co-sponsored by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, Northeast-Midwest Congressional and Senate Coalitions, Delaware River Basin Commission, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, and Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and discussed the common challenges as well as opportunities shared by the three Mid-Atlantic River Basins with respect to preserving water quantity and quality.

Douglas Le Comte, Senior Meteorologist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center, discussed tracking drought conditions nationwide, with a focus on the eastern United States, and had mapped current drought conditions and the drought outlook through June 2002. Robert Hirsch, Associate Director for Water, U.S. Geological Survey, discussed how the USGS was also tracking drought conditions nationwide, with a focus on the eastern United States. Its Water Watch Web site features a map generated by real-time water data collected through the USGS streamgage network, and the map then highlighted persistent dry conditions on the east coast. Representatives from each of the interstate commissions discussed the implications of low water levels as summer approached and water resource management options should conditions worsen.

Moderated by Allen Hance, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute, the discussion closed with consideration of the Northeast-Midwest Institute's policy recommendations for watershed management in the Mid-Atlantic.