A Northeast Region Program
Lower Delaware River Management Plan
The Lower Delaware River flows through the very heart of the birthplace
of our nation. Every bend in the river speaks to us of history,
of beauty, of opportunity. Our nation's history is revealed in the
agricultural fields, forests, canals, villages, mills and inns along
flora and fauna thrive on its banks and islands. Yet today the Delaware
River supports one of the country's largest concentrations of population
and industry. Our challenge is to maintain the growth and use of
the corridor and its resources to protect its outstanding character.
river is more than an amenity,
is a treasure."
Vision for River Management Described in Six Goals
The Lower Delaware River Management Plan does not contain a prescription
for every situation that could confront river managers. Instead,
it provides a vision for the future of the river and context for
future action, that emphasizes local control and home rule. The
heart of that vision is expressed in the following six goals carefully
crafted by the Management Plan Committee:
water quality in the Delaware River and its tributaries from measurably
degrading, and improve it where practical.
Preserve and protect
the river's outstanding natural resources, including rare and endangered
plant and animal species, river islands, steep slopes and buffer areas
in the river corridor and along the tributaries.
Preserve and protect
the character of historic structure, districts and sites, including
landscapes, in the river corridor.
use of the river corridor that has a low environmental and social
impact and is compatible with public safety, the protection of private
property and the preservation of natural and cultural qualities of
the river corridor.
for minimizing the adverse impact of development within the river
open space as a means of maximizing the health of the ecosystem,
preserving scenic values and minimizing the impact of new development
in the river corridor.
Lower Delaware Studied
for Wild and Scenic Designation
Upper and Middle Delaware River have already received Wild and Scenic
designation through the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. On
October 23, 1992 Congress authorized a study of the Lower Delaware
River between the Erie Lackawanna Bridge south of the Delaware Water
Gap National Recreation Area, and Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
for inclusion in the Wild and Scenic River system. In addition,
Congress authorized the development of a Conservation Plan for the
segment south of Washington Crossing to the Rancocas Creek in New
Jersey and the Poquessing Creek in Pennsylvania.
Lower Delaware is distinguished from the Upper and Middle sections,
and other designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, by its unique combination
of natural and cultural resources. It flows through a variety of
geologic regions, through Valley and Ridge formations, through the
Piedmont, and out into the Coastal Plain. When viewed from the river,
the corridor appears natural. The history of our nation is found
along the shores of the Lower Delaware- eighteenth and nineteenth
century villages and mansions, historic canals that parallel much
of the corridor, Washington Crossing, important Native American
sites, agricultural heritage, and remnants of the country's industrial
revolution. The outstanding scenery along the Lower Delaware is
a combination of both dramatic and sublime natural areas, and historic
quality of the river's water has undergone dramatic changes throughout
recorded history. Pristine when settlers first arrived in the seventeenth
century, water quality problems were identified in the eighteenth
century Philadelphia, and declined significantly during the Industrial
Revolution as industry developed along its shores. Since the 1950s
government regulation have helped to greatly reduce pollution, and
today the water quality is generally considered good. However, pressures
from increased use and development continue to pose a threat to
the water and the unique natural and historic resources along its
Lower Delaware River Study identified ten segments to be considered
for National Wild and Scenic classification. The segments lie between
the Delaware Water Gap and Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and
include the tributaries of Cook, Tinicum and Tohickon creeks in
Bucks County. At the request of the affected municipalities, five
additional tributaries have been added to the study area: Frya Run,
Paunacussing and Smithtown creeks, and the Paulinskill and Musconetcong
of a River Management Plan is a required component of the Study.
The Plan has been compiled by the Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic
River Study Task Force and Local Government Committee, with assistance
from the National Park Service, Northeast Region. The committees
are made up of regional, state, and local agency representatives,
landowners, conservationists, business people, and other stakeholders
in the Plan area.
committee members concluded that one Management Plan should be prepared
that encompasses both the area being considered for Wild and Scenic
designation and the section from Washington Crossing south to the
Rancocas Creek in New Jersey and the Poquessing Creek in Pennsylvania
(the southern boundary of Bucks County). The Plan area generally
follows the predominant ridge lines on both sides of the river.
Production of the Management Plan follows extensive research and
analysis and many meetings with the public and the municipalities
in the Plan area.
Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River
a complete copy of the Lower Delaware River Management Plan, call
the National Park Service at (215) 597-6482. Write to us at National
Park Service, 200 Chestnut Street Third Floor, Philadelphia, PA
Request a copy thru E-Mail: