Transferable Models: How a partnership and a grant program are supporting and accelerating strategic conservation gains in the Delaware River watershed and beyond.
Christina Ryder, Delaware River Watershed Program Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Kelsey Brooks, Senior Manager, Delaware River Programs, National Wildlife Federation
Rachel Dawson, Delaware River Program Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Syd Godbey, Manager, Northeastern Region, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) was created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Waters Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation. The legislation envisions 3 primary components a partnership, a grant program and a watershed wide conservation strategy. Similar legislation was enacted for the Chesapeake watershed, has been introduced for New York and New Jersey estuaries and is being considered for the Connecticut River watershed. Since 2018, and in collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the DRBRP’s Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (DWCF) has funded 123 projects, awarding $26.2 million in federal funds enabling partners to leverage $46 million in matching funds, totaling an impressive conservation impact of $72.6 million across the watershed. The key to the program’s success is partnerships. The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program is supported by a partnership made up of over 40 organizations from across the watershed. The Delaware River Watershed Conservation Collaborative mission is to inspire, coordinate and actively support watershed-wide collaborative and strategic actions by partners and stakeholders throughout the Delaware River watershed, to achieve agreed upon conservation, restoration and public outdoor-recreation access outcomes. These accomplishments would not have been achievable without the engagement and support of our partners. Our partners have provided strategic feedback on our grant program, enabling the Service and NFWF to align program priorities with partner and resource needs. The partnership is undertaking a conservation design exercise to shape and steer how investments are made across the watershed by creating a conservation blueprint for conservation action. Our presentation will share our lessons learned, program successes, and opportunities for collaboration as we continue to grow our stakeholder community.
Christina Ryder is a Conservation Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), who manages the Service’s Delaware River Basin Restoration Program. Christina has been with the Service for over 12 years and has a deep passion for resource conservation. She has worked for numerous conservation funding programs within the Service and enjoys assisting partners in accessing resources to create synergy and accelerate conversation gains.
Kelsey joined the National Wildlife Federation in 2021 as Senior Manager of Delaware River Programs, where she applies a technical background in watershed protection and planning, alongside her experience with Urban Waters Federal Partnership and Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition. Her main lines of work are to help manage Thrive Outside Greater Philadelphia and support the creation process for a watershed conservation blueprint through the Delaware River Watershed Conservation Collaborative (Delaware River Basin Restoration Program). Kelsey brings a wealth of experience working in conservation, most recently as Regional Watershed Restoration Specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, building skills in partnership building, program development, implementation, and evaluation, and meeting facilitation. Kelsey has her Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University and her Bachelor’s in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton.
Rachel joined the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2014, where she manages a growing multi-million dollar fund for habitat and water quality restoration projects in the Delaware River watershed. She is responsible for program development and fundraising, partner and collaborator coordination, and regional investment strategy and planning. Previously, she was the legislative representative for the water restoration team at the National Wildlife Federation where she advocated on behalf of clean water laws, policies and programs for large-scale ecosystem restoration, and a policy analyst at the Northeast Midwest Institute, focusing on issues in the watersheds of the mid-Atlantic, including the Delaware River Basin. Rachel received her Master’s degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Policy from the George Washington University and her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Planning from the University of Miami. In her free time, she’s an avid hunter, angler and outdoor mentor.
Sydney is the Northeastern Region Manager at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where she works to design and implement landscape-scale conservation goals that align with an array of conservation objectives and partners in the Delaware River Watershed. Sydney leverages a deep network of partners and experiences from previous work in the Chesapeake Bay to establish and maintain key relationships with public and private partners via the Delaware River Watershed Initiative and the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund. Sydney received her dual Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and English from Ursinus College.
This seminar does qualify for 1.0 Professional Development Hour (PDH). A Certificate of Attendance will be available for AWRA-PMAS members only. The meeting price for non-members who wish to receive a Certificate of Attendance for the PDH is $10.00 ($3.00 for meeting + $7.00 for certificate).
Please note: Presentation is to be given through Zoom at the link below. PDH's will be issued through PDFs. Please allow extra time to register through Zoom and get software set up. Presentation will start at noon. Early participants will be in a Waiting Room until noon. Participants must email AWRA.PMAS@gmail.com to request PDH Certificate after the event.
Presentation link will be provided in registration reminder email. Zoom link should only be used by those who register for the event through AWRA directly.