Scientist Weighs in on New Federal Rule to Protect Delaware River’s Endangered Fish

799 449 Stroud Water Research Center
An endangered Atlantic sturgeon stranded on a beach.
Photo: Atlantic sturgeon by Aileen Devlin, Virginia Sea Grant. Creative Commons BY-ND 2.0

The Delaware River basin provides drinking water to more than 16 million people and is home to endangered Atlantic sturgeon.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new standards to improve the river’s water quality for humans and fish alike. The new standards address dissolved oxygen levels, which are lowered in waterways polluted with human or animal waste from sources such as wastewater treatment plants, leaking septic tanks, and farms. Raising dissolved oxygen levels will benefit the health of the Delaware River.

But the new standards didn’t come easily or quickly, which means the announcement is a sign of significant progress in the restoration of the Delaware River. Stroud Water Research Center’s John Jackson, Ph.D., offers insights into the Delaware River’s history and possibilities for the future in the latest story from Delaware Currents.

“This opens the door for next steps. It’s aspirational: What do we want our river to be in 50, 75 years?” Jackson told Meg McGuire.

He also provided valuable context to explain why it’s taken years to reach this point. The article highlights the issues surrounding the new standards while providing history and context to this complicated situation in an approachable and understandable style.

Read the article, EPA seeks to improve dissolved oxygen levels and water quality in urban stretch of Delaware River.