Delaware Currents in 2022: A year in review (ICYMI)

| January 3, 2023

Snowy Delaware River from Port Jervis, N.Y.
Delaware River from Port Jervis, N.Y. PHOTO BY MEG MCGUIRE

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Social media is a strange place overrun with shorthands, like TIL (Today I Learned), FWIW (For What It’s Worth) and YSRDC (You Should Read Delaware Currents).

OK, that last one I made up.

But there is one shorthand that comes to mind in looking back at the depth and breadth of coverage by Delaware Currents in 2022 and that’s ICYMI (In Case You Missed It).

This past year has been something of a high-water mark for Delaware Currents, a nonprofit and the only news outlet dedicated to covering the 330 miles of the river and its four-state watershed.

It’s a daunting job. Seven-plus years ago when I started this, I had no idea what I’d be taking on but you, dear readers, have been encouraging and loyal and kept this important source of information afloat with your financial support.

As you know, any donation to Delaware Currents is tax-deductible. Delaware Currents is a registered 501(c)(3). You can donate online, on the site’s Facebook page or send a check to P.O. Box 306, Port Jervis, N.Y. 12771. I am profoundly grateful to everyone who has donated. Sincerely, without you, I would be unable to do this.

As we begin a new year, I thought it worth pausing a moment to highlight some of the stories we brought to you in 2022. Let’s dive in, shall we?

ICYMI…

Delaware Currents continued to highlight of how much (or little) funding various river groups got from their respective state and federal partners. Here’s a look at how the Upper Delaware benefited from New York State funding, while the Upper Delaware Council was on the cusp of financial atrophy.

On a related note, Delaware Currents has over the years been a watchdog for how the Delaware River Basin Commission has been shortchanged by some – not all! — of its state and federal members. We will revisit this issue to see how the DRBC has fared in the most recent round of funding.

Speaking of watchdog reporting, we continued our accountability coverage of the proposed LNG project in Gibbstown, N.J. (For complete archival coverage of this immense, complicated project, including many investigative pieces of reporting, go here.)

And in our overall watchdog role we have sought – and are continuing to seek – public records that shed light on projects, policies and deliberations affecting the river.

A sweeping, ambitious project that Delaware Currents led in 2022 was a 10-part series examining Pennsylvania’s integrated water quality report for each of the state’s sub-watersheds. If you want to know more about water quality in your backyard, be sure to read this report. (We’re working on the State of Delaware’s report right now, so stay tuned.)

We also dedicated several stories to the issue of macro- and microplastics in the Delaware, including exploring a study that identified the Delaware as the leading source of plastics pollution in North America. Surprised? Read more.

We covered stories about the DRBC’s findings of microplastics in the river, and a trial project to collect and analyze plastics in the river. Delaware Currents exclusively reported on an experimental device to be launched this year to combat plastics pollution. We’ll keep tabs on how that goes.

We continued our coverage of the debate about a proposal to make the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area a national park. (Back in August 2021, we were the first media outlet to write about this contentious plan.)

We explored how the infrastructure bill will benefit the Delaware River watershed and

covered issues related to diversity, equality and inclusion in the watershed with stories of an urban boatworks program in Camden and a conservation corps doing green work in Philadelphia.

Delaware Currents continues to be one of the only media outlets regularly attending the DRBC’s business and committee meetings. It’s one of the only ways to get under the hood of things to understand what’s going on with the biggest regulatory body over the watershed. I explained the inner workings of a DRBC meeting here.

My coverage of the DRBC meant following the intricacies of the commission’s work regulating fracking wastewaster in the watershed and how it addressed a dissolved oxygen “sag” in a section of the river, which has important implications for fish, especially sturgeon.

It hasn’t been all hard news. We had features about a fly-fishing school in the Catskills and a look at efforts to repair a storied lighthouse in Delaware. And one highlight of 2022 that I am especially proud of is my first snorkeling effort in the Delaware, which I recount in this first-person account, and about the resurgence of an aquatic plant called podostemum. It’s quite interesting!

Lastly in 2022, we kicked off the start of two series, one called “What’s Going on Here?” that drills into the particulars of projects that might have an effect on the health and quality of the river. The kickoff story focused on a proposed family resort and campground in Sullivan County, N.Y., in the Catskills. We also launched the “Big Think,” a conversation with people who have worked in and for the watershed who share their expertise and knowledge.

Those are just the highlights because, as they say in those television infomercials, “But wait! There’s more!” But I will leave it to you to peruse the site and find for yourself what more is of interest.

As always, I welcome your comments, so please drop me a line at delawarecurrents@gmail.com with story ideas, feedback and tips.

Thanks for reading and here’s to a prosperous and fulfilling new year!

 

Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire

Meg McGuire has been a journalist for 30 years in New York and Connecticut. She started in weekly newspapers and moved to full-time work in dailies 25 years ago. She knows about the tectonic changes in journalism firsthand, having been part of what was euphemistically called a "reduction in force" six years ago. Now she's working to find new ways to "do" the news as an independent online publisher of news about the Delaware River, its watershed and its people.

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