Delaware River Levels in Danger if No Water Management Agreement is Reached

May 31, 2017

Sullivan County – Water levels on the Delaware River are at risk of becoming dangerously low if New Jersey officials fail to agree to extend the Flexible Flow Management Program, which expires at midnight on May 31.

The Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP) is the most updated agreement resulting from a 1954 Supreme Court decree that required New York City and the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware to work cooperatively to allocate reservoir water to protect the river’s ecosystem.1

When it is in effect, the FFMP helps maintain water levels that make the Delaware River a sought-after place to fish for trout and enjoy recreation along the water. In addition to reducing trout habitats by as much as three quarters, allowing the FFMP to expire could result in loss of tourism – the largest regional economic engine – just as the summer season begins.

We’re proud of the natural beauty in our region, and we love that it draws visitors from all over, especially during the warmer months,” said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF- Forestburgh). “It would be devastating for the Catskill region if this political standoff were to damage the Delaware River.”

If no agreement is reached by the end of May 31, the amount of water released into the river from a number of reservoirs will be cut.2 Not only will water levels plummet, but with less depth, water temperatures are likely to rise, damaging trout habitats and halting recreational fishing.

“It is imperative that we find a way to come to an agreement, even if it means extending the FFMP by just one year,” Assemblywoman Gunther said. “We have to be realistic and find compromises that protect the environment and our local economy.”

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