Our Shared Waters
Legislators take an educational trip on the Delaware
This article was originally published in the Bucks County Herald
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2021 12:48 am
There’s probably no better place to learn about water than on the water.
With that thought in mind, state legislators, Delaware River Basin Commission members and others took to the river in the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel September 10 on an educational excursion aimed at driving home the importance of maintaining water quality in the Delaware, and everywhere else. The trip was organized by the DRBC.
Starting from docks in Bristol Borough, the several dozen passengers enjoyed a two-hour voyage covering roughly 5 miles round trip. While on board, they had lunch and moved around the ship to different stations, where they learned from representatives of several businesses and organizations about the importance of water quality in various processes.
Among the passengers were several Philadelphia-area legislators, including state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, and state Reps. KC Tomlinson – Tommy’s daughter, Perry Warren and Meghan Schroeder, all from Bucks County.
Also on board were state Sen. Art Haywood, state Reps. Mary Isaacson, Greg Vitali and Joe Webster, and staff members representing U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Madeleine Dean and Susan Wild.
“Most people don’t think about water, it’s just there,” said DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini. “But there’s a whole host of people who work to take care of it, including our commission.
“Sixty years ago, the Delaware River was so polluted people didn’t want to be on it, but it’s made a remarkable recovery. We ought to celebrate that, and that’s why we’re here today.”
New Jersey American Water official Matthew Csik told passengers that maintaining and improving water quality is a team effort.
“What we fail to see sometimes is how we need to invest in relationships,” he said. “It’s very important for us to work with watershed groups, community leaders, state and local officials and others.”
Elizabeth Brown, director of National Audubon Society’s Delaware River Watershed Program, said the presence or absence of certain insects and birds can often be a telltale sign of water quality.
Hannah Gohde, representing the Naked Brewing Company of Bristol Borough, educated passengers on the vital role of water in so many aspects of the brewing process. She also handed out cards for a free beverage at the brewery.
“We use a lot of water, and not only in the beer itself but for cleanup and other things,” Gohde said. “We also try to conserve water wherever we can.”
Tommy Tomlinson said he was happy about his role in Bristol Borough’s efforts to enhance residents’ access to and enjoyment of the river, including the recent installation of the floating docks where the Kalmar Nyckel tied up to September 10.
Fellow state legislators Schroeder and Warren said the excursion was both enjoyable and educational.
“It’s really important to learn how we can collaborate to keep the Delaware River the wonderful resource that it is,” Schroeder noted.
“It’s a magnificent ship, and a group of people really committed to water quality,” added Warren.
Crew members told those on the excursion about the history of the Kalmar Nyckel. It’s a replica of a Swedish ship used to help colonize North America several centuries ago. It’s also the official tall ship of the state of Delaware and is based on the Christiana River in Wilmington.