The Working River

The Working RiverThe Delaware Estuary provides tremendous economic value to the three states that share this critical resource. The Delaware Estuary is home to three major ports in Philadelphia, PA; Camden, NJ; and Wilmington, DE. The ports, farms, tourism, recreation, and other related industries in the Delaware Estuary watershed provide more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs generating more the $10 billion dollars in annual wages. Nearly 2% of the United States population relies on the Delaware Estuary for their drinking water, with 750 million gallons of drinking water supplied each day directly from the Delaware Estuary and its nearby tributary watersheds. In addition to wages, activities associated with the Delaware Estuary including recreation, water quality and supply, hunting, fishing, forest, agriculture, and parks generate an estimated $10 billion annually in economic value for the region. Another measure of the value of the Delaware Estuary is in the ecosystem services it provides, such as treatment of storm water and shoreline protection provided by the wetlands along its shore, the water it provides for drinking and other purposes, and the farms and forests it supports. The value of these ecosystem services provided by the estuary is estimated to be $12 billion/year. (Source:  Kauffman et al., 2011. Economic Value of the Delaware Estuary Watershed. University of Delaware – Water Resources Agency Institute for Public Administration School of Public Policy and Administration).

History of Delaware Ports