My family and I have a lot of history with the Delaware river. We should. We practically lived right on it for 19 years. I grew up in New Castle, Delaware and I still live there today. The Delaware river is very close by. It’s not a small river either. It’s over 6,000 feet long and it doesn’t just run through Delaware. The Delaware River runs through four other states as well, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. It is one of the major rivers on the Atlantic coast. I think that’s pretty impressive.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Battery Park. This was a park that was right along the bank of the river. My father would often take us fishing there. The Delaware river is home to many fish and other wild life as well. I’ve caught stripers (also known as striped bass) and cat fish in this river on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, due to humans polluting the river, you are only supposed to eat a certain amount of fish out of the Delaware per year so we were never able to eat our catch. I’ve also been crabbing in the Delaware.
There are also, among other animals, muskrat, raccoon, possum, groundhog, foxes, deer and snakes that live along The Delaware River and use it as a water source. There are many species of birds as well, my favorite being the Great Blue Heron. It is not rare to occasionally see a Bald Eagle flying overhead too. In my opinion, The Delaware River is not one that you can swim in. I wouldn’t trust the murky odd smelling water. If you look closely at times, it has sort of a rainbow tint. I don’t even think I’d let my dog swim in it. However, I do often see people out there swimming from time to time. I’ve only ever dipped my feet in when I was a child. I remember walking along the shore collecting shells and beach glass that was smooth from weathering and being tossed around in the river. We also collected something we called ‘Lava Rock’. We were never really sure if it really was Lava Rock or something that was just created by the river but it’s a memory that has never left me.
Growing up along this river, I care for it deeply. So does the rest of my family. It is part of our home. When something is part of your home, you protect it and keep it safe. Unfortunately, not everyone who lives around this river is on the same page. If it wasn’t for this river, 17 million people would not have a water source. Yes, the Delaware Rivers estuary supplies as all with the water we need in our day to day lives. This river is very important to us and we should treat it better. There have been several oil spills in the Delaware river. I’ve seen a couple in my life time. People dump other pollutants and waste in the river as well. Not too long ago, they started dredging the river. If you are not familiar with this, dredging is the act of removing sand/mud from the bottom of a river. It’s purpose is to create and deepen waterways so ships have an easier time passing through. However, this is harmful to the river because when you dredge a river it stirs up anything that has settled at the bottom of the river. Pollutants that have settled into the river bed that have remained there for years and years are now stirred back into the river water and can cause plants and animals to die and the water to become even more contaminated once again. Dredging also destroys habitats of animals and plants as well. This effects my family and every family that uses the Delaware River and depends on it. I think we should care more about it.
The Delaware River isn’t just home to native species of plants and animals. There are also evasive organisms as well which can be potentially harmful for native species and humans as well. If you are unfamiliar with the term evasive species, they are non native species brought here by accident (or purposefully) and they are a big threat to the Delaware Rivers ecosystem. I can recall one time when my family and I came across a snakehead fish. If you catch or see a snakehead while fishing in the Delaware river, you are to kill it and report it to Delaware fish and wildlife. Snakeheads are native to Africa and Asia. Evasive species kill off native species that we need in our ecosystem so this is the problem.
My family has participated in many events on the Delaware River. One of them being Canal Day. Canal day is out on the C&D canal. The C&D canal is a ship canal that connects the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay in Delaware and Maryland. Canal Day is a celebration where everyone goes out on their boats and they basically just have a big party. It’s a pretty good time. Another fun event on the Delaware River that my family and I have taken part in was Delaware river tubing. This took place in Frenchtown, New Jersey and was a lot of fun. The water was cleaner in that part of the River so I didn’t mind as much. I would never tube around where I live now.
The Delaware River has a lot of history. In some ways it is sort of famous and in some ways infamous. I hope its condition improves in the near future so I can take my daughter there and share some of the stories I have shared with you with her. I hope she grows to appreciate this river as much as I have and hopefully I can give her some memories to share with her own children.
- Grants given to improve Delaware River (philly.com)
- Things to do with kids in and around South Jersey: the Great Outdoors (nj.com)
- New Castle, Delaware (infolific.com)