A push for keeping the Cooper River pristine prompts a call to action by New Jersey

David Madden
October 18, 2019 - 2:02 pm
Erik Sildorff with the Delaware RiverKeeper Network

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

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PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Environmental activists used the 47th anniversary of adoption of the Federal Clean Water Act to urge New Jersey officials to designate a 2 mile stretch of the Cooper River for special protection.

The Cooper River was almost half sewage half a century ago. Today, several endangered species are not only back but thriving, such as the Eastern Pond Mussel.

Eastern Pond Mussel shell
David Madden/KYW Newsradio

The push is on to include this stretch of the river under a plan to protect over 700 miles of waterways statewide at the highest level. This would be the first urban waterway in the state to be so designated.

That may seem a bit complicated, but Erik Sildorff with the Delaware RiverKeeper Network says it just makes sense.

"This recognition of the critical role of protection now instead of digging ourselves out of a deep hole later is a simple but powerful tool to protect both resources and to save taxpayer money," he said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing the proposal, and a decision is expected early next year.