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January 05, 2022

Bartram's Garden, FDR Park projects get funding to enhance Delaware Estuary

DEP has allocated nearly $600,000 to create new attractions that allow people to enjoy the Delaware River and its tributaries

Environment Delaware River
Delaware Estuary Projects Courtesy/Höweler & Yoon Architecture and Brick Visual

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection has set aside nearly $600,000 to fund projects that enhance the Delaware Estuary, including FloatLab at Bartram's Garden. A rendering of FloatLab is pictured above.

The Delaware River is the backbone of the Philadelphia region, but it's not always the easiest to access or enjoy. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is setting aside $574,974 to protect the river estuary and to create new attractions so residents can better understand its importance and make good use of it. 

The funding is being allocated to projects in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone, a 112-mile designation extending from Morrisville, Bucks County to Pennsylvania's border with Delaware. The area constitutes the world's largest freshwater port, according to DEP.

Much of the money is going to projects located in Philadelphia proper.

Bartram's Garden in Southwest Philly will receive $50,000 to fund education staff at its FloatLab, a unique, ring-shaped pier that will allow people to interact more closely with the river than they can from the shore.

A few miles upstream, the Fairmount Park Conservancy is getting $50,000 to hire a landscape architect to plan the restoration of FDR Park's Pattison Lagoon. The conservancy also has plans for a giant new playground overlooking the lagoon and featuring a 30-seat swing set. The playground is expected to be completed in 2023.

Lots of money also was allocated to trail projects in the Philly suburbs.

In Delaware County, Chester received $60,000 to create final designs for the city's segment of the East Coast Greenway on Norris Street, which will give residents better access to recreational opportunities on the river.

The greenway is an ambitious plan to connect 450 municipalities and 3,000 miles between Maine and Florida with a safe pedestrian and bike route.

In Bucks County, $70,000 was set aside to design the Levittown Trail, which will connect three creeks in the area and a number of nearby parks and schools.

Groups focused on the river also got significant funding.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission received $100,000 to continue managing the coastal zone and to reach out to the municipalities it includes about future plans.

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary got more than $100,000 to plan Pennsylvania Coast Day 2022 and engage youth in clean water stewardship through education about the river's freshwater mussels.

Each of the 12 projects receiving funding are outlined below: 


• Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission – $50,000 to implement the Coastal Management Program in the Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone, and $50,000 to conduct outreach to municipalities focused on climate resiliency and related hazard mitigation
• John Bartram Association – $50,000 to support FloatLab education staff at Bartram’s Garden.
• Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Inc. – $62,384 to conduct Pennsylvania Coast Day 2022 events to educate the public about coastal recreation, historic sites and public access, and $50,000 to engage residents and youth in clean water stewardship through freshwater mussel education.
• PA Cleanways – $40,000 to conduct community cleanups and marine debris removal in the Delaware Estuary.
• Fairmont Park Conservancy – $75,000 to contract a landscape architect to develop a plan to restore Pattison Lagoon in FDR Park.
• Glen Foerd Conservation Corporation – $12,590 to complete an historical boathouse structural plan.

Bucks County

• Bucks County – $70,000 to design and engineer the Levittown trail.
• Heritage Conservancy – $20,000 to fund the Watershed Stewardship program at Bristol Marsh and Croydon Woods.

Delaware County

• Chester – $60,000 to develop final design documents for the Chester City East Coast Greenway trail connection on Norris Street.
• Marcus Hook – $40,000 to develop the Market Square Memorial Park Delaware River pier removal and reconstruction master plan.