Policy work is one of the many things we do at MWA. It takes a couple of forms. We participate in the Highlands Coalition and conduct outreach to the Highlands Council; we submit public comments on pending water-related regulations, join in letters with the NJ Coalition of Watershed Associations; and occasionally, we testify in Trenton as a witness, as we did last year in support of the Highlands Act. We also conduct outreach to our Congressional delegation in the House and Senate at least once per year.
Updating our 3 Representatives and 2 Senators is an important part of communicating our impact through the Partnership Wild & Scenic River Program, which Congress provides funds for on an annual discretionary (not automatic) basis. I've managed to do this the day after power was restored to my home after 5 days of no power, with a bit of scruff to show for it, and again returning in the late evening snow of this recent storm. It is that important.
I have good news! We've fared much better this year than last year. This year both Congressmen Lance and Gottheimer supported the Partnership Wild & Scenic River Program's full funding, along with 39 other Representatives - a record for the program. Congressman Frelinghuysen does not join these types of letters because he serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and would be writing a letter to himself if he did so. His staff indicated he is supportive of the program. On the Senate-side, both Senators Menendez and Booker support the Partnership Wild & Scenic River Program. With the addition of Congressman Gottheimer this year, we are at 100% support from the Musconetcong Watershed. If you would like to thank them for their support, click here.
We also serve on the Steering Committee for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, which focuses on federal and state-level policies. In January, the Coalition's members voted to include the Partnership Wild & Scenic River Program as their #2 Federal Priority - an effort we spearheaded through their annual policy priority process. This week, we joined our colleagues from NJ Audubon, NJ Highlands Coalition, Appalachian Mountain Club, and others in advocating to Congress for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program's funding (100% Musky Watershed Congressional support) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has funded land preservation for the Musconetcong Wildlife Management Area and Musconetcong Mountain (again, 100% Musky Watershed Congressional support). By being locally-focused, but nationally-aware, we uniquely bring home how national programs and policies have direct, local impacts in our watershed.
Only YOUR SUPPORT makes it possible for us to educate and inform our Congressional delegation about the policies that keep our drinking water clean and help restore the watershed. Rarely, if ever, do private foundations cover this type of work. As you renew your membership this year, consider renewing at the Supporter level or higher, and show your support of MWA continuing to educate and inform our Congressional delegation about water issues.