The William Penn Foundation says it has recently awarded $17 million in grants related to providing public access to, or cleanup of, the Delaware River watershed, with a commitment of $30 million through 2017.

The 13,500-square-mile watershed spans from the Catskills in New York through Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the Delaware Bay. It provides drinking water for 15 million people as well as recreational activities. The Schuylkill also falls within the watershed.

"The Foundation's Watershed Protection Program is a strategic, science-informed approach to conservation, based on the power of the collective impact of organizations working locally to protect or restore priority waterways, from the Catskills and the Poconos to the Delaware Bayshore," said Andrew Johnson, program director for Watershed Protection at the William Penn Foundation.

Among the 35 grants to nonprofit groups:

  • $335,000 to East Falls Development Corp. to build a landing on the Schuylkill, immediately upstream of the Falls Bridge. The landing will provide kayaking and canoeing access from the Schuylkill River Trail.

  • $350,000 to the National Governors Association Center for best practices to launch a water policy institute to provide research.

  • $82,500 to Philadelphia City Rowing to provide environmental education activities and increase program participation.

  • $1.8 million to Cooper's Ferry Partnership to plan and design circuit trails and parks along the Delaware and Cooper Rivers in Camden.

  • $3.1 million to the National Wildlife Federation to provide support for the Coalition of the Delaware River Watershed, which has 100 member organizations, and to fund cooperative efforts among Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York for a shared vision of the watershed.

  • $176,000 to the American Sustainable Business Institute to educate and unite business leaders to support clean water policies and initiatives.

The $17 million reflects grants awarded since April, or about six months.  So far for 2017, the foundation has awarded $25.5 million of the $30 million it plans to give.

For a full list of grants, go to