County Applauds ‘Voluntary’ Flow Plan For Delaware River, But Wants Permanency   

Monticello, NY – Sullivan County officials and Delaware River tourism and fishery advocates today praised the agreement reached by New York City, New York State, Pennsylvania and Delaware to in essence preserve the Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP) that is vital to the environment and tourism of the Upper Delaware River Valley.

The FFMP expired at midnight on May 31 after New Jersey refused to renew it over disagreements with the other states and the city pertaining to further water withdrawals. The 10-year-old agreement requires unanimous consent, and absent such, a 1983 agreement is now in effect, which is far less specific in detailing downstream release rates from New York City-owned drinking-water reservoirs situated along the Delaware River.

However, on June 1, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it will voluntarily adhere to the increased cold water flows and releases outlined in the FFMP, with agreement secured from New York State, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

“While disappointed with New Jersey’s refusal to work through its differences whilst keeping the FFMP in force, Sullivan County is grateful the other stakeholders in the watershed realize the crucial importance of the Delaware River to the environment, tourism and the overall quality of life in our region and beyond,” remarked Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek. “However, Sullivan County will be reviewing its legal alternatives in the event that the agreement enacted today falls apart.”

“Sullivan County would have been deeply impacted – negatively so – by the expiration of the FFMP, and the Sullivan County Legislature expresses its thanks to the NYC DEP, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and our neighbors and friends in Pennsylvania and Delaware for taking a proactive approach to ensure as little harm as possible,” stated Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez.

“Now it’s time for New Jersey to step up to the plate and resume good-faith negotiations under a fully restored FFMP,” added District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz, who represents several of the towns bordering the Delaware in Sullivan County. “As a river valley resident myself, I intimately understand the importance of the Upper Delaware to the lives of all who live and visit here, and we cannot afford to lose a drop of the water which nourishes our communities in so many ways.”

“Water sustains life, and the Delaware River sustains our way of life in Sullivan County,” said District 5 Legislator Terri Ward, who also lives along the river and represents towns which border on it. “We as a Legislature and a County will continue to vigilantly protect and advocate for this incredible natural resource which draws so many families and groups to our beautiful Catskills.”

“As an owner of a tourism business myself, I deeply appreciate the thousands of visitors the Delaware River attracts to Sullivan County,” remarked District 1 Legislator Scott Samuelson. “Any negative impact on the river ripples across the region, and so I am greatly pleased the fishery and flows will be preserved. I call upon New Jersey to return to the negotiating table and craft an agreement that will help, not harm, every stakeholder on the Delaware River.”

“Sullivan County’s economy depends greatly upon tourism, which depends greatly on visitors to the Delaware River,” explained Roberta Byron-Lockwood, president/CEO of the Sullivan County Visitors Association. “In cooperation with National Geographic and the National Park Service, we are heavily promoting this pristine stretch of the Upper Delaware for its prime fishing, boating, swimming and rafting opportunities, along with the camping, unique downtowns and other attractions on Sullivan County’s 70 miles of shoreline. It’s unfortunate New Jersey is refusing to sign off on the FFMP, as it is an important and welcome partner in tourism efforts along the Delaware’s entire length.”

For more information about this press release, please reach out to Sullivan County Director of Communications Dan Hust at (845) 807-0456.