It’s Not Just the Trout Fishery That Benefits From Upper Delaware River Conservation

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Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR) is a non-profit community-based watershed protection organization based in Hancock, NY. 

FUDR is widely recognized as the “voice of the river” and the only professionally staffed non-profit organization working every day to protect and restore one of New York’s crown jewel natural resources – The Upper Delaware River watershed.

FUDR was originally conceived as a “fishing group” but has since expanded its advocacy work to include broad watershed conservation concerns including the welfare of people, communities, and local economies. 

Protecting and restoring the world class wild trout fishery of the Upper Delaware River Watershed continues to be a top priority for FUDR. However, in order to accomplish that objective, our work must go far beyond a “just fish” focus. It must include community engagement and collaboration, coalition building, political action, and generating resources to protect and restore a natural resource that is woven into the DNA of the people who rely on a healthy river for their livelihoods and spiritual enjoyment.  

Speaking of fishing, opening day of the New York state trout season is April 1 when the tourism economy of the Upper Delaware River watershed goes into overdrive. The Upper Delaware River “tailwaters” (a term that describes a river below a dam) was created by the construction of three large reservoirs in the 1950s and 1960s in the western Catskills (Pepacton, Cannonsville, Neversink) that generate more than half of New York City’s daily water supply.  

Cold, clean water is released from the bottom of the dams into the tailwaters of the Upper Delaware River resulting in a wild trout fishery that is one of the best in the country. Anglers come from across the globe every year to match their skills against wary, strong, stream-bred trout, and they help boost the economies of local communities at the same time. 

Multiple watershed interests (anglers, businesses, elected officials and local governments, landowners, second homeowners) have a stake in ensuring the future protection and restoration of the river, the lands that surround it, the fishery, and the economic revitalization of the region. 

For the first time ever, due to the organizing efforts of FUDR and our diverse watershed conservation partners, the Upper Delaware River is receiving the political attention it has always deserved at the state and federal level, bringing meaningful funding to the watershed. This funding is used for on-the-ground projects that protect and restore the river...and the trout fishery. 

Projects include streambank stabilization and erosion control, protection of aquatic habitat and the fishery, culvert replacements and infrastructure protection, recreational enhancements, flood mitigation, and community-based watershed planning.  

FUDR’s most recent campaign is to secure meaningful funding through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund for on the ground stream projects that heal the watershed and boost local economies. 

One exciting and popular FUDR project in 2021 is our work to control the proliferation of Japanese knotweed, an invasive species that is taking over the river valley, crowding out native grasses and vegetation, and accelerating soil erosion and streambank destabilization.

If you want to learn more about knotweed management techniques join us on June 5 from 1 - 4 p.m. at Skinners Falls Boat Launch, 

June 19 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. - Hancock Firemen’s Field.

July 17 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. - Will Smith Memorial Park, Deposit. Fun and educational for all ages. 

Visit fudr.org/knotweed for more information.

To learn more about all of FUDR’s activities and campaigns, how you can get involved, and to join our organization, go to

www.fudr.org. Friends of the Upper Delaware River, 158 E. Front Street, Hancock, NY 13783.

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