Although the focus of my blog is on the freshwater 'non-tidal' portion of the river, I want to briefly examine the Delaware Estuary system, for it serves a vital aspect of the river system. Estuaries are said to be one of the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth, serving as spawning and feeding grounds for a variety of , as well as migratory routes for many recreational and commercial fish. Once waters of the Delaware River drift past Trenton, the freshwater begins to mix with saltwater from the Delaware Bay, a transition of eco-conditions merge to create the Delaware Estuary, New Jersey's largest estuarine system. The transition boundary of the fresh and salt waters is variable because it is dependent on regional rainfall. In conditions of drought, the brackish water can travel upstream.
The estuarine biotic systems are in the constant pressure of this changing environmental physiology, which makes them more susceptible to the alterations that we add with our development. Although the estuary is protected in the National Estuary Program, the lower Delaware Basin, of which it lies, is highly urbanized, both residential and commercial. According to a US House of Representative report, in 2005 the Delaware River ports generates $19 billion in annual economic activity(DRBC). This regional prosperity is unarguably the product of a well-developed river system, for any environment's quality is a reflection of the quality of its water system.
However, it can be observed in the past that any exponentially expanding urbanization pattern against a naturally flowing environment will ultimately have disastrous effects on native biota. The estuary is visited by a number of migratory waterfowl, as well a super-highway for migratory fish to the freshwater spawning ground the northern Delaware River. Although there are numerous efforts to alleviate human pressures upon the estuary, the tidal-water flow does not receive the intense protection as its headwaters, which may lead it to further degradation through the continuing years advancing urbanization.


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