The Delaware River Basin Commission is trying to beat three other waterways to win the keystone state’s eastern border Pennsylvania River of the Year. People can vote once per email address here for the Delaware as it competes against the Clarion River, the Conodoguinet Creek, and the Lackawanna River.

DRBC Communications Specialist Kate Schmidt says this is about more than just a trophy.

A large shipping vessel travels down the Delaware River.
A large shipping vessel travels down the Delaware River.

“We are interested in it as the commission because the River of the Year program really fosters awareness of the river,” Schmidt explained. “It celebrates natural resources as well as its economic benefits and connections to communities.”

The Delaware houses the largest freshwater port in the world while being clean enough to go for a swim. It also supplies drinking water for 15 million people, including every person living in Philadelphia.

“You always have this conflict between good for the environment versus good for the economy,” Schmidt said. “Here, we’re really showing people that you can have both. It can be great for industry, great for economy, and great for the environment.”

The Commission has responsible for cleaning up the Delaware since 1961, longer than any other government organization. It allows Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York to cooperate effectively for the benefit of the river.

“We were created before there was an EPA, before there was the Clean Water Act,” Schmidt said. “We were heavily involved in that initial clean up effort. Today that part of the river is cleaner than it’s been in decades. We all should be proud of that.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the Clarion River is ahead with more than 50% of the vote and the Delaware is in second place with 22%.

Anyone can vote, just head to pariveroftheyear.org. Any email can cast one ballot for the Delaware until 5 p.m. on January 4th.