The Christina Brandywine River Remediation, Restoration and Resilience (CBR4) initiative is a collaboration between partners in the public and private sectors to bring the lower Christina and Brandywine Rivers fully back to life after years of industrial use and recovery. In 2017 the Christina Conservancy began working with DNREC and other partners to assess the needs and possibilities for addressing in-stream contamination and restoring habitat and water quality to make these urban waters fishable and swimmable again. In 2021 that partnership blossomed into a broader collaboration to create a vision for the future of these rivers with the strategies and projects needed to realized it: A Plan for Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers, is the result, released in 2023.

A Plan for Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers

In 2021-2023 a team of experts worked together to develop the strategies and projects to bring these urban rivers fully back to life for people, fish and wildlife. The core of this team included the Christina Conservancy, American Rivers, DNREC, BrightFields, Inc., Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Sarver Ecological, and the Delaware Nature Society. They worked with the South Wilmington Planning Network, Collaborate Northeast and others to get input from local communities and other stakeholders and with Anchor QEA, the Riverfront Development Corporation, the City of Wilmington and others to gather data and develop strategies and projects. Access the plan here.

A Story of Collaboration and Recovery

In addition to the written plan, CBR4 partners created a web-based story map with interactive maps, downloadable project fact-sheets, a virtual meeting room, and other information. Visit the story map to learn more about the goals, strategies, and projects needed to restore Wilmington’s Rivers. Story Map Coming Soon!

CBR4 Timeline

2017 – The Christina Conservancy provides financial support for DNREC to complete a survey of the bottom of the lower Christina River in order to map and characterize sediments (soils) and help target future cleanup of contaminants like PCBs in the river. Click on this Link to data to access a map of results on the NOAA ERMA website. (Once there, open the Bathymetry & Hydrology menu item on the right hand side and a list of Christina River DE survey data options will appear that can be added to the map.)

September 2019 – The Christina Conservancy partners with BrightFields Inc., DNREC, and Anchor QEA to host A Technical Workshop for the Christina River and Brandywine Creek Sediment Remediation bringing together 80 scientists, engineers, and planners to focus on river sediment remediation and river restoration, and to outline net steps for environmental cleanup goals, fundraising and community involvement. See the Workshop Agenda here and Workshop Attendees list here.

September 2020 – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announces a grant award to the Christina Conservancy  to work with American Rivers and other CBR4 partners on developing a plan for the recovery of these rivers. See press about the grant award here.

March 2021 – CBR4 partners host introductory webinar to share information about the multi-year project, what it set out to do, and how it came about with key stakeholders. See the recording of our introductory webinar here.

February 2022 – CBR4 partners host a virtual workshop to present maps of baseline conditions, goals and strategies for guiding the identification of projects. Organizations, agencies and community groups working in and around the lower Christina and Brandywine Rivers were invited to attend and provide their insights on these goals and strategies. Watch a recording of the workshop here

November 2022 – CBR4 partners share concept plans at local community meetings in the Southbridge and Northeast neighborhoods of Wilmington and via a Virtual Information Room to seek feedback on project opportunities. See the CBR4 Virtual Information Room here.

January 2023 – CBR4 partners hosted a one-day Restore Wilmington’s Rivers conference for key stakeholders to share a series of project opportunities and concept plans for feedback and to seek partners and support for implementing them. These projects were shaped by the outcomes of prior workshops and community outreach that reached over 300 people. For workshop presentations see https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/cbr4/.

June 2023A Plan for Wilmington’s Rivers is released to the public and CBR4 partners begin implementing the project highlighted there, including Green Infrastructure Network Pilot Project supported by the Christina Conservancy and led by the Riverfront Development Corporation working in partnership with the Delaware Nature Society and other CBR4 partners.

For additional information about the CBR4 Initiative visit https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/cbr4/.