The Academy of Natural Sciences


A collaborative agenda improves conservation efforts

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University


Given the size and complexity of the Delaware River watershed, it is no surprise that research often happens independently and communication among stakeholders is imperfect. Key research questions can go unanswered and opportunities for collaboration can be missed. To identify and prioritize research gaps relevant to the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, the Academy of Natural Sciences gathered a group of scientists, practitioners, and policymakers to better coordinate and craft a focused research agenda. By design, this multidisciplinary group included hydrologists, engineers, biologists, and social scientists.


Working collaboratively, this group can more effectively accelerate conservation, identifying the specific research needs around threats to water quality currently being addressed by policymakers and practitioners. Scarce resources can be driven to the most critical questions, whose answers will have the greatest impact on water quality. In turn, connecting on-the-ground efforts with a research agenda will help transform the watershed into a living laboratory for conservation approaches that will test innovations and improve existing practice.

Photo Credit Jim Lukach/Flickr CC, color darkened; Jonathan Kolbe