This perspective explores the discovery, decline, and recovery of the Chesapeake, Delaware, and Hudson river basins as America’s formative watersheds.  These historic river basins were the place where America was founded and now these populous Mid-Atlantic watersheds cover just 2% of the contiguous United States yet provide drinking water to over 10% of the nation’s population.  These multistate river basins are managed with varying emphasis on governance ranging from voluntary Federal-driven agreements in the Chesapeake Bay, a compulsory Federal-state basin compact for the Delaware River, and grassroots riverkeeper advocacy along the Hudson River.  America was born along these historic East Coast waters and after a precipitous decline these rivers and bays are alive once again.

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