The Christina-Brandywine River Remediation Restoration Resilience (CBR4) project is an initiative to address legacy toxic contamination, restore the native ecology and prepare for the changing climate as well as other threats to river health in the lower Christina River and tidal Brandywine River.
On Jan. 26, 2023, local, state, federal and private sector partners gathered for a Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers Conference to review CBR4 projects, share knowledge, expand the team and think globally.
The CBR4 Team
Find CBR4 project goals and strategies and a survey to help define future efforts
In alignment with the Watershed Approach to Toxics Assessment and Restoration program (WATAR), the project goal is to make the rivers fishable, swimmable and drinkable in the shortest timeframe possible.
CBR4 success will take multiple years to achieve, will require the efforts of various partners and will continue stepwise as project funding becomes available. The current phase, from 2021 through 2022, has two projects advancing simultaneously: the initiation of a sediment remediation feasibility study and a planning effort that seeks to articulate the strategies and framework needed to restore the lower Christina and Brandywine rivers to a healthy condition.
CBR4 will have lasting direct and indirect benefits to the state, including:
The project area is defined as the Christina River from Interstate-95 east of Newport to its mouth at the Delaware River, and the Brandywine River from Market Street to its mouth at the Christina River.
The area is important culturally and economically, with several historic neighborhoods, buildings and cultural sites, in addition to a major port and transportation hub.
Some of Wilmington’s most vulnerable communities are located along the banks of the lower Christina and Brandywine rivers.
Neighborhoods such as Southbridge and Northeast have been heavily impacted by past contamination and flooding and should benefit from and have a say in remediation, restoration and recreational activities.
DNREC’s WATAR team is working with several contractors to develop a conceptual site model (CSM) and ultimately conduct a sediment remediation feasibility study (FS) for the lower Christina and Brandywine Rivers.
The first step is determining if any data gaps exist within the current dataset of contaminant and sediment quality data. The CSM will help to identify and prioritize any remaining upland sources of contamination.
Finally, the FS will determine the best approaches/technologies to remediate the legacy contaminant sources in sediments and provide an evaluation of potential costs. It will also be used in the planning process when identifying possible restoration and coastal resilience implementation projects.
A Plan for Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers (Feb. 2023)
American Rivers and the Christina Conservancy were awarded a two-year grant in fall of 2020 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to engage with experts, the public and stakeholders to create a long-term remediation, restoration and resiliency plan for the lower Christina and Brandywine rivers.
That planning effort has resulted in A Plan for Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers, published in 2023.
This plan provides a compelling vision for a future Christina-Brandywine Riverfront that thrives economically and environmentally, and a practical blueprint to guide decision-making and to leverage resources for key projects and activities.
Combining remediation and restoration projects provides long-term solutions.
The CBR4 Project Team includes professionals from a variety of public and private entities.