Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers Conference

On Jan. 26, 2023, local, state, federal and private sector partners gathered for a Restoring Wilmington’s Rivers Conference at the Chase Center at the Riverfront, in Wilmington. The conference was part of the Christina-Brandywine River Remediation Restoration Resilience (CBR4) project.

Subtitled “A Plan for Remediation, Restoration, and Resilience of the Christina and Brandywine Rivers,” the conference goals were to share knowledge, expand the team, look at interim and pilot projects, review best practices and think globally.

Morning Sessions


Jen Adkins, Executive Director, Delaware Nature Society

Chief Dennis Coker, Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware

CBR4 Vision, Goals and Strategies

CBR4 Vision: Marian Young, President, BrightFields, Inc.

John G. Cargill, IV, P.G. and Todd A. Keyser, P.G., Hydrologists, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Remediation Section

CBR4 Goals and Strategies: Jen Adkins, on behalf of the CBR4 Team

Restoring Shorelines

Brandywine River Shoreline Restoration Opportunities: Greg Rishel, Sr. Landscape Architect, Pennoni

Christina River Shoreline Restoration: Ellie Rothermel, Data Management Coordinator, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE)

Creating Wetlands

Southbridge Wilmington Wetlands Park Phase 2: Bryan Lennon, Asst. Water Division Director, Wilmington

Future Wetland Opportunities: Ellie Rothermel, Data Management Coordinator, PDE

Addressing Contaminants

Christina-Brandywine Rivers Remediation Feasibility Study: Kim Brinson, Technical Manager, BrightFields, Inc.

Importance of Upland Contaminant Source Control: Upal Ghosh, PhD, Univ. Maryland Baltimore County

Agency Perspectives

Wetlands and Waterways Section Restoration Perspective: Rebecca Bobola, Environmental Scientist, DNREC Division of Water

Luncheon Speakers

Collin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation

Strengthening and Uplifting Wilmington: Mayor Mike Purzycki, City of Wilmington

Afternoon Sessions

Connecting the Green Dots

Constitution Yards Habitat Pilot Project: Tony Mottola, Projects Director, Riverfront Development Corporation

GreeNCC: Tracy Surles, Public Works General Manager, New Castle County

Banning Park Ecological Uplift Opportunities: Matt Sarver, Principal, Sarver Ecological

Improving Resilience

Resilience Planning in Wilmington: Alison Quimby, Sustainability and Environmental Compliance Manager, Wilmington Dept of Public Works

Transportation Resilience: Jim Pappas, Director of Transportation Resiliency and Sustainability, DelDOT

Sustainable Resilient Remediation Strategy for CBR4 (NOAA Project of Special Merit): Kristen Thornton, Environmental Scientist, DNREC Delaware Coastal Program

Ensuring Access, from Fish to People

Dam Removal: Jim Shanahan, Executive Director, Brandywine River Restoration Trust

Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge Water Trail: Bob Meadows, DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife

Neighborhood Plans and Perspectives: Jen Adkins, Executive Director, Delaware Nature Society

Panel Discussion: What can we do to move projects like these forward?

Stephanie Heidbreder, Delaware River Program Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Greg Patterson, Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, State of Delaware

Phil Cane, State Hazard Mitigation Officer,Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA)

Richard Johnson, Urban Climate Resilience Manager, The Nature Conservancy

Closing Remarks

Jen Adkins, on behalf of the CBR4 Team