Lehigh River, Pennsylvania

Providing ecological flows on the Lehigh River that meet project purposes.

The Lehigh River is part of the Delaware River Basin and influenced by operation of the F.E. Walter and Beltzville Reservoirs in Pennsylvania.

Through the Sustainable Rivers Program, a study of the Delaware River Basin is aimed at improving the health and life of the river through adaptively managing reservoir operations to continue to meet congressionally authorized purposes and enhance or improve habitat and ecological conditions in the Lehigh River Basin.

Lehigh River

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Providing ecologically‐based goals for river flow management in the Delaware River basin – including the Lehigh River and its tributaries – is a priority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Nature Conservancy, and other federal and state partners.

Beginning in 2011, with funding from the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Conservancy led an 18‐month process to set basin‐wide ecosystem flow recommendations that can be implemented within the non‐tidal riverine habitats of the Delaware River basin. The Delaware basin ecological flow study followed the general approach of other large basin‐scale projects that the Conservancy led on the Susquehanna, Upper Ohio and Great Lakes basins. The project addressed headwaters, tributaries, and large river habitats in the basin, with emphasis on tributaries that are or could be affected by water withdrawals.

The USACE Philadelphia District indicated that they were interested in additional analyses and more detailed information for river reaches affected by reservoir storage and releases for flood control, recreation, fish and wildlife. and other purposes. The Conservancy and the District entered into a Cooperative Agreement on September 19th of 2016 to conduct a more detailed assessment on the influence of the District’s reservoir operations in the Lehigh River watershed, a major tributary to the Delaware River.






  • Delaware River Basin Commission
  • Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Bethlehem Water Authority
  • Wildlands Conservancy
  • Lehigh Coldwater Fishery Alliance
  • Delaware & Lehigh Natural Heritage Corridor
  • Lehigh River Stocking Association
  • Whitewater rafting guides (eg. Pocono Whitewater, Whitewater Challengers, Adventure Rafting)
  • American Rivers
  • Audubon Society
  • The Nature Conservancy



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