Friends of the Delaware Canal receive Stewardship Award

by Karen Sangillo

The Lower Makefield Township Environmental Advisory Council presented its annual Stewardship Award to the Friends of the Delaware Canal on February 15th at the township’s Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the 15th year that the council has given this award, which recognizes environmental achievement and improved quality of life in the community and includes a $1,000 stipend as well as a plaque honoring the recipients.   

Board of Supervisors chairman Fred Weiss made the presentation, noting that the FODC has admirably fulfilled the roles specified in the award.  The Board of Supervisors were pleased to recognize the dedicated members of the FODC who have contributed their time and effort over the years to maintain and upgrade this special landmark waterway, and its executive director, Michael Ginder, with this award. 

The BOS also thanked Susan Taylor, the past executive director who served in that capacity for over 30 years, providing inspiration and acting as a role model with her fierce advocacy and tireless devotion to the FODC. Susan retired in July. 

Environmental stewardship categories that the FODC qualified for include pollution prevention, resource conservation, sustainability, environmental education and environmental leadership.  The FODC has made many improvements to the canal, including various clean-ups that have removed invasive plants clogging the system and allowing a myriad of aquatic creatures to live in and by its waters. 

“We were very honored to have received the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Lower Makefield Township Environmental Action Council and the Board of Supervisors,” Ginder said.  “The award recognizes our achievements over the last 40 years to help improve, restore, and promote the Delaware Canal. We will use the stipend to buy supplies and materials for maintaining the towpath and keeping the canal clean of trash.”  

The FODC is an independent, non-profit organization. Its mission is to sustain the unique link the canal provides to our heritage, protect the beautiful and diverse natural areas, restore, preserve and improve the canal and its surroundings, provide educational and recreational opportunities and enable the canal to serve as a community and economic asset. 

Over the past 40 years, the FODC’s restoration work has changed the canal from what founder Betty Orlemann referred to as a ‘smelly, muddy ditch’ to an area offering fishing, biking, birding and hiking to residents, who may now take advantage of the canal’s nearly 60 miles of waterway. 

The long-term goal of the FODC is to have the complete 58.9-mile length of the canal, from Easton to Bristol, fully watered and restored to working capacity and to make the towpath trail usable over its entire length.   Most recently, the FODC made much-needed repairs on the Sommer’s Bridge in Yardley, allowing it to be re-opened in time for the heigh of the fall season.

Sommer’s Bridge is just one of six authentic camelback bridges along the canal. In 2023, the FODC will focus on the restoration of Spahr’s Camelback Bridge in Upper Black Eddy.

It will be one of the organization’s most significant undertakings to date.  The FODC is always seeking more volunteers.

For more information go to their website,

The Lower Makefield Township Environmental Advisory Council members include co-chairs Alan Dresser and Matt Farrell, members Linda Salvati, Kevin Gallen, Paul Roden, Soumya Dharmavaram and Jim Bray, and supervisor liaison Dan Grenier. 

PHOTO CAP: From left, David W. Kratzer, Jr., Township Manager, Jim Bray, Environmental Advisory Council member and past chair, Fredric K. Weiss, chair of LMT Board of Supervisors, Michael Ginder, executive director of Friends of the Delaware Canal, John B. Lewis, secretary of LMT Board of Supervisors, Susan Taylor, past executive director of Friends of the Delaware Canal, Brett Webber, president of Friends of the Delaware Canal, and Jack Torres, secretary of Friends of the Delaware Canal.

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