Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2008–November 30, 2009

Open-File Report 2015-1231
By: , and 



A Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States, entered June 7, 1954, established the position of Delaware River Master within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In addition, the Decree authorizes diversions of water from the Delaware River Basin and requires compensating releases from certain reservoirs, owned by New York City, to be made under the supervision and direction of the River Master. The Decree stipulates that the River Master will furnish reports to the Court, not less frequently than annually. This report is the 56th Annual Report of the River Master of the Delaware River. It covers the 2009 River Master report year, the period from December 1, 2008, to November 30, 2009.

During the report year, precipitation in the upper Delaware River Basin was 50.89 inches (in.) or 116 percent of the long-term average. Combined storage in Pepacton, Cannonsville, and Neversink Reservoirs remained high throughout the year and did not decline below 80 percent of combined capacity at any time. Delaware River operations during the year were conducted as stipulated by the Decree and the Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP).

Diversions from the Delaware River Basin by New York City and New Jersey were in full compliance with the Decree. Reservoir releases were made as directed by the River Master at rates designed to meet the flow objective for the Delaware River at Montague, New Jersey, on 25 days during the report year. Releases were made at conservation rates—rates designed to relieve thermal stress and protect the fishery and aquatic habitat in the tailwaters of the reservoirs—on all other days.

During the report year, New York City and New Jersey complied fully with the terms of the Decree, and directives and requests of the River Master.

As part of a long-term program, the quality of water in the Delaware Estuary between Trenton, New Jersey, and Reedy Island Jetty, Delaware, was monitored at various locations. Data on water temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH were collected continuously by electronic instruments at four sites. In addition, selected water-quality data were collected at 22 sites on a monthly basis.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) collects monthly samples from March through October at 22 sites between Biles Channel and South Brown Shoal. Samples were collected and analyzed by the State of Delaware for the DRBC. At each site, water samples were collected at a single point near the center of the channel near the surface and analyzed for selected physical properties, and chemical and biological constituents including routine chemical substances, nutrients and bacteria. These consist of analyses of field measurements and laboratory determinations.

Suggested Citation

Krejmas, B.E., Paulachok, G.N., Mason, R.R., Jr., and Owens, Marie, 2016, Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2008–November 30, 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1231, 76 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

ISSN: 0196-1497 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • River Master Letter of Transmittal and Special Report
  • Delaware River Operations
  • Quality of Water in the Delaware Estuary
  • Appendix A.  Agreement (Temporary IERQ Extraordinary Needs Bank Release Program for Summer 2009) 
  • Appendix B.  Agreement (Revised FFMP Language to Address Storage Zone Bouncing)
  • Appendix C.  Temporary Supplemental Release Program for Tentative 2009 Rondout West Branch Tunnel Shutdown

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2008–November 30, 2009
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1231
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151231
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Office of Surface Water
Description vi, 76 p.
Time Range Start 2008-12-01
Country United States
Other Geospatial Delaware River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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