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Special protection waters pioneer honored

By Fritz Mayer
October 19, 2011

“We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dick for his wisdom, foresight and unrelenting determination in spearheading the establishment of special protection waters standards for the Delaware River during a pivotal time in the river’s history,” said Sean McGuiness. “It’s ironic that we’re in another pivotal time,” he added, a reference to the gas drilling issue.

Those words were read by McGuiness, superintendent of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, at a tribute for Dick Albert, who passed away in 2009.

McGuiness and Albert’s widow, Mary, placed a plaque listing Albert’s achievements in the development of special protection waters protocol at the entrance to a new water lab at the facility.

About 25 members of the National Park Service, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), the Upper Delaware Council and friends of the river spoke of their remembrances of Albert, many of them praising him for coming up with the programs that continue today, regarding the monitoring, testing and protection of the water in the watershed.

Albert was supervising engineer and basin planner for the DRBC from 1975 to 2000 and he was staff scientist and restoration director for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network from 2000 to 2009.

Pamela V’Combe, a watershed planner for the DRBC, said, “Still, to this day among the old veterans that are remaining at the DRBC, it is not uncommon to hear ‘what would Dick do?’” She said the question is asked not only in a moral context about how to approach things, “but also from a pragmatic view of a professional standard of excellence.”