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Division of Water

Mark Klotz, Director
Tom Cullen, Assistant Director

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Welcome to the Division of Water webpage! The Division conducts a variety of programs to protect and conserve New York's waters. On this page you will find information about the Division's programs and recent activities.

What's New in the Division of Water?

The Division of Water uses this page to highlight water-related information that we think may interest you. This page is updated weekly and topics are typically posted here for about 30 days. If a topic has a specific end date (such as a public comment period or an event), the description is removed after the end date.

Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grant and Engineering Planning Grant Available

The DEC is accepting applications for the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program and the Engineering Planning Grant. These grants are part of the NYS Regional Economic Development Councils Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website"). The WQIP program has $25.9 million available and the Engineering Planning Grant has up to $2 million available. Multiple workshops are being held where presentations will be given on both grant programs (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website"). All CFA applications must be completed by July 29, 2016 at 4:00 PM.

Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Program

The WQIP program is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds projects that reduce polluted runoff, improve water quality and restore habitat in New York's waterbodies.

Engineering Planning Grant

DEC, in conjunction with the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), are offering grants to municipalities to help pay for the initial planning of eligible Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) water quality projects. Grant funds can be used to pay for engineering and/or consultant fees for engineering and planning services for the production of an engineering report.

The Division of Water Celebrates Water Week

Water Week in New York is May 2 - 6 this year. For over 30 years, New York has set aside the first full week in May to focus on its abundant water resources, highlight water issues and encourage stewardship. This year's theme is: "Lake Management".

Each day, the Division of Water will send a "Special Edition" message to its MakingWaves listserve highlighting a different water-related topic. To subscribe to MakingWaves, go to DEC's homepage and enter your email address in the "Receive Email updates and News from NYSDEC" box. Look for MakingWaves under the "Water" heading.

Celebrate Water Week by joining the effort to restore, protect and conserve our water resources! Find ideas for water-related activities on the Watershed Stewardship webpage.

2016 N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Award Winners

The Division of Water, in cooperation with the New York Water Environment Association, is pleased to announce the 2016 winners of the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Awards:

  • The winner of a $3,000 scholarship is Ms. Natalie Morse. Ms. Morse is currently enrolled in a doctorate program in Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.
  • In addition, $2,000 merit awards were given to each of three other deserving candidates:
    • Mr. James Murduca, a master's degree candidate in Civil Engineering at the University of South Florida.
    • Ms. Beatriz Patino, a master's degree candidate in Environmental Engineering at Old Dominion University.
    • Mr. Timothy Koch, a masters' degree candidate in Watershed Hydrology and Biogeochemistry at SUNY - College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Where can I find more information about the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship?

More information, including application materials for next year's scholarship awards, is on the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) website (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

Funds Available for Sewage Pollution Right to Know Grant Program

Funding is now available for projects that will assist communities with the detection, monitoring and reporting of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), which will enhance reporting for the Sewage Pollution Right to Know law. Up to $500,000 is available for this grant program.

Under the Sewage Pollution Right to Know law, communities with CSO outfalls must notify the public of combined sewer overflows during wet weather events. However, some municipalities lack detection and monitoring equipment to provide their citizens with useful and timely information. This grant will help to solve that problem, allowing municipalities to use state funds to purchase and install different types or levels of detection and notification. The grant is focused on smaller communities that typically lack funding to install these types of devices. Individual grants are capped at $50,000.

For more information and to apply:

Specific information about the grant is available on DEC's Sewage Pollution Right to Know grants webpage. Municipalities who want to apply for the grant should log on to Grants Gateway and search for "New York State Sewage Pollution Right to Know Grant Program". A direct link to the Grants Gateway is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website". Applicants will fill out their applications in the Grants Gateway web-based system. Applications are being accepted until June 24, 2016.

Public Comment Period for Pesticide SPDES General Permit Renewal

The draft renewal of the SPDES General Permit for Point Source Discharges to Surface Waters of New York from Pesticide Applications (GP-0-16-005) and Fact Sheet are available for public review. The Pesticide SPDES General Permit will authorize point source discharges to, in or over surface waters of New York State from the application of New York State registered pesticides labeled for aquatic uses in accordance with Environmental Conservation Law and the Clean Water Act.

Written comments on the draft general permit will be accepted until close of business on May 20, 2016. View the April 20 Environmental Notice Bulletin for instructions on how to comment.

Reminder: Drug Enforcement Administration to Collect Prescription Drugs

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Properly disposing of drugs keeps them out of our lakes, streams and rivers. Collections will be held at many locations around New York and are the best way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Collection locations in New York can be found on DEA's National Take Back Initiative webpage (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

Information Posted about DEC's New Approach for Clean Water Plans

DEC is implementing a new approach to addressing the water quality issues in identified lakes, rivers and streams on the Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters. This new approach is described in a document just posted to DEC's website entitled, the Vision Approach to Implement Clean Water Act 303(d) Program and Clean Water Planning (PDF, 832 KB). This document describes New York's adaptive strategy to prioritize waterbodies for the development of clean water plans based on the state's identified priority concerns: nutrients, pathogens and public use. For more information about clean water plans, visit DEC's Clean Water Plans webpage.

Clearwaters Column on Wastewater Infrastructure Funding

A column about wastewater infrastructure funding written by DEC Deputy Commissioner for Water Resources James Tierney is now available on the Columns by DEC Staff Appearing in Clearwaters webpage. The column discusses several state and federal wastewater infrastructure funding opportunities. This column was originally published in this spring's issue of Clearwaters magazine.

Past columns are available on other topics, including restoring the Great Lakes, climate change, enforcement of federal and state laws, and reducing phosphorus in New York's waterbodies.

More about Clearwaters

Clearwaters is the quarterly publication of the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA). A direct link to the NYWEA website is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page. The Division of Water regularly provides columns for Clearwaters.

EPA Funding Available to Prevent Plastic Trash in New York Waters

The EPA has provided $365,000 to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) to fund local projects that will prevent plastic trash from polluting waterbodies in New York and New Jersey. More information, including the request for proposals and how to apply, can be found on the NEIWPCC website (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

Volunteers Wanted for Stream and River Monitoring

DEC is looking for volunteers to monitor streams and rivers as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project. Volunteers visit stream sites once between July and September to collect macroinvertebrates - insects and other small organisms - from the stream bottom.

Participate by joining a local WAVE group led by a trained local coordinator, or by sampling independently. Volunteers working under a trained local coordinator do not need to attend a training session; however, volunteers who want to work independently must attend a training session.

WAVE training sessions rotate around the state on a five-year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by DEC's Stream Biomonitoring Unit the following year. In 2016, local coordinator and basic WAVE training sessions are scheduled in the Chemung River, Black River, and Lower Hudson River basins in: Millbrook, Dutchess County (April 29); Delmar, Albany County (May 9); Raquette Lake, Hamilton County (May 10); Montebello, Rockland County (May 13); Alfred, Allegany County (May 19); Lowville, Lewis County (May 20); Elmira, Chemung County (June 3). For more information or to register for a training session, contact WAVE Coordinator Alene Onion by email:

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

Updates of water quality assessment information for individual WI/PWL waterbodies are announced through MakingWaves, typically on the first Friday of each month. However no updates have been completed in this past month as staff focus on the review of comments and update of the Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters.

Review and update of the Section 303(d) List will include the update of WI/PWL assessments for waters added, delisted, or recently revised on the 2016 List. Then attention will return to the more routine updating of assessments, with a focus on completing assessments for waters of Long Island. Assessments of waters in drainage basins where NYSDEC monitoring was recently completed - Delaware River, Genesee River and St Lawrence River Basins - are also underway and expected to be released this summer.

Comments on these (or other) assessments are welcome via email.

Hudson River Symposium to be Held on May 4

On May 4, 2016 the Hudson River Environmental Society will hold the Hudson River Symposium, entitled "The Hudson River Estuary and the Mohawk River: The Coming Together of the Waters." This one day symposium seeks to reconnect the resource professionals, educators, students, and interested public of the Hudson River Estuary and the Mohawk River by highlighting the environmental and cultural influence the Mohawk River has on the Estuary.

Presentations will cover a wide range of topics including the geologic history of the Mohawk River, the Mohawk River Valley as a source of nutrients and sediments to the Estuary, the history of and current role of the Erie Canal system, the threat from invasive species, the state of fisheries science, and the role of hydropower in managing flow and providing fish passage. A poster session and reception will complete the day.

More information and to register

This event will be held at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the Student Union Building from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Visit the Hudson River Environmental Society website for more information. Registration is now open. Directs link are available on the right hand side of this page under "Links Leaving DEC's Website."

$500 Million in U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER Discretionary Grants Available

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER Discretionary Grant program) has up to $500 million available for capital projects related to highways, bridges, public transportation, rail, ports, and intermodal projects. A primary selection criterion specifically mentions addressing environmental sustainability, including: avoiding adverse environmental impacts to water quality, providing environmental benefits such as ground water recharge in areas of water scarcity, and stormwater mitigation, including green infrastructure.

More information and to apply

TIGER applications are due no later than April 29, 2016 at 8:00 PM. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website for additional details and webinars (direct links are available on the right hand side of this page under "Links Leaving DEC's Website."

Water Week is May 2 - 6

This year's theme is: Lake Management. New York is fortunate to have many lakes of all sizes, and people use them for a variety of purposes, such as drinking water, flood control, and recreation.

Water Week is a time to re-commit to protecting and conserving New York's water resources, because everybody is needed to help take care of our waters. We encourage you to learn more about current water-related issues and renew your efforts to restore, protect and conserve our lakes, rivers and streams.

So, celebrate Water Week with us! To get started, find ideas on DEC's Watershed Stewardship and Local Watershed Association webpages.

Division Webpages

Carpenter Falls
Carpenter Falls

The Division of Water's webpages fall mainly into one of the two following locations:

  • Water Pollution Control - Information, guidance material and forms about the programs the Division of Water administers to control sources of water pollution.
  • Lands and Waters - Water resource information is divided into the following categories:
    • Watersheds, Lakes Rivers: Information on NYS watersheds and other water bodies
    • Oceans & Estuaries: NYS marine and estuary resource information
    • Groundwater: Aquifer and groundwater information & resources
    • Dam Safety, Coastal & Flood Protection: Program information related to flood protection, floodplain development, dam safety, and coastal management
    • Water Supply & Reclamation: Information on protecting New York's public water supplies and drought information

Division's Mission

The Mission of the Division of Water is to protect and conserve the water resources of New York State. This mission is accomplished through a wide range of programs and activities. Some of these are statewide in their scope and apply to all parts of the state. Other efforts are targeted to address water quality and quantity issues in specific regions of the state, focusing on waterbodies or watersheds where these issues are of particular concern. Still other programs target specific contaminants (e.g., mercury) or sources (e.g., stormwater runoff) or impacts (e.g., acid rain) of pollution.

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