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Division of Water

Mark Klotz, Director
Tom Cullen, Assistant Director

a photo of Loon Lake at sunset
Loon Lake at sunset

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.

Topics on this page are advertised via the MakingWaves email list. You can subscribe to MakingWaves and other DEC email lists by visiting DEC's email update webpage. If you already receive updates from DEC, you can manage your subscription on this page too.

DEC Schedules Public Hearing on Proposed Amendments to State Saline Surface Water Quality Regulations for March 9 in NYC

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to 6 NYCRR Parts 701 and 703 for Class I and Class SD Waters at noon on Monday, March 9 at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office, Room 27A, 290 Broadway, Manhattan. DEC postponed the original meeting on January 27 as a result of a winter storm.

DEC also extended the public comment period for the proposed rulemaking until 5 p.m. on March 16. Comments should be submitted to NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-3500, Attn: Robert Simson or by email to: Comments.NYCRR701and703@dec.ny.gov.

Information on the proposed amendments can be found on DEC's website.

New York Section 303(d) Listing - EPA Federal Notice Re Jones Inlet/Bay

USEPA has opened a public comment period to receive comments on its recommendation to add Jones Inlet/Jones Bay to the State's 2014 Section 303(d) List. The public comment period runs through March 25, 2015. Additional information regarding this EPA action and the federal notice can be found on the Federal Register website (link leaves DEC website).

The Final New York State 2014 Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters was "partially approved/partially disapproved" by EPA on January 13, 2015. EPA approved all waterbody segments and associated pollutants included in the New York State's 2014 303(d) List. However, EPA disapproved the State's decision not to list the Jones Inlet/Jones Bay on the South Shore of Long Island for nitrogen.

NY-Alert Accounts Available for Sewage Spill Alerts

You can now sign up for a NY-Alert account to receive sewage spill alerts and other public alerts directly to your phone, e-mail, or text message. For more detailed instructions on signing up to receive sewage alerts, please visit DEC's website.

The Sewage Pollution Right to Know law became effective May 1, 2013. The law requires that discharges of untreated and partially treated sewage are reported by publicly owned treatment works and publicly owned sewer systems within two hours of discovery to DEC and local or state Health Departments and within four hours of discovery to the public and adjoining municipalities.

Request for Applications for Environmental Excellence Awards

DEC is accepting applications for the 2015 Environmental Excellence Awards program.

All applications are due by close of business on April 10, 2015.

Eligible applicants include businesses, educational institutions, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and individuals implementing innovative, sustainable actions or working in creative partnerships to improve and protect New York's environmental resources and contribute to a viable economy.

DEC Webpage Added: Watershed Plans

DEC has created a new Watershed Plans webpage that will provide links to each of the 47 known watershed plans that exist in New York. This page includes a map showing the areas of the state that currently have watershed plans.

A watershed plan forms the framework that guides water management decisions and provides a point of reference to measure future progress.

A watershed plan:

  • characterizes the natural resources, habitats, and environment of the watershed
  • identifies water quality and aquatic habitat impairments
  • recommends actions to protect the watersheds from further degradation
  • develops a strategy to restore the watershed

The watershed plans are available directly on the watershed webpages.

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

Updates of water quality assessment information for individual WI/PWL waterbodies are announced through MakingWaves. Most recently, WI/PWL Fact Sheets for the following waterbodies have been revised/updated:

Comments on these (or other) assessments are welcome via email at 4pwlinfo@dec.ny.gov.

In addition, the WI/PWL webpages are being modified to make it easier to find Fact Sheets for specific waterbodies of interest. These changes have now been completed for the Chemung River Basin.

Reminder: Applications Available for 2015 N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship

The application period for the 2015 N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship is now open. Applications are due to the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) by February 28, 2015. Visit the NYWEA website to download the application (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page).

In 2015, the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Fund will offer up to $5,000 in scholarships to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental or civil engineering, or environmental science concentrating on water quality, who show a commitment to government service.

Draft New York Ocean Action Plan Issued

DEC and the New York State Department of State have issued a draft 10-year Ocean Action Plan (OAP) to protect and restore the state's ocean resources and to address urgent issues facing these resources and coastal communities. Public comments on the OAP will be accepted until March 9, 2015.

The draft OAP, instructions on how to comment and more information are available on the New York Ocean Action Plan webpage. More information can also be found in DEC's January 15 press release.

Articles about Water by Division of Water Staff

Division of Water employees regularly write articles for the magazine Clearwaters, the quarterly publication of the New York Water Environment Association. The DOW Library webpage webpage houses these, and other, water-related articles written by DOW staff and others in DEC.

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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