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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.

Final Environmental Impact Statement Scope for Catalum SPDES Modification

DEC has issued a Final Scoping Document for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be prepared for the Catskill Aqueduct Influent Chamber (Catalum) SPDES Permit proposed modification. The EIS will evaluate whether proposed turbidity control measures and postponement of dredging in the Kensico Reservoir could cause significant adverse environmental impacts. For more information view the March 22 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Reminder: Application Deadline for Hudson River Estuary Program Grants

Applications for the Hudson River Estuary Tributary Restoration and Resiliency grants must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on April 6, 2017 (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page). Approximately $1,000,000 is available. Visit the Hudson River Estuary Program's website for more details.

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. Participate by: (1) serving as a local coordinator who coaches and coordinates their own team of WAVE participants (must attend a full day training); (2) sampling independently (must also attend a full day training); or (3) joining a local team led by a WAVE local coordinator (no training required).

This year, WAVE training sessions are being offered in the Susquehanna River, Lake Champlain, and Atlantic Ocean/Long Island Sound basins in May at the following locations: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, Broome Co. (May 10); Gilbert Lake State Park, Otsego Co. (May 11); Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Suffolk Co. (May 17); Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Suffolk Co. (May 18); Dwyer Memorial Park, Cortland Co. (May 23); SUNY Plattsburgh in partnership with the Lake Champlain Research Institute, Clinton Co. (May 30); Willsboro Visitor Center, Essex Co. (May 31).

For more information or to register for a training session, contact the WAVE Coordinator.

Fix a Leak Week - March 20-26, 2017

More than 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted in U.S. homes each year from easy-to-fix leaks. That is more than 10,000 gallons per year for the average home. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense® program is sponsoring Fix a Leak Week to highlight the problem of wasted water in homes across the country. As a WaterSense® partner, DEC is promoting Fix a Leak Week in New York. We encourage you to improve the water efficiency of your home by finding and fixing leaks. Visit DEC's Saving Water Makes Good Sense webpage for water saving tips.

New "Devil Ducks" Video Reminds New Yorkers to Use Zero Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer

A new video has been posted to DEC's YouTube channel reminding New Yorkers to "Look for the Zero" - a direct link for more information is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page. Before buying lawn fertilizer, check the bag for a set of three numbers showing the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Buy a bag with a "0" in the middle to protect our waters from harmful runoff.

Remember - it is also against NYS law to apply lawn fertilizer before April 1. Visit DEC's Lawn Fertilizer webpage for more information.

First Ever WAVE Workshop - April 6, 2017

Registration is now open for the first ever Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) workshop, which will be held at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford, NY on April 6 from 9-4. A link to register is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page. This workshop is open to the public and will cover topics related to analyzing sampling results, developing or modifying study plans, implementing best management practices to improve water quality conditions, communicating sampling results to community leaders, and watershed planning.

US Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Accepting Proposals

Proposals for the US Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding are due April 13, 2017 - a direct link for more information is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page. An estimated $3 million are anticipated through an interagency agreement with the EPA to award competitive grants to: mitigate emerald ash borer (EAB) impacts; reduce runoff from degraded sites through green infrastructure; and enhance coastal wetland filtration.

Public Comment Period for Updated Water Withdrawal TOGS 3.2.1

DEC has updated and released for public comment its Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) document 3.2.1, now titled "Processing Water Withdrawal Permit Applications." This document provides procedures for DEC staff to follow when reviewing water withdrawal permit applications, and reflects the 2012 changes to DEC's water withdrawal permitting and registration authority.

Comments are due by close of business on March 31, 2017. For more information and how to comment, view the March 1 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

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

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

2016 WAVE Data Now Online

Data from the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) 2016 sampling season is now available online in an interactive Google map (this link will redirect your browser to Google Maps). The map also includes data collected since 2012. In addition to DEC use of the data to update the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List, many volunteer groups use WAVE data to highlight and preserve valuable local resources and to improve impaired streams.

Drought Watch Continues

Although conditions have significantly improved, all of New York State remains under a drought watch.

Continue to do your part by checking for and repairing household leaks and taking other steps to conserve water. Visit DEC's Saving Water Makes Good Sense webpage for tips.

Funding Opportunity for Riparian Buffer Protection and Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

DEC is accepting applications for funding through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program until April 14, 2017. This grant is intended to provide funding to land trusts, municipalities and soil and water conservation districts so they can acquire conservation easements or purchase land in riparian areas and restore riparian buffer vegetation for the purpose of reducing nutrient pollution.

Applications must be submitted through the Grants Gateway - a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page. Log on and search for "Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program".

Request for Applications for Environmental Excellence Awards

DEC is accepting applications for the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards program. The awards program recognizes businesses, institutions, governments, and organizations for outstanding, innovative, and sustainable projects or programs that are contributing to a healthier environment and economy. Applications are due by April 14, 2017.

Proposed Updates to Streamline Environmental Quality Reviews - Comment Period

DEC has released for public comment proposed amendments to State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations. The changes will streamline and strengthen the State's environmental review process by: expanding the actions not subject to further review, known as Type II actions; modifying certain thresholds for actions deemed more likely to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS); making scoping of an EIS mandatory rather than optional; and making the acceptance procedures for a draft EIS more consistent.

For more information, including how to comment, view the February 8 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Pharmacies can apply for Pharmaceutical Take-Back Pilot Program

DEC has announced a new Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program that promotes the proper disposal of unwanted medication. Pharmacies can apply to participate in this pilot program, which covers the costs of consumer drug collection boxes and disposal for two years.

Unused medication that is not safely disposed of can reach bodies of water and adversely affect aquatic life. There are also real concerns about unused pharmaceuticals getting into the wrong hands: prescription drug abuse has become epidemic in NYS. Providing a safe, convenient and effective way to dispose of unwanted pharmaceuticals can greatly curtail this public health and safety crisis.

For more information about the program and to apply on-line, pharmacies are encouraged to visit DEC's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-back Program webpage. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2017.

Resiliency Planning Grants Available from DOS

The NYS Department of State (DOS) is seeking applications for the Countywide Resiliency Planning Grant Program for the development of Countywide Resiliency Plans that primarily address climate change risks and vulnerabilities associated with: an increase in frequency and severity of storm and precipitation events; sea-level rise; storm surge; and flooding. The grant is available to upstate counties in New York that were not previously covered by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. For more information, see the Request for Applications (a link is available in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website"). Applications are due March 29, 2017.

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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