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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.

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.

Webinar

A DEC webinar on Tuesday, February 28, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. will provide details about the awards program and how to submit a competitive application (registration required - a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page).

Drought Watch in Effect - Conserve Water

All of New York State remains under a drought watch. Do your part to save water.

Snow may be on the ground but spring is just around the corner and it's the perfect time to plan your upcoming water efficient landscape. Check out the WaterSense Water-Smart Landscape Design page for tips (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page).

For more tips on conserving water visit DEC's Saving Water Makes Good Sense webpage.

Reminder: Deadline for 2017 N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Applications

The application deadline is nearing for the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship. In honor of the former Director of the Division of Water, $1,000 to $3,000 in scholarships is available to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental/civil engineering or environmental science concentrating on water quality who show a commitment to government service.

N.G. Kaul was a highly respected engineer, an immigrant from India who fulfilled the American dream of opportunity realized. He had a distinguished career in public service, first with New York City and then with the New York State DEC, rising to the position of Director of the Division of Water in 1992. That service was capped, upon his retirement in 2002, by his appointment as Director of the USEPA effort to implement the dredging of PCB-polluted sediments in the Hudson River. He died in February of 2004 after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.

Scholarship Applications are available on the NYWEA Scholarship website (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page). Applications must be submitted no later than February 28, 2017.

New Sea-Level Rise Projection Regulation for New York

DEC announced that New York State has adopted official sea-level rise projections that will help state agencies and coastal communities better plan for the impacts of a changing climate. These projections will guide future planning efforts and must be considered by applicants for certain permit and funding programs, but they will not have any impact on federal flood insurance rates or independently create any new design standards or permit requirements. For more information, view DEC's February 6 press release.

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.

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:

Current WI/PWL assessments updates are focused on waters in the Delaware River and Saint Lawrence River Basins, as well as concluding updates for New York City area waters. These updates are underway and expected to be released in the upcoming months.

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

Hudson River Estuary Program Grants for Tributary Restoration and Resiliency

DEC has announced the availability of $1,000,000 in competitive Hudson River Estuary Grants to help communities in the Hudson River estuary watershed remove dams or replace or right-size culverts and bridges to improve stream flow and to restore aquatic habitat connectivity for American eel and/or river herring found in tributary streams of the estuary. Engineering and planning projects for removal of dams affecting eel or herring migration anywhere in the estuary watershed are also eligible for funding.

Visit the Hudson River Estuary Program Grants webpage for more details. All applications 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).

Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants Available - Deadline Extended

Governor Cuomo announced that $3 million in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants is available to mitigate environmental and public health threats in low-income and minority communities. Past projects awarded include water/air quality monitoring and green infrastructure installation. Applications are now due February 28 at 3:00 PM. For more information, view the Governor's press release (link in right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website").

CAFO Permits Renewed

DEC announced the renewal of two general permits for technical programs designed to reduce the potential for water pollution on large livestock farms. The permits, developed with input from the agricultural and environmental communities, provide new requirements for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to ensure proper management of nutrients while increasing water quality protection. These new permits provide farmers with a better understanding of permit terms and conditions to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.

For more information, view DEC's January 25 press release.

Water Week in 2017 Announced

New York's annual Water Week celebration will be May 1 - 5 this year and the theme is "Nonpoint Source Pollution". Thirty years ago, Section 319 of the Clean Water Act was enacted, requiring states to take an active role in the control of nonpoint source pollution. To highlight the importance of this amendment to the health of New York's waters, MakingWaves will feature nonpoint source related news and information throughout 2017, and especially during Water Week.

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, plan to celebrate Water Week with us and help reduce nonpoint source pollution! To get started, learn more about DEC's Nonpoint Source Program and find ideas to help reduce nonpoint source pollution on DEC's Watershed Stewardship and Keep Water Clean webpages.

Final Ocean Action Plan Released

DEC announced the release of the State's final Ocean Action Plan, the first-ever comprehensive 10-year blueprint to guide the protection and conservation of New York's ocean resources from environmental threats, such as ocean acidification due to climate change. The plan was developed with input from a variety of state agencies, as well as ocean-related advocacy and industry organizations.

For more information, view DEC's January 23 press release.

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.

NY Sea Grant Inviting Research Pre-Proposals

NY Sea Grant is now accepting research pre-proposals for its 2018-2019 Biennial Research Call. The main goal of New York Sea Grant's research program is to generate and provide valid scientific information to further the sustainable development, use, protection, conservation, and management of coastal resources. For more information and to apply visit New York Sea Grant's Funding Opportunities webpage (a link is available in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website"). Pre-proposals are due by 4:30 PM on February 27, 2017.

Availability of Grants for Great Lakes Basin Projects Announced

Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership consisting of federal agencies and environmental organizations, has announced that up to $7.8 million in grants is available for stream habitat improvements, coastal wetland habitat improvements, and green infrastructure projects in the Great Lakes basin. The Request for Proposals and details about the grant program can be found on the Sustain Our Great Lakes website (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page). Full proposals are due by February 21, 2017 (the pre-proposal stage from previous years has been eliminated for 2017).

A webinar about this funding opportunity will be held on January 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM. A registration link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

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.

Final Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations Announced Resiliency Planning Grants Available from DOS

NY Sea Grant is now accepting research pre-proposals for its 2018-2019 Biennial Research Call. The main goal of New York Sea Grant's research program is to generate and provide valid scientific information to further the sustainable development, use, protection, conservation, and management of coastal resources. For more information and to apply visit New York Sea Grant's Funding Opportunities webpage (a link is available in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website"). Pre-proposals are due by 4:30 PM on February 27, 2017.


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