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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.

The Health of New York's Wetlands to be Assessed

NYSDEC Division of Water and the New York Natural Heritage Program of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry are partnering on a project to increase our knowledge about the health and overall condition of New York's freshwater wetlands. As part of the 2016 National Aquatic Resources Surveys National Wetlands Condition Assessment (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website"), Heritage Program staff will be collecting data on vegetation, soil, hydrology, water chemistry, and algae at selected locations across the state. This information will be used to assess wetland health in New York and will be added to EPA's national database to produce a summary of wetland condition nationwide.

Wetlands are a vital component of our nation's waters, providing a wide array of benefits that contribute to the overall health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems and people's well-being. May is American Wetlands Month; visit the EPA American Wetlands Month webpage (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website") for more information.

Harmful Algal Blooms Webpages Updated

DEC has updated its harmful algal blooms (HABs) webpages. The pages provide a general introduction to HABs, information on how to prevent exposure, a photo gallery of HABs, and details on what you should do if you see a bloom. Visit the DEC Harmful Algal Blooms webpage for more information.

Robbins Rest Coastline Resiliency Project Completed

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that contractors have completed the emergency repair of Robbins Rest on Fire Island to address coastal erosion and improve coastal resiliency in the area. Robbins Rest was damaged during Hurricane Joaquin in February. A recent coastal breach and threat of future coastal flooding prompted a significant joint state-federal effort.

For more information, including photos of the completed project, view the Governor's May 16 press release (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

Settlement Reached with Retailers over Nutrient Runoff Law Violations

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced separate settlements with The Home Depot, Inc. and Lowe's Home Centers, LLC over alleged violations of New York's Nutrient Runoff Law. The law requires stores to display lawn fertilizers containing phosphorous separately from those that are phosphorus-free, as well as to post signs that notify consumers about the legal restrictions on using phosphorus-containing lawn fertilizer.

Phosphorus going into the State's water has been linked to: reductions in oxygen in waterbodies necessary for fish to breathe; algae that turn water bodies green; and algae and algae by-products that degrade drinking water.

For more information, view the Attorney General's May 18 press release (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

DEC, NY Sea Grant Launch New York's Great Lakes Web Portal

NYSDEC and New York Sea Grant have launched the "New York's Great Lakes" website that will serve as an information clearinghouse and portal through which users can access specific resources related to grant funding, research projects, and the priorities of New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda. A direct link to the new site is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website."

Information categories on the website include: About NY's Great Lakes, Coastal Processes, Education, Energy, Fisheries, Funding Opportunities, Great Lakes Action Agenda, Great Lakes Communities, Invasive Species, Natural Ecosystem and Habitat, Recreation and Tourism, and Water Quality.

Spruce Up Your Sprinklers to Save Water

Did you know that one broken sprinkler can waste 25,000 gallons of water in just six months? To avoid issues like this, give your sprinkler a spruce up prior to the start of warmer weather and increased outdoor watering. Visit the EPA WaterSense Tips for Watering Wisely webpage for more information (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

May is American Wetlands Month

May is American Wetlands Month, a time when federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit and private sector organizations celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to ecological, economic and social health. Wetlands help improve water quality, increase water storage and supply, reduce flooding and provide critical habitat for plants, fish and wildlife. Visit the EPA American Wetlands Month webpage for more information (a direct link is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

Hudson River Estuary Program Grants Available

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced approximately $1,250,000 in competitive Hudson River Estuary Grants is available to implement priorities outlined in the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda aimed at conserving or improving clean water; fish, wildlife and their habitats; waterway access; the resiliency of communities; and river scenery. This funding is provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through two grant opportunities: Local Stewardship Planning, and River Access and Education.

The Local Stewardship Planning opportunity is focused on supporting local organizations and communities with projects for planning, feasibility studies, and/or design that build on training and technical assistance to improve local stewardship. Six project types are available under this opportunity.

The River Access and River Education opportunity will assist organizations and communities with improving river access and education. Seven project types are available under this opportunity. Proposed projects must provide or improve direct access to the tidal waters of the Hudson River Estuary or Upper New York Bay for boating, swimming, fishing, wildlife-related recreation, or to improve estuary-focused education.

For more information and to apply:

Visit the Hudson River Estuary Program's webpage for more details. All applications must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on June 30, 2016 (a direct link to the Grants Gateway is available on the right hand side of this page under "links leaving the DEC website").

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. This month the update effort has focused on assessments of those waterbodies considered for inclusion on the 2016 Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters.

The updated WI/PWL assessments (PDF, 936 KB) evaluated in conjunction with the 2016 Section 303(d) List includes waterbodies added to, delisted from, or remaining on the List, as well as waters that were considered for listing but are not included on the Proposed Final 2016 List.

Once the Proposed Final 2016 List is submitted, 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.

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.

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.

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:

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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