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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.

Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced approximately $4.5 million in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant funding is available to support communities across New York that are disproportionately impacted by pollution and toxins. Funded projects include targeted research, community gardens, tree plantings, education and curriculum development, urban farming training, habitat restoration, as well as water and air quality monitoring. Applications are due July 9, 2018 through the Grants Gateway (an offsite link to the Grants Gateway is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page).

Great Lakes Action Agenda Workgroup Meetings

DEC will be hosting a series of meetings for Great Lakes stakeholders to discuss advancing projects and initiatives to achieve the goals of New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda.

  • Lake Erie Work Group - May 2, 1:00 PM - 4:15 PM - Lackawanna Public Library, 560 Ridge Rd, Lackawanna, NY 14218
  • SW Lake Ontario Work Group - May 3, 9:00 AM - 12:15 PM - Tinker Nature Park, Hansen Nature Center, 1525 Calkins Rd, Pittsford, NY 14534
  • NE Lake Ontario Work Group - May 8, 1:00 PM - 4:15 PM - Redwood Hill Preserve Trailside Learning Center, 44379 Stine Road, Redwood, NY 13679
  • SE Lake Ontario Work Group - May 9, 10:00 AM - 1:30 PM - Fair Haven State Park, Sabin Hall, 14985 State Park Rd, Sterling, NY 13156

All NYS Great Lakes stakeholders are invited to participate -- including environmental orgs, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, local government, individuals and other diverse stakeholder groups (business, health, recreation, planning, etc).

Please RSVP to at least one week in advance of the meeting you plan to attend.

2018 Hudson River Symposium

The Hudson River Environmental Society will hold the 2018 Hudson River Symposium on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at the State University at New Paltz. This year's focus is: Contaminants in the Hudson River and Watershed: A Look at the Status, Trends and the Response of Natural Resources. The registration deadline is April 27. A link to the Hudson River Environmental Society's webpage with more information about the symposium, and a registration link, are in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page.

New Coastal Permits Brochure for Homeowners Available

DEC has posted a new brochure to its website entitled "Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas (CEHA) and the Coastal Erosion Management (CEM) Permit Program: A Guide for Homeowners" (PDF, 1 MB). This new brochure provides information about permits that may be needed for certain regulated activities by those with coastal property. To learn more about CEHA and CEM permits, visit DEC's Coastal Management webpage.

Public Meeting Scheduled to Present Draft "Whole River" Action Agenda for the Mohawk River Watershed

DEC is a holding public meeting to present the draft Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda (2018-2022), a plan for implementing the shared vision of a swimmable, fishable, and resilient Mohawk River watershed:

  • April 24, 2018, 6:00 - 7:30 PM, Peebles Island Visitor's Center, 1 Delaware Avenue North, Cohoes, NY

RSVPs are appreciated, but not required. To RSVP, or comment on the draft agenda, email

US Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Accepting Proposals

An estimated $3.7 million in US Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding is anticipated for tree planting projects to protect water quality in the Great Lakes Basin (an offsite link with more information is available in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page). The grants will be competitively awarded to the best proposals received in the following program areas: reduce runoff from degraded sites through green infrastructure; enhance coastal wetland filtration; and mitigate emerald ash borer impacts. Proposals are due May 11, 2018.

New Clear Waters Column Now Available

A column about Onondaga Lake written by DEC Deputy Commissioner for Water Resources James Tierney is now available on the Columns by DEC Staff Appearing in Clear Waters webpage. The column discusses Onondaga County's award winning Save the Rain Program, which is among the collaborative efforts that have helped to vastly improve Onondaga Lake's water quality. This column was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of the New York Water Environment Association's (NYWEA) quarterly Clear Waters magazine.

Statewide Riparian Opportunity Assessment Tool Available

DEC and the New York Natural Heritage Program have announced the release of the Statewide Riparian Opportunity Assessment, which provides a suite of tools to help identify and prioritize riparian (stream side) sites for restoration or protection (an offsite link to the tool is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page). Conservation practitioners, watershed stakeholders and others can use the assessment to inform decisions about where to perform riparian restoration and protection in their regions, and to guide related conservation work such as land protection for drinking water sources and rare habitats.

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2017-2018 "Conserve and Protect Our Water" Poster Contest!

Since 2004, DEC and the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) have collaborated to organize the Conserve and Protect Our Water Poster Contest. As water professionals, we are all aware of the issues that arise in protecting our water quality and conserving that precious, clean water for years to come. This contest encourages middle school teachers to engage their students in learning about the importance of conserving and maintaining the health of our surface and ground waters. Teachers then encourage their students to create their own original artwork demonstrating what they have learned.

This year, we received 873 posters from students in 44 public and private middle schools across New York State. The 14 winning posters will be featured in DEC and NYWEA's 2019 Annual Calendar. Each winner will receive the calendar, an engraved plaque, reusable water bottle, their original framed artwork, and perhaps most importantly - an invitation from their local NYWEA chapter to attend a water-related event of the chapter's choosing. By introducing middle school students directly to local water professionals, we are all inspiring them to become partners with us in the future of water management.

The Top Winner from the 2017-2018 "Conserve and Protect Our Water" Poster Contest is Jessica Sam, an 8th Grade student at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Staten Island.

Look for the Zero Reminder: Use Only Phosphorus-Free Lawn Fertilizer

New York's nutrient runoff law prohibits the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizers unless a new lawn is being established or a soil test shows that the lawn does not have enough phosphorus. Regardless of the location, excess phosphorus from lawns can wash off and pollute lakes and streams, harming fish and ruining boating and swimming. More than 100 waterbodies in the state cannot be used or enjoyed as a result of too much phosphorus. For more information, visit DEC's Lawn Fertilizer webpage.

Advanced Notice of Proposed Permit for Discharges of Winery, Brewery and Hard Cidery Wastewater to Groundwater

DEC is soliciting stakeholder input regarding the potential issuance of a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) general permit that would provide coverage for wastewater discharges to groundwater from licensed wineries, breweries and hard cideries in New York State through an industry survey known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Permit (ANPP). The ANPP (PDF, 246 KB) is available on DEC's Public Review Documents webpage.

DEC will accept comments on the ANPP until May 31, 2018. Comments must be submitted in writing by mail or email to: NYSDEC, Division of Water, Bureau of Water Permits- Attn: Douglas Ashline, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3505 or

Mohawk River Flood and Ice Jam Study Announced

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed DEC to undertake a $500,000 flooding and ice jam study of the main-stem Mohawk River corridor. The study will analyze storm and ice-jam flood mitigation needs in high-risk areas and include recommendations to mitigate future flood and ice jam hazards. For more information, view Governor Cuomo's March 23 press release (an offsite link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page).

HAB Summit Recording

A recording of the live stream of the March 26 Western New York Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Summit evening session is available for viewing (a link to the recording is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page). This was the final of four summits held to guide the state's comprehensive effort to protect vulnerable lakes and waterbodies in Upstate New York from HABs.

Public Comments being Accepted on Proposed Rulemaking to Amend Water Quality Standards and the Classification of Upper and Lower New York Bay

DEC has announced a proposed rulemaking to amend Parts 700, 703, and 890 of Title 6 of the Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York (6 NYCRR) to adopt new standards for enterococci and E. coli to meet the requirements of federal law and to upgrade the classifications of certain surface waters in the New York Harbor.

Public comments on the proposed rulemaking will be accepted through June 12, 2018. Public Information Meetings will be held on May 1 and May 3, and Public Hearings will be held on June 5 and June 7. View the March 21, 2018 Environmental Notice Bulletin for instructions on how to comment and for more information about the meetings and hearings. The rulemaking documents are available on DEC's Proposed Regulations webpage.

New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grant Program Open

New York Sea Grant and DEC announced $200,000 is available for Great Lakes ecosystem-based management projects through the New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program. Application information is available on the New York Sea Grant website (a link is available in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page). Proposed projects must use a complete ecosystem-based approach rather than a single issue or single species focus, incorporate stakeholder participation, and address key priorities in the New York Great Lakes Action Agenda. Applications are due by 4:30 PM on May 1, 2018.

Tree Seedlings Available to Protect Water Quality

Among their many benefits, trees help protect our streams and lakes by stabilizing soil and using nutrients that would otherwise wash into waterways. Through May 9, DEC's Saratoga Tree Nursery has a large variety of low-cost, native tree shrubs and seedlings for sale to the public. Available species include trees and shrubs ideal for streamside restoration and buffers and a riparian species variety packet.

Schools across New York State are also eligible to receive free seedlings for spring planting through the DEC School Seedling Program. The program provides 50 tree seedlings or a mixed packet of 30 wildlife shrubs to any public or private school for planting on school grounds or other community spaces, and offer teachers a great resource to enhance environmental lessons.

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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