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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.

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices was posted on DEC's Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage on Friday, October 17.

This week, 2 waterbodies were added to the notification list and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 40 waterbodies sampled in the last two weeks by DEC monitoring programs, volunteers and public reports.

Because waterbodies may have blue-green algae blooms that have not been reported to DEC, we recommend avoiding contact with floating rafts, scum and discolored water. If you see it, avoid it and report it!

How long does a bloom last?

Depending on the weather and the characteristics of the lake, blue-green algae blooms may be short-lived, appearing and disappearing in hours, or long-lived, persisting for several weeks. They can also move throughout the depth of the lake and across the surface of the lake. It is difficult to predict how long a blue-green algae bloom will remain on a lake.

Blue-green algae blooms are most likely to occur between July and October, but have been reported in NYS as early as March and as late as November.

Report a suspected bloom

If you suspect you have seen a blue-green algae bloom, or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a blue-green algae bloom, please follow the instructions for reporting a bloom to DEC.

Twelfth Annual "Day in Life of Hudson River Estuary" on October 16

Nearly 4,000 students and teachers from New York City to Troy will become scientists for a day during A Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary on Thursday, October 16. Schools partner with environmental education centers to collect scientific data along the tidal Hudson and create a snapshot of the river at dozens of locations. Participants don waders and catch fish and invertebrates in nets, track the river's tides and currents, collect core samples of the river bottom for mud analysis, and examine water chemistry and quality.

This event is sponsored by DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and Cornell's NYS Water Resources Institute. It coincides with National Estuaries Day and World Water Monitoring Day.

Event details, including contact information, can also be found on DEC's A Day in the Life of the Hudson River webpage.

EPA Approves New York Nonpoint Source Management Program

EPA has approved DEC's 2014-2019 New York Nonpoint Source Management Program. EPA required all states to update their Nonpoint Source programs for EPA approval by September 2014. The goals of the Nonpoint Source Program are to control pollution from nonpoint sources to the waters of the state and to protect, maintain and restore waters of the state that are vulnerable to, or are impaired by, nonpoint source pollution. More information, including a PDF of the 2014 Program, is on DEC's Nonpoint Source Program webpage.

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Nonpoint source pollution comes from many sources and is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them in our waterways. Examples include: excess fertilizer and pesticides from agricultural lands and residential areas, and oil and grease from roads and parking lots.

EPA Approves TMDL for Acid Impaired Lakes in the Adirondack Park

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved DEC's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Acid Impaired Lakes in the Adirondack Park. Following a public comment period, DEC submitted the TMDL to EPA for review and approval. This TMDL addresses lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks impacted by atmospheric deposition of sulfate, which causes an increase in acidity.

How do I get a copy of the TMDL?

View the TMDL on the DEC TMDL webpage. Look for the "Adirondack Acid Rain/Waters/Acid Neutralizing Capacity" heading.

What Is a TMDL?

A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) specifies the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards.

Great Lakes Action Agenda Highlights 2012-2014 Now Available

The New York State Great Lakes Action Agenda Highlights 2012-2014 is now available for download from DEC's Great Lakes Action Agenda webpage.

DEC's Great Lakes Watershed Program reports bi-annually on the work of organizations across New York's Great Lakes Basin that apply an ecosystem based management approach towards implementing projects that meet one or more of the ten goals of the action agenda.

Applications Now Being Accepted for 2014 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda Grants

DEC is now accepting applications for the 2014 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda grants. $150,000 is available from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund for projects that implement the 2012-2016 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. The individual $5,000 - $10,000 grants are available to municipalities and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporations.

Applications are available online at the New York State Grants Gateway and must be submitted by November 21, 2014. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

More information is in DEC's September 23 press release about the grants.

Over $2 Million Awarded for Resiliency Projects in Hudson River Watershed

Governor Cuomo announced more than $2 million for research, outreach, and demonstration projects that will reduce flooding risks to communities along the Hudson River Estuary, as well as in the broader Hudson River watershed. These projects, funded by the Environmental Protection Fund, will help communities make better decisions about how to prepare and respond to flooding, and are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The Hudson River Climate Resiliency Project is a partnership among the Department of Environmental Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program, the New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University, Cornell University Department of Natural Resources, and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.

More information is in Governor Cuomo's September 24 press release. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Two New York State Projects Receive NFWF Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Grants

The Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District is the recipient of two grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund. The two grants, which total $380,505, will fund riparian buffers and natural infrastructure projects, such as wetlands designed to retain nutrients and sediment. The projects are within New York State's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and will help New York achieve its goals for Chesapeake Bay restoration.

New York's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of the Susquehanna River watershed and Chemung River watershed. Together these two watersheds form the northern headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay and cover some or all of 19 New York Counties.

The Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund is financed by the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grants Program and the Small Watershed Grants Program, and is a partnership with the Federal-State Chesapeake Bay Program.

More information is available in NFWF's September 23 press release. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

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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