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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.

EPA Announces Grants for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Projects

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants to fund new projects to protect and restore native habitat and species, to prevent and control invasive species and to address other environmental problems in the Great Lakes basin. (The link to GLRI is in "links leaving DEC's website" in the right-hand column of this page). Up to $13.9 million will be available for grants to state, tribal, interstate and local governmental agencies, institutions of higher learning and other nonprofit organizations. Applications are due September 28.

A webinar explaining the grant application process will be held at 10:00 a.m. Central time on Thursday, August 13. The Request for Applications and information about applying for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants is available at (The link to GLRI RFA is in "links leaving DEC's website" in the right-hand column of this page).

Palmer Lake TMDL Approved

DEC has issued a final Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus in Palmer Lake (Putnam County).

Visit DEC's Clean Water Plans webpage to download a PDF version of the TMDL. Palmer Lake is listed under the "Small Lakes/Phosphorus" header near the bottom of the page.

The TMDL identifies deficient near-lake septic systems to be the primary source of excessive phosphorus loading to the lake and recommends connection of these properties to an existing wastewater treatment facility to address the water quality impairment.

Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices has been posted today, July 31, on DEC's Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage.

This week, 15 waterbodies were added to the notification list and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 180 waterbodies sampled in the last two to three 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, scums and discolored water -- If you see it, avoid it and report it!

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.

Notice of Extension of Comment Period for Modified MS4 Permit

NYSDEC has announced an extension of the public comment period for the advanced notice of proposed modifications to the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) (GP-0-15-003) until July 31, 2015. The proposed modifications are related to compliance schedules for municipalities that are subject to stormwater reduction requirements stated in a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

On July 15, 2015, corrections were made to GP-0-15-003. The comment period for the advanced notice of proposed permit modifications is being extended to allow additional time to entities potentially impacted by the corrections to fully consider and provide comments on the impacts of the proposed permit modifications outlined in the advanced notice.

How do I comment on the proposed modifications?

Visit the July 22 Environmental Notice Bulletin for information on submitting comments. Written comments or concerns on the proposed general permit must be submitted by close of business on July 31, 2015.

This advanced notice is being used to gather input from all stakeholders so that DEC can address any concerns with the substance of the modifications before issuing the draft modified permit in September.

Written comments or concerns on the proposed general permit must be submitted by close of business on July 31, 2015 to Stormwater_info@dec.ny.gov or the contact listed below.

David Follansbee
NYSDEC, Division of Water
625 Broadway - 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-3505

National Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Awards Program

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has announced a new national municipal stormwater and green infrastructure awards program. Developed through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the program aims to recognize high-performing regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) and inspire them to exceed requirements through innovative and cost-effective approaches. Participating MS4s can compare their programs with what is going on in the industry today relevant to innovative stormwater management. All participants will receive a certificate indicating their position as a gold, silver or bronze level within the industry. Winners for each category of the award program will receive their awards at WEF's Stormwater Congress this September.

How do I apply for the award?

Visit WEF's website for more details. (The link to WEF is in "links leaving DEC's website" in the right-hand column of this page.) The application deadline for Phase II MS4s is August 19 and the deadline for Phase I MS4s is August 26. (New York City is the only Phase I MS4 in New York.) The application must be completed in one sitting. Therefore, review the pdf version of the application on WEF's website and prepare responses in advance.

Biological Assessment of the Lower Esopus Creek

The Division of Water's Stream Biomonitoring Unit has completed a report on biological sampling of the Esopus Creek downstream of the Ashokan Reservoir, conducted in 2011. The report is available on the Lower Hudson River Watershed Reports webpage.

The purpose was to investigate the health of aquatic communities following sustained use of the Ashokan release channel, after heavy rainfall during the fall of 2010 led to prolonged releases of turbid water to the creek. Although macroinvertebrate communities indicate that aquatic life is fully supported in this area, habitat downstream of the junction with the release channel is altered due to on-going changes in depth, sediment deposition, and channel flow.

Biological Assessment of Wiscoy Creek

The Division of Water's Stream Biomonitoring Unit has completed a report on biological sampling of Wiscoy Creek that was conducted in 2014. The report is available on the Genesee River Watershed Reports webpage.

This survey provided baseline data for creek locations not previously sampled, and addressed angler concerns about low insect hatches on the stream. The biological assessment of the locations sampled indicate good water quality; the creek is fully supporting of aquatic life. The results of this survey are similar to historical data available for Wiscoy Creek. It is likely that concerns over reduced aquatic insect emergence result from natural variability in certain macroinvertebrate communities.

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

WI/PWL announcements are scheduled to be postedon the first Fri of each month, but July's update was delayed due to the July 4th holiday. Most recently, WI/PWL Fact Sheets for the following waterbodies have been revised/updated:

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

In addition the WI/PWL webpages are being modified to make it easier to find Fact Sheets for specific waterbodies of interest. These changes have now been completed for the Niagara River/Lake Erie Basin.

$50 Million for Local Drinking Water and Wastewater Improvements Grants is Available

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) have announced that $50 million in water infrastructure grants is now available for local governments for critical water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades. These grants are a result of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act that provides for a total of $200 million in grant funding over three fiscal years, with $50 million in the first year and $75 million each year for the last two years.

This year, $30 million will be available for wastewater infrastructure projects and $20 million will be available for drinking water projects. The program will be administered by EFC, DEC and DOH. Applicants seeking grant funding for wastewater projects are eligible to receive grants of either 25 percent of eligible project costs or $5 million, whichever is less.

Check out DEC's new "The Water's Great in New York State" bookmark!

Water recreation (swimming, boating, fishing) season is here! NYS has thousands of places to swim, fish, boat, paddle, but certain conditions can affect water quality. The new bookmark, on DEC's swimming webpage, is a quick and useful reference of what to look out for when on the water, what to do and how to avoid poor water quality.

Reminder: Application Deadline for Two Water Quality Grant Programs

Applications are being accepted until July 31, 2015 at 4 p.m. for the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grants program (EPG) and the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant program. These grant programs are included in the Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). Up to $35 million is available for WQIP and up to $2 million is available for the EPG grant. Download the "CFA Resource Manual" from NYS Regional Economic Development Council's website for program details about these two grant programs as well as a complete list of the grant programs being offered through the CFA.

NYS Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training

The NYSDEC Floodplain Management Section is offering training on floodplain management, FEMA levee mapping protocols and certification requirements, and the coastal erosion hazard area program. These free training sessions will be held throughout the state under a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant. They are designed for code enforcement and building officials, floodplain administrators, local elected officials, planners and engineers.

The full day floodplain management training will be offered in most of the state's counties. This training session will provide a detailed overview of FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program and review the community's role and responsibilities in administering this program on a local level. Half day training on FEMA's levee mapping requirements and techniques will be offered in areas of the state that have levees. Training on DEC's Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) program will be offered in Long Island, New York City and Great Lakes areas that have CEHA zones.

Please check the Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training webpage periodically to find out when these free training sessions will come to a county near you. If you need more specific information or have questions, please email Tim Avery at tavery@fisherassoc.com.

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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