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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.

New Regulations Seek to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species in New York State

DEC and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) issued final regulations to address damage caused by invasive species. Invasive species are harmful non-native species, including plants, insects, fish and mammals, that were imported or released - often accidently - from other areas of the world. Under the regulations, DEC and DAM created lists of prohibited and regulated species, and established measures to prevent their release in the state.

More information is available on DEC's Division of Lands and Forests regulations webpage and in DEC's August 27 Press Release.

DEC Proposes Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake No Discharge Zones

DEC has petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake as Vessel Waste No Discharge Zones. It is illegal for boaters to discharge on-board sewage into any waterbody designated as a No Discharge Zone.

New York's boaters have always been excellent stewards of our lakes and rivers, and the No Discharge Zone designation offers more protection by requiring disposal of sewage at designated pumpout facilities that are available to recreational boaters. With funding from EPA and the support of DEC's Division of Water, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission has collaborated with the NYS Department of State and the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation to prepare the petition to EPA requesting the No Discharge Zone designation.

More information, including an overview of No Discharge Zones in New York and a list of currently designated waterbodies, is available on DEC's No Discharge Zones webpage.

What happens next?

Upon agreement by EPA, a public comment period will be announced in the Federal Register.

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, August 29.

This week, 7 waterbodies were added to the notification list and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 149 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!

Why are some lakes more susceptible to blue-green algae blooms?

Some lakes may be more susceptible to blue-green algae blooms due to high nutrient levels or a lake's physical and land use characteristics. Excessive nutrients, particularly phosphorus, is probably the most important factor, but some lakes with relatively low nutrients still have blooms, and some lakes with high nutrient levels don't have blue-green algae blooms.

Preliminary results from studies conducted in NY and elsewhere suggest that lakes with the following characteristics may be more susceptible to blue-green algae blooms:

  • small, shallow lakes that frequently turn over (when nutrient rich water from the lake bottom mixes with the lake's surface water) during the summer
  • lakes with lower nitrogen to phosphorus ratios
  • lakes with zebra mussels

DEC continues to look at the characteristics of lakes with blue-green algae blooms to better understand what triggers blooms and to help find ways to minimize these blooms..

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.

Drug Enforcement Administration to Collect Prescription Drugs

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collections will be held at many locations around New York and are the best way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

How do I find a collection location near me?

Collection locations are posted on the DEA National Take Back Initiative webpage. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

In addition to the DEA collection on September 27, other collections are scheduled in many New York counties. Visit the DEC Household Drug Collection Schedule webpage to see if a collection is scheduled in your area.

More about drugs in New York's waters

For more information about drugs in our water, visit the DEC Drugs in New York's Waters webpage.

Acid Impaired Lakes in the Adirondack Park TMDL Public Comment Period

DEC has released a draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Acid Impaired Lakes in the Adirondack Park and will accept comments until close of business on September 12, 2014. The draft TMDL addresses 89 lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks.

How do I get a copy of the draft TMDL?

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

How do I comment on the draft TMDL?

Comments on the draft Acid Impaired Lakes TMDL may be submitted to the contact listed in the August 13, 2014 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Major Suffolk County Coastal Storm Resiliency Project to Proceed

Governor Cuomo announced on August 11 that DEC has signed legal agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Suffolk County, and authorized $68 million in State financing, as part of a coastal storm risk reduction project along Suffolk County's Atlantic Ocean Coast.

The project, due to begin in September, will include the construction of dunes and beaches in the 19-mile stretch between Fire Island Inlet and Moriches Inlet. Suffolk County will employ the State funding to acquire parcels and permanent easements on Fire Island to facilitate placement of the protective dunes. This money will be reimbursed to DEC by the Army Corps as the project is 100% federally funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (also know as the Sandy Relief Bill).

More information is in Governor Cuomo's August 11 press release. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

New HRECOS Monitoring Station on the Mohawk River

The Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) has added a new station at the Rexford Bridge on the Mohawk River in Schenectady that will offer real-time information about river conditions.

The new continuous monitoring station will benefit baseline modeling, science, and education in the Mohawk Valley, and will support work towards satisfying the overall water quality goals of the Mohawk River Basin Program Action Agenda. This station was established with collaborative efforts between DEC and the U.S. Geological Survey.


HRECOS is a network of real-time monitoring stations along the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. The stations are geographically distributed from Utica on the Mohawk, to the New York/New Jersey harbor at the mouth of the Hudson. HRECOS monitors river conditions every 15 minutes. Real-time data can be found on the HRECOS website. 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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