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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.

Mohawk River Basin Program Partners with Schoharie River Center for Environmental Education Programs

The Mohawk River Basin Program has partnered with the Schoharie River Center to expand its volunteer Environmental Study Teams' (EST) water quality monitoring efforts.

These teams will train middle and high school students to monitor water quality and conduct watershed analysis. Participants will collaborate with DEC's Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) program for the collection of water data from ten sites in the Mohawk basin.

Five-day ecology study adventure programs will be offered to introduce students to what the Environmental Study Teams will do. The first program was offered last week in Fort Plain (Montgomery County) and had 12 attendees, who are anticipated to comprise the first EST chapter in Fort Plain.

More information on the Environmental Study Teams, including how to register for the summer programs, can be found on the Schoharie River Center website. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Blue-Green Algal 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, July 25.

This week, 10 waterbodies were added to the notification list and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 140 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!

What causes blue-green algae blooms?

Blooms may be triggered by a combination of environmental conditions within a waterbody:

  • Excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen)
  • Hot, sunny weather
  • Low water or low flow conditions, calm water
  • Resuspension of nutrients from the lake bottom into the water
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.

Fillable SEQR Forms Available Online

Fillable PDF versions of State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF) are available on DEC's website.

The fillable forms will help applicants and agencies that review the form more easily identify environmentally sensitive areas within a project's boundaries. The forms are designed to work with the "EAF Mapper" software. The Mapper automatically fills in many of the location-based questions on the electronically fillable Short EAF or Full EAF, and returns the partially completed form to the applicant to finish.

Download the new forms and find more information on DEC's SEQR Act Forms webpage.

Reminder: State Law Limits Use of Lawn Fertilizers Containing Phosphorus

In a July 8 press release, DEC reminds New Yorkers of the state law that limits the use of lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus.

The Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law prohibits the use of phosphorus fertilizers unless a new lawn is being established or a soil test shows that the lawn does not have enough phosphorus. The law does not affect agricultural fertilizer or fertilizer for gardens.

The law also requires retailers to display phosphorus fertilizer separately from phosphorus-free fertilizer and post signs notifying customers of the terms of the law.

Visit DEC's Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law webpage for the full text of the law, Frequently Asked Questions, and a downloadable sign for retail display.

Less phosphorus used means less phosphorus in wastewater and stormwater runoff, which improves water quality, reduces water treatment costs, and provides better opportunities for recreational uses of New York's waterbodies.

DEC Email Migration

DEC changed to a new email system on July 14. All DEC email addresses have changed; however, email sent to the old email addresses is forwarded to the new mailboxes automatically. If you are unable to reach DEC via email during this transition period, please use DEC's Contact Us webpage to find a phone number for the appropriate program or regional office.

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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