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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.

Reminder: Cutoff Date for Fertilizing Lawns is December 1

If you plan to fertilize your lawn this fall, remember that it is against New York State law to fertilize lawns between December 1 and April 1. Some areas also have local laws about selling and using lawn fertilizers (e.g., Suffolk County prohibits the application of lawn fertilizers after November 1).

Visit DEC's Lawn Fertilizer webpage for more information. The law does not apply to agricultural fertilizer or fertilizer for gardens.

Choose a Lawn Fertilizer With No Phosphorus

Lawn fertilizer can have unnecessary phosphorus that runs into waterbodies. Excess phosphorus in freshwater lakes and ponds can cause algae overgrowth, with serious impacts to the environment and public health.

Winners Announced for Environmental Excellence Awards

DEC has recognized seven organizations for their state-of-the-art programs and commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability at the 14th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards celebration, held at Union College's Park Hall.

The 2017 winners are:
  • Bethlehem School District's Green Team (Albany County)
  • Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development's Stewardship of Aquatic Resources (Chautauqua County)
  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival Zero Waste Initiative (Westchester County)
  • NYS Department of Transportation Region 4 and Seneca Park Zoo Society's Pollinator Protection Project (Livingston County)
  • Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority's Go Green School Recycling Program (Oneida County)
  • Ulster County's Net Carbon Neutral Operations (Ulster County)

Request for Applications under the Water Resources Research Grant Program

The NYS Water Resources Institute and DEC Hudson River Estuary Program are currently accepting academic research proposals that contribute to better watershed and water resource management in New York State. These grants fund research, management, and outreach activities related to water resources and the Hudson River Estuary region. Approximately $100,000 in grant funds are potentially available, with up to $20,000 available per project. Small grants of up to $10,000 are also available intended to support undergraduate and graduate student research activities that will not carry cost-sharing responsibilities.

Applications are due November 27, 2017. For more information, visit the New York State Water Resources Institute website (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page).

Conserve and Protect Our Water Poster Contest

DEC and the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) are sponsoring a "Conserve and Protect Our Water" poster contest that is open to all middle school students (Grades 6-8). Fourteen winners have the honor of having their artwork in a calendar which will be distributed across New York State. The deadline for submitting posters is January 12, 2018. More information, including the poster contest announcement, is available on DEC's Conserve and Protect Our Water Poster Contest webpage.

Great Lakes Action Agenda Workgroup Meetings

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

  • Lake Erie Workgroup - November 28 in North Java, NY
  • SW Lake Ontario Workgroup - November 29 in North Chili, NY
  • NE Lake Ontario Workgroup - December 6 in Gouverneur, NY
  • SE Lake Ontario Workgroup - December 7 in Wolcott, NY

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

For meeting details and to RSVP, contact greatlakes@dec.ny.gov at least one week in advance of the meeting you plan to attend.

N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Applications

Applications are being accepted for the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship. In honor of the former Director of the Division of Water, up to $5,000 in scholarships is available to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental/civil engineering or environmental science concentrating on water quality who show a commitment to government service.

Scholarship Applications are available on the NYWEA Scholarship website (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page). Applications are due by February 28, 2018.

Harmful Algal Bloom (HABs) Notification Season Has Ended for 2017

HABs notices from 2017 have been summarized and moved to the HABs Archive webpage. DEC encourages the public to view the archive reports to be aware of waterbodies that were listed on the Notification webpage in the past.

Blooms May Still Occur in the Fall and Winter

HABs may occur on waterbodies throughout the year, although fewer blooms occur as water and air temperatures decrease. DEC recommends avoiding contact with floating mats, scums and discolored water at any time - If you see it, avoid it and report it!

Continue to Report Suspected Blooms

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

2017 Year End Summary

During the 2017 sampling season (May - October), over 160 waterbodies around the state were listed on the HABs Notifications webpage. Over 3,000 total samples and reports were collected by DEC and its partners. The HABs that were listed on the Notifications Page are summarized in the 2017 HABs Archive (PDF, 234 KB). An updated comprehensive summary since the DEC HABs Program began tracking blooms in 2012 is now available: 2012-2017 HABs Archive Summary (PDF, 288 KB).

In 2017, DEC documented 45 waterbodies with Suspicious Blooms, 85 waterbodies with Confirmed Blooms, and 35 waterbodies with Confirmed with High Toxins Blooms. These incidences ranged from a single observation to widespread blooms that were persistent throughout the season. The 2017 DEC Lakes Monitoring Program identified 117 waterbodies with HABs. Public reporting outside of monitoring programs identified 25 additional waterbodies with HABs.

The DEC Citizen Statewide Lake Assessment Program and the Lake Classification and Inventory Program contributed extensively to HABs reporting and sample collection in 2017. In addition, DEC partnerships with Department of Health, the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, SUNY ESF, SUNY Stony Brook, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, The Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, The Honeoye Watershed Task Force and other agencies were instrumental in documenting HABs in New York.

Amendments to Part 830 Adopted

Effective November 1, 2017, DEC adopted amendments to Part 830 of Title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York (NYCRR). These amendments upgraded the classification, description, and item numbers of certain waters in the Lake Champlain drainage basin. This rulemaking was necessary to meet the "fishable" goal of the federal Clean Water Act and to provide enhanced protection for trout waters.

The Assessment of Public Comment, text of the final rule and related documents are available on DEC's Adopted Amendments to 6 NYCRR Part 830 Lake Champlain Drainage Basin webpage, or by contacting Michelle Tompkins, NYS DEC - Division of Water, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3500 or at Part.830Reclass@dec.ny.gov or via telephone at 518-402-8179.

Resiliency Project to Reduce Nitrogen Pollution in LI Western Bays

On October 29, the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $354 million project to significantly improve the water quality of Long Island's Western Bays. Waste from the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant will be diverted-through an abandoned aqueduct under Sunrise Highway-to the existing Cedar Creek outfall, which diffuses treated sewage nearly three miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The project will prevent the discharge of 19 billion gallons of treated sewage into the warm, shallow Western Bays each year, eliminating harmful nitrogen pollution to jump start the rejuvenation of vital marshlands that protect communities from waves and storm surge. A direct link to the Governor's press release is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page.

New York ♥s Green Business

DEC has launched the New York Green Business (NYGB) program, which provides recognition and benefits to businesses and other entities that have a strong commitment to operating sustainably. Businesses that participate must have a good record of compliance, make future sustainability commitments, and communicate their sustainability commitment to their customers and employees.

Applications for the program are being accepted through December 15, so if you know of a business with a strong commitment to sustainability, let them know about the program to get the recognition they deserve! Applications and more information can be found on DEC's Becoming a NYGB Member webpage.

NYGB also makes it easy for consumers to know that the businesses they are patronizing are committed to protecting and conserving our shared environment. Just look for the logo!

For more information on NYGB contact nygb@dec.ny.gov.

Announcing the Updated All Impaired Waters List for 2016

A searchable, sortable spreadsheet of all impaired waters/pollutants for 2016 is now available. The 2016 All Impaired Waters List includes both Section 303(d) List waters, as well as Category 4a, 4b and 4c waters that are impaired but not included on the 2016 Section 303(d) List.

Webinar on FEMA's Community Rating System

The Association of State Floodplain Managers is offering a free webinar on the Community Rating System (CRS), a federal incentive program that provides flood insurance policyholders with discounts on their premiums in exchange for their community taking actions to reduce flood risk. The target audience for the webinar is floodplain managers, planners and local officials.

Registration is required (a links is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page). The session runs from 2:00 - 3:30 PM.

  • Nov. 27 - CRS Stormwater Management and Urban Flood Management Best Practices

Funding Available to Support Water Quality Projects on Farms

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $50 million in grant funding is available, over three consecutive application rounds, to help New York livestock farms implement water quality protection projects. The application period for the first $20 million is currently open and closes November 20, 2017.

County Soil and Water Conservation Districts can apply for the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Waste Storage and Transfer System Program on behalf of eligible farmers. The maximum award amount per proposal is $385,000, which includes funding for engineering and construction expenses. Grants will help CAFO-permitted farms offset the cost of water quality protection projects, such as manure storage construction, site preparation and associated best management practices. Direct links to the Governor's press release and the funding program webpage are in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section on the right side of this page.

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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