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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.

Hudson River Estuary Program Grants for Tributary Restoration and Resiliency

DEC has announced the availability of $630,000 in competitive Hudson River Estuary Grants to help communities in the Hudson River estuary watershed replace or right-size culverts and bridges or remove dams to better cope with flood events, protect water quality, and restore aquatic habitat connectivity for migratory fish and other species of concern in tributary streams of the estuary. To be eligible for this funding, projects must conserve and restore aquatic habitat connectivity for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) found in the tributary streams of the Hudson River estuary watershed.

How to Apply:

Visit the Hudson River Estuary Program's website for more details. All applications must be submitted in the Grants Gateway by 3:00 PM on November 13, 2015.

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

Updates of water quality assessment information for individual WI/PWL waterbodies are announced through MakingWaves. 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 Hackensack-Passaic (Ramapo) River Basin.

List of USGS Streamgages Now Available on DEC's Website

DEC has made available on its website a list of the currently-operating streamgages on New York waters. The list includes the name of the organization providing the funding for the US Geological Survey's (USGS) operation of each gage. DEC works with the USGS and a number of other partners to maintain a network of streamgages across the state. The DEC uses streamflow data collected from these streamgages to conduct a number of programs and activities including: operating NYSDEC flood control facilities; maintaining flood forecasting and drought warning capabilities; and supporting water quantity and water quality management programs.

For more information about the USGS streamgages and the importance of these gages to the Division of Water's water quality and quantity programs, go to DEC's website.

Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices has been posted today, October 2, on the DEC Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage.

This week, five waterbodies were added to the notification list, and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 127 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.

Drug Enforcement Administration to Collect Prescription Drugs

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, September 26, 2015 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. 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).

More about drugs in New York's waters

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

In the past, flushing was considered the best way to dispose of unwanted medication. Because of increased awareness of the potential effects of medications on aquatic life, collections are now considered the best way to dispose of unwanted household drugs. If a collection is not available or convenient, drugs can be placed in household trash. For more information, visit the drug disposal Information for Households webpage.

Reminder: Look for the "0" When Buying Lawn Fertilizer

a photo of Loon Lake at sunset
Loon Lake at sunset

If you plan to fertilize your lawn this fall, remember that New York has a state law that restricts the use of lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorus. Before buying, check the fertilizer bag for a set of three numbers showing the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Buy a bag with a "0" in the middle, indicating that there is no phosphorus in that product. The law does not apply to agricultural fertilizer or fertilizer for gardens.

Retailers that sell lawn fertilizers are also reminded that they must display phosphorus fertilizers separately from phosphorus-free fertilizers and to display an educational sign for customers.

Learn about other requirements of the Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law. Check local laws, too! Some municipalities have stricter laws about selling and using lawn fertilizers.

Phosphorus Can Cause Serious Problems

Excess phosphorus in freshwater lakes and ponds can cause algae overgrowth, with serious impacts to the environment and public health.

DEC Posts Draft Modification of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit

On September 16, DEC announced the draft modification of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit (GP), GP-0-15-003, for public review and comment. The proposed modification requires additional reporting for MS4s discharging to waterbodies with an approved Total Maximum Daily Load allocation (TMDL). Proposed reporting forms specific to these waterbodies have been created to reflect the proposed permit requirements.

Copies of the proposed modification, reporting forms and fact sheet, which includes a list of MS4s subject to the changes, are available on NYSDECs website. Comments will be accepted until October 16, 2016.

Upgrades to Surface Waters Classifications in the Lake Champlain Drainage Basin to be Proposed

DEC is drafting a proposal to upgrade the classifications of certain surface waters in the Lake Champlain drainage basin (6NYCRR Part 830). These reclassifications are necessary to meet federal Clean Water Act (CWA) goals for water quality and will result in higher classifications (and thus more stringent water quality standards) for some waters.

All surface waters in New York are classified in Department regulations according to their "best uses" (e.g., fishing, swimming, source of drinking water). In the forthcoming proposal, some Class D waterbodies, which are classified to provide protection for "fish survival," will be upgraded to higher classifications that will add protection for "fish propagation," consistent with the "fishable" goal of the federal Clean Water Act. Some waters would also receive protection for trout or trout spawning.

More about the reclassification

More information about the best use classification changes in the Lake Champlain basin is on the DEC Reclassification of Lake Champlain & St. Lawrence River Drainage Basins webpage. This page includes an approximate schedule for the reclassification process.

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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