Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List

The Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List (WI/PWL) is a compilation of water quality information for all individual waterbodies (lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and coastlines) in the state. The WI/PWL includes waterbody Fact Sheets outlining the most recent assessment of use support, identification of water quality problems and sources, and summary of activities to restore and protect each individual waterbody. More information about the WI/PWL and the assessment process is available on this page, below the links to the basin assessment reports.

Drainage Basins Assessment Reports

WI/PWL Fact Sheets and other assessment information are grouped by the 17 major drainage basins in New York State. For current water quality assessment information in specific regions of New York State, select a drainage basin of interest from the following list.


The Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List is a statewide inventory of the waters of New York State that NYSDEC uses to track support (or impairment) of water uses, overall assessment water quality, causes and sources of water quality impact/impairment, and the status of restoration, protection and other water quality activities and efforts. WI/PWL information is used to identify those water quality issues and specific waterbodies where efforts will have the greatest impact and benefit, objectively evaluate needs for project funding, monitor water quality improvement, and record and report changes over time. Additional information regarding the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List is available in the WI/PWL Fact Sheet (PDF, 670 KB).

The WI/PWL Review and Update Process

The review and update of the WI/PWL assessment information is a continuous process. Waterbody assessment Fact Sheets are updated as sampling results and/or other water quality information becomes available. Updates typically align with the DEC's five-year rotating basin schedule, however Fact Sheets may be revised more frequently if changes warrant a more timely update.

Future updates of assessment information for WI/PWL waterbody Fact Sheets will be announced through the NYSDEC Division of Water e-newsletter, Making Waves. To subscribe, visit DEC's homepage and enter your email address in the "Receive Email Updates and News from NYSDEC" box (lower left corner), then select Making Waves under the "Prevent and Control Pollution" heading and "Water" sub-heading.

Review of the water quality assessments and participation in the WI/PWL update process is open to the public. The public is welcome to comment via email on specific water quality assessments. However he most efficient and effective way to participate in the WI/PWL update process is through the state network of County Water Quality Coordinating Committees. For more information about how to participate, contact either Division of Water Program staff at your DEC Regional Office or the DEC Central Office in Albany.

Other WI/PWL Materials/Resources

Listed below are other materials and resources used in the WI/PWL review and update effort:

WI/PWL Worksheet (PDF) (350 KB) is used to capture and submit waterbody-specific information to be considered in the water quality assessments.

An Annotated Fact Sheet (PDF) (108 KB) explains the components of a WI/PWL Fact Sheet and is a helpful reference when completing the WI/PWL Worksheet.

An Assessment Methodology (PDF) (290 KB) that outlines what data is considered and how it is evaluated to provide a water quality assessment. The Assessment Methodology is also a helpful reference when completing the WI/PWL Worksheet.

WI/PWL Geographic Information Systems Coverage (leaving NYSDEC Website) that provides shapefiles depicting the location of each water quality assessment unit (i.e., waterbody segment) in the Waterbody Inventory, as well as the most recent water quality assessment information for the segment. Additional information about this GIS dataset, along with usage guidelines and restrictions can be found in the accompanying metadata. (ArcGIS users only)

Google Earth map of the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List that provides links to the Watershed Inventory and Segment Datasheets.

For additional information and answers to questions about the WI/PWL water quality assessments, please do not hesitate to contact us.