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Water Quality Monitoring

DEC monitors the waters of the state to allow for the determination of the overall quality of waters, trends in water quality, and identification of water quality problems and issues. This monitoring effort is coordinated through the Rotating Integrated Basin Studies (RIBS) Program.

Click the image to access the current sampling map (leaves DEC website).

Rotating Integrated Basin Studies (RIBS)

RIBS monitoring is conducted in 3 to 4 of the state's 17 major drainage basins each year, resulting in data available statewide over a 5-year cycle. Specific component monitoring programs include Stream and River monitoring, Lake Classification and Inventory (LCI), Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP), and groundwater monitoring.

Stream and River Monitoring

The DEC Stream Biomonitoring Program uses resident benthic macroinvertebrate communities as indicators of water quality in rivers and streams. This program was begun in 1972, and has been instrumental in identifying statewide water quality trends over time. Additional data collected through the RIBS program include water column, sediment, and organism tissue chemistry and toxicity testing. Further, data utilized in the RIBS program includes biological monitoring data from the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) program.

Lake Assessments (CSLAP, LCI)

Lakes, ponds, and reservoirs are monitored in two programs. Lake Classification and Inventory (LCI) is conducted by DEC staff, and follows the 5-year rotating basin schedule of the RIBS program. The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) is directed by DEC staff, but is run by volunteers from individual lake associations.

Groundwater Sampling Program

The groundwater sampling program conducts yearly comprehensive sampling and analysis of groundwater including field and physical parameters, bacteria, nutrients, inorganics, organics (including pesticides and VOCs), and radiochemicals. The program parallels the five year rotating RIBS program schedule by concentrating on approximately 1/5 of the state each year. Sampling is conducted by USGS using both public and private wells. Sampling results and data reports are available for each major basin through USGS online.

Water Quality Monitoring Data Access

Use the Division of Water Monitoring Data Portal (leaves DEC website) to access current and historical stream and lake monitoring data in an easy to use map. Detailed user instructions and a list of available data are provided on the info panel that appears when opening the web app.


More about Water Quality Monitoring:

  • Contact for this Page
    Bureau of Water Assessment and Management
    Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3502
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