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Lakes and Rivers

New York State has more than 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds and reservoirs, as well as portions of two of the five Great Lakes and over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. These waterbodies are drinking water supplies, provide flood control to protect life and property, and support recreation, tourism, agriculture, fishing, power generation, and manufacturing and provide habitat for aquatic plant and animal life.

Lakes and rivers are managed through programs that plan and manage activities to protect and restore water quality, including action agendas, partnerships, commissions, local actions and plans, reports and projects. These efforts vary in scope, with some programs encompassing entire or - in the case of the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay Programs - multiple drainage basins. Other programs are more locally focused on a smaller waterbody within a larger area.

Click on a watershed area to learn about its programs.

Peconic River Estuary South Shore Estuary Long Island Sound NY-NJ Estuary Delaware River Basin Commission EOH NYC Watershed WOH NYC Watershed Chesapeake Bay Watershed Mohawk River Watershed Hudson River Estuary Watershed Upper Hudson River Watershed Lake Champlain Watershed Great Lakes Watershed Onondaga Lake Watershed Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission

More about Lakes and Rivers:

  • Lake Champlain Watershed Program - New York's Lake Champlain Watershed Program
  • Lake George Beach Report - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the release of DEC's Lake George Beach Pollution Source Investigation Report on the closure of Million Dollar Beach and the adjacent area known as "Dog Beach" in August 2016 due to unsafe levels of bacterial contamination.
  • Clean Water Act Section 604(b) Water Quality Planning Grants - Information about funding available through section 604(b) of the Clean Water Act.
  • Cayuga Lake - Water Quality Management Activities in the Cayuga Lake Watershed
  • Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program - Information about New York's connection to the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and the Division of Water's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program.
  • Finger Lakes Watershed - Finger Lakes Watershed Program
  • Great Lakes - The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on the earth, and include lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. New York State borders Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
  • Mohawk River Watershed - Water quality management activities in Mohawk River Basin.
  • New York City Water Supply - Partnership to protect drinking water for New York City.
  • Onondaga Lake - This page has information about Onondaga Lake's history, pollution sources and cleanup efforts. A list of other DEC webpages with more detailed information about the lake is also included.
  • Owasco Lake - Water quality Management Activities in the Owasco Lake Watershed.
  • Reservoir Releases - DEC Part 670 Reservoir Releases Regulations (Schoharie Reservoir - Shandaken Tunnel - Esopus Creek), developed pursuant to Title 8 of article 15 of the Environmental Conservation law, were implemented in May 1977. The purpose of these regulations is to regulate the volume and rate of the flow of water from the Schoharie reservoir via the Shandaken tunnel into the Esopus creek to protect and enhance the recreational use of the waters in the creek while ensuring an adequate water supply for New York City.
  • Water Reports by County - Reports on waterbodies in New York organized by county
  • Hudson River - An introduction to a river with abundant and diverse natural resources.
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    Albany, NY 12233-4500
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