New York State has more than 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds and reservoirs that are used for recreation and supply water to homes, industries and farms.
DEC conducts water quality sampling and evaluates these waterbodies primarily through two monitoring programs: Lake Classification and Inventory (LCI) and Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP). Monitoring data collected through these programs is used to plan, develop and manage lake resources.
LCI data supports many DEC programs and activities
The LCI Monitoring Program collects data that support water quality assessments and management activities within DEC, including:
- Updating the Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbody List, a compilation of water quality information for all waters in the state.
- Identifying water bodies not meeting their designated uses, for inclusion on the New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters, a Federal Clean Water Act mandated listing of the state's water that are not meeting applicable water quality standards.
- Preparing the New York State 305(b) Water Quality Report, a comprehensive assessment of statewide water quality.
- Identifying waterbodies that would benefit from more intensive water quality surveys and investigation as well as other special water quality monitoring projects.
- Supporting the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plans, and evaluation of effectiveness of TMDL implementation.
- Supporting the development of nutrient criteria within New York State.
- Assisting other Divisions within DEC to make water quality related management decisions.
- Expanding the inventory of waterbodies infested with aquatic invasive species (AIS).
- Aiding in the identification of, documentation, and response to Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).
LCI data is available
Data collected through the LCI and other Division of Water monitoring programs are available to the public through the Water Quality Portal (find the link in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website"). The Water Quality Portal is a user friendly website that allows anyone to search for and download water quality data that has been made publicly available from New York State DEC and similar agencies in other states, as well as from federal agencies, interstate commissions, volunteer monitoring groups and universities. The portal is cooperatively operated by United States Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council.
LCI data can also be accessed directly from US EPA's STORET Data Warehouse (see right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website").
For other lake reports and assessments visit the Water Reports by County webpage.
What water quality parameters are collected by the LCI?
DEC adheres to the procedures outlined in the Standard Operating Procedure: Collection of Lake Water Quality Samples (PDF) and the Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) for the LCI Lake Monitoring Program (PDF) to ensure uniformity of methods and data accuracy. The following is a list of the information that is collected at the lake and collected from lake water sample in the lab.
- Field parameters collected at 1 meter intervals within the water column
- Dissolved Oxygen
- Specific Conductance
- Chlorophyll A
- Oxygen Reduction Potential (ORP)
- Laboratory parameters collected at the surface of all sampled lakes and from the bottom of thermally stratified lakes
- Chlorophyll a
- True color
- Organic carbon
- Other indicators collected at a subset of all sampled lakes
- Water Clarity
- Aquatic plant community assessment
- User perception survey
- HABs indicators (algae, microscopy, toxins)
- Sediment cores (diatom community assessment)
- Benthic macroinvertebrate