Today New York has more forest than it has had in the past 150 years. New York's forests serve as an important economic and recreational resource. Preserving and protecting our forests benefits local communities and industries, and the state as a whole.
Nearly 3 million acres are classified as Forest Preserve. Comprised of 2.6 million acres in the Adirondack Forest Preserve and 286,000 acres within the Catskill Forest Preserve, these lands represent a majority of all state owned property within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) manages more than 770,000 acres of State Forests, which include Reforestation Areas, Multiple-Use Areas, Unique Areas and State Nature and Historic Preserves, throughout New York State.
Additionally, the Department also manages nearly 902,000 acres of conservation easements lands across New York State. More than 785,000 acres (86%) of these lands are located within the Adirondacks.
New York State is divided into 17 watersheds
New York State's watersheds, or drainage basins, are the basis for management, monitoring, and assessment activities.
Everyone lives in a watershed. It might be large or small. All watersheds are part of the bigger environment. What you do at your house affects everyone downstream and around you.
Lakes and Rivers
New York State is richly endowed with freshwater lakes, ponds and reservoirs, as well as portions of two of the five Great Lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
These inland water bodies serve as the drinking water supplies, provide flood control to protect life and property, and support recreation, tourism, agriculture, fishing, power generation, and manufacturing. These water bodies also provide habitat for aquatic plant and animal life.
Learn about the programs that manage lakes and rivers.
Find information about:
- Lake Monitoring Programs - Lake Classification and Inventory Survey (LCI) & Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP)
- River and Stream Monitoring Programs - Rotating Integrated Basin Studies (RIBS), Stream Biomonitoring, and Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE)
- Water Recreation - Boating; Fishing; Submerged Heritage Preserves (SCUBA diving areas)
- Groundwater - facts; Primary and Principal Aquifers
An estuary is a place where salty water from the ocean mixes with fresh water from the land and creates a unique and special place for marine species to live, feed, and reproduce. New York's Marine District has several estuaries which are managed cooperatively by DEC with other state, local, and federal government agencies, the scientific community, and direct input from private citizens.