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.