New York's Great Lakes lands and waters, including Lake Erie, Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River, are a part of the Great Lakes ecosystem in the US and Canada which holds 21% of the world's freshwater resources, contains 250 different species of fish, and is recognized as a national treasure. These important land and water resources are vital to our quality of life, and a great asset to anyone who lives in or visits the area.
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News and Events
Great Lakes Report 2022 (PDF) now available.
- DEC's Great Lakes Program has launched the New York Great Lakes Shore Viewer, an interactive map that allows users to explore approximately 850 miles of New York's Great Lakes shorelines, including Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and many of the larger embayments. Routinely updated and publicly accessible coastal oblique imagery is intended to support state resilience programs, promote ecosystem-based shoreline management, and assist with shoreline change monitoring. Funding for this project was provided by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund.
- NY's Great Lakes Action Agenda Collaborator's Webinar Series is available online.
- DEC's Great Lakes Program has launched an online reporting tool (web browser: https://arcg.is/0r4Cue or mobile device: https://arcg.is/u195T), that anyone can to use to submit observations of accumulating algae, most commonly Cladophora, along the New York shorelines of Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the Niagara and Saint Lawrence Rivers.
How We Protect the Great Lakes
DEC's Great Lakes Watershed Program works to protect and restore water quality and ecosystem integrity in NY's portion of the Great Lakes and their lands and waters.
Guided by NY's Great Lakes Action Agenda, this program works with partners to:
- Improve environmental quality
- Conserve and restore natural resources
- Promote coastal and community resilience to climate change
- Coordinate science and adaptive management
- Provide research, education, and training
- Coordinate community engagement and stewardship
- Provide and identify grant funding (PDF)
NY's Great Lakes Action Agenda Goals
NY's Great Lakes Action Agenda is a plan to conserve, restore, protect, and enhance NY's Great Lakes lands and waters.
Achieving shared goals for the lands and waters requires partnerships with many state and federal agencies, universities, nonprofit organizations, and local communities. Ongoing efforts include:
- Working with federal and state agencies, Canadian partners, and organizations to meet binational (US and Canada) commitments and ecosystem objectives within Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and connecting channels under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
- Implementing Lakewide Action and Management Plans for Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
- Restoring Areas of Concern to protect public health, promote community revitalization and allow for the return of beneficial use and enjoyment of degraded water and land resources
- Promoting green infrastructure and research to reduce polluted stormwater runoff, revitalize communities, and enhance habitats
- Raising awareness of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and implementing management actions to reduce HABs throughout the Great Lakes
- Developing watershed plans, conducting water quality monitoring and implementing best management practices
- Enhancing fish and wildlife habitat and conservation along riparian areas (streambanks and riverbanks) using NY's Riparian Restoration Opportunity Assessment, and DEC's Trees for Tribs resources and funding
- Protecting water supplies under the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact
- Preventing and responding to aquatic invasive species
- Managing Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, Niagara River, and Lake Erie Fisheries with the DEC Great Lakes Fisheries Program
- Restoring and protecting the health and function of ecosystems and natural processes that benefit people, wildlife and water
- Encouraging natural and nature-based shoreline management techniques to enhance coastal resilience, water quality and aquatic habitat
- Promoting climate smart communities
- Supporting NY's Great Lakes Research Consortium research projects that advance our understanding of NY's Great Lakes and inform ecosystem- based management.
- Encouraging innovative problem solving through the Great Lakes Protection Fund
- Coordinating four regional Great Lakes Action Agenda (GLAA) work groups and a state agency level team to advance implementation of NY's GLAA
- Partnering with NY Sea Grant to provide a Great Lakes information clearinghouse and training for municipal officials focused on climate resiliency
- Engaging citizen scientists and stakeholders in water quality monitoring
NY's Great Lakes Ecosystem Education Exchange (GLEEE) provides teachers with training, curriculum and other resources to educate students on the Great Lakes and how they can be stewards of our watersheds.
- Funding and Grants (PDF)
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
- NY's Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program
- NY's Great Lakes small research grants program
- NY's Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council and NY's Great Lakes Protection Fund
- NY's Great Lakes Information Clearinghouse
- Watershed Planning Tools (PDF)