Water Resources Management

Federal Resources

The federal government offers a range of programs associated with the conservation and protection of water and natural resources. These programs offer a wealth of information on water quality, habitat inventories, soil information, and much more. Contact these federal agencies for both technical and financial assistance. The online Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance gives you access to a database of all federal programs available to State and local governments, domestic public, quasi-public, private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions, specialized groups, and individuals. You can search this database to find grant and funding opportunities meeting the requirements for your waterfront project. You can then contact the office that administers the program and find out how to apply. Also available on this site are several aids to guide you in the writing of a proposal to apply for assistance.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the source of a wealth of information relevant to water quality restoration and protection. The nation's coasts are managed by the coastal states and territories through the federal Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP). The CZMP is a federal-state partnership dedicated to comprehensive management of the nation's coastal resources, ensuring their protection for future generations while balancing competing national economic, cultural, and environmental interests. To carry out NOAA's responsibilities under the Coastal Zone Management Act, OCRM works directly with coastal states and territories to support the development of Coastal Management Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves, provide technical and financial assistance to coastal program and reserve operations, and promote coastal stewardship on a variety of critical coastal issues (see Regional Resources for more information of the Hudson Rivers National Estuarine Research Reserve). Such issues include: coastal habitat protection and restoration; coastal hazards; public access to the shore for recreation; sustainable development of coastal communities, including urban waterfronts; and polluted runoff. In 1990, Congress established a new program requiring coastal states such as New York to prepare a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program to implement a series of management measures.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) protects environmental quality through a variety of air, water, pollution, and toxics and chemicals management programs, primarily through its Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. USEPA provides information on water quality programs and assistance with planning and managing watersheds, water quality, wetlands, and groundwater and surface water supplies and wastewater treatment. USEPA also administers the National Estuary Program, which includes three estuaries in New York: New York/New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program, Peconic Estuary Program, and the Long Island Sound Study, which are highlighted in Regional Resources.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) administers most of the nation's fish and wildlife management programs, including terrestrial and freshwater endangered species protection and migratory bird management. USFWS manages public lands and outdoor recreation as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. USFWS also offers several funding programs, including Coastal Wetland Conservation Grants and North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants.  The New York, Cortland field office can provide you with state and regional information.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) can provide you with information on stream flow, water quality, water quantity, maps, and application software. The USGS has real time data, surface water data, and ground water information. USGS also provides historic topographic maps which can be helpful when delineating your watershed. historical.maptech.com/index.cfm. The USGS New York office, in partnership with collaborating agencies, has conducted assessments of streams in several of New York’s physiographic regions to develop regional stream curves, which illustrate the relationship between watershed size, stream form, and discharge. These relationships will be useful in guiding future stream restoration activities. You can also find publications, including site specific investigations and circulars, which are useful in building understanding of watershed processes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture can provide assistance with rural development and help communities with natural resource concerns, such as erosion control, watershed protection, and forestry. The Forest Service (http://www.fs.fed.us ) and the Natural Resources Conservation Serviceare two agencies under the Natural Resources and Environment section of the USDA.