State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010NY136B
Title: Streamflow standards for streams of the Hudson River Valley and New York
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 22
Focus Categories: Drought, Water Supply
Principal Investigator: Bain, Mark
Federal Funds: $ 18,638
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 38,294
Abstract: Last year the water quality regulations of New York were amended to include a standard for streamflow protection. The standard is in narrative form (above) that does not specify limits on water withdrawals from the streams and rivers of the state. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), Division of Water is working now to better specify a streamflow standard for regulating water withdrawals. This is a difficult task and the outcome is likely to remain indeterminate so there can be flexibility in water use regulation. However, clear and quantitative environmental standards have been key to success of water quality improvement in the US. Two sets of numeric standards for water withdrawals have recently been suggested for NY. One was the oldest and first numeric standard for streamflow ('Tennant Method' [3]) produced more than three decades ago, and the other was the direct application of a US Fish and Wildlife Service policy recommendation [4] for New England.I propose to a recommend numeric streamflow standard for New York that will be technically sound, updated, and relevant for New York. I do not believe a standard will be officially adopted by the NYDEC. Rather it is likely to provoke debate on numeric standards and may be used in times of need such as has been done for the proposed Marcellus Shale gas development. Finally, the numeric standard will be applied to tributaries to the tidal Hudson River to serve as a benchmark for water planning in the valley.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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