Watershed Planning

A watershed plan compiles information for a particular watershed delineation, defines targets, and sets priorities for next steps to achieve specific goals. Watershed planning is a collaborative process that requires buy-in and expertise from a variety of stakeholders.

The NYS Department of State (DOS) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s Guidebook on Watershed Plans provides a framework for watershed planning in New York State. Funding to create watershed plans is available for municipalities through the NYS DOS Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. These funds are available to municipalities along a coast, including the Hudson River estuary, or a Designated Inland Waterbody. The list of Coastal and Designated Inland Waterbodies is available here.

NYS DEC promotes Nine Element Watershed Plans, a type of watershed plan developed by the US EPA that quantifies pollutant loads or estimates the pollutant reductions needed to achieve water quality goals. More information about NYS DEC’s approach to Nine Element Watershed Plans is available here. Their Nine Element Watershed Plan Reviewer Guidance provides an outline of the information that needs to be included for NYS DEC to approve a Nine Element Watershed Plan.

NYS Department of Health (DOH) and NYS DEC have developed framework for watershed plans that protect drinking water sources. Their Framework for Creating a Drinking Water Source Protection Program Plan includes the process. More information about the Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2) is available here. DWSP2 is a four agency initiative co-led by NYS DEC and DOH, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Markets and DOS.

US EPA also has a Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect our Waters.

In April 2018, the Hudson River Watershed Alliance and NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program held a workshop on “Healthy Streams, Healthy Water: Introduction to Watershed Planning” at Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatburg, NY. PDF copies of the presentations shared at that workshop are available below for reference.


Introduction to Watershed Planning – Emily Vail, NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program

9 Element Watershed Plans – Ken Kosinski and Karen Stainbrook, NYS DEC

Implementing Projects with WQIP – Ken Kosinski and Karen Stainbrook, NYS DEC

Funding Watershed Plans & Implementation – Stephanie Wojtowicz, NYS DOS

Lessons Learned from Watershed Planning, with a focus on the Monhagen Brook – Kelly Morris, Orange County Planning Department

Case Study: Wappinger Creek Watershed Plan – Matt Alexander, Village of Wappingers Falls

Organized by the Hudson River Watershed Alliance and Hudson River Estuary Program. Sponsored by the Hudson River Estuary Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, in cooperation with NEIWPCC.

Additional Resources:

Strengthening and Supporting Watershed Groups in the Hudson River Watershed, Hudson River Watershed Alliance, December 2016