Water Resource Protection
Since its formation more than six decades ago, NEIWPCC has worked steadfastly to assist our member states in protecting, managing, and preserving their water resources. Through a multitude of efforts, the Commission has promoted coordination and collaboration between the states’ water resource agencies and other stakeholders, including federal agencies, academic institutions, and industry. Since 2008, these efforts have fallen under the umbrella of NEIWPCC’s newest division, Water Resource Protection, which encompasses the Commission’s work in a variety of arenas.
Some of the division’s most important work centers on nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, now the primary cause of water quality problems in the country. Our staff coordinates an NPS Workgroup comprised of NPS program managers from New England and New York, who meet regularly to talk through issues and explore opportunities for coordination and collaboration. Every year NEIWPCC’s Water Resource Protection staff also coordinate the Annual Nonpoint Source Conference, a multi-day gathering that brings together all those in New England and New York State involved in NPS management. This conference is critical to communication and information- sharing on NPS matters as well as to continue progress on controlling NPS pollution.
As part of the Commission’s efforts to mitigate stormwater pollution, our Water Resource Protection staff oversees NEIWPCC’s Stormwater Workgroup, which is comprised of state and EPA stormwater coordinators. The workgroup provides the ideal vehicle for participants to discuss the complexities of stormwater regulations and to exchange information about the development and implementation of permits and other requirements.
To help prevent contamination of our region’s sources of drinking water, NEIWPCC’s Water Resource Protection staff coordinates a Groundwater/Source Water Protection Workgroup, made up of state and EPA staff. The collaboration that takes place in this workgroup allows for a stronger and more productive working relationship between the states in our region as well as between the states and EPA, resulting in a greater likelihood of progress on the challenging issues in this arena.
NEIWPCC’s Water Resource Protection staff also work on an issue of rapidly growing concern in our member states – climate change. Threats posed by climate change to water resources in the Northeast are substantial, and our staff track all relevant developments to keep our member states apprised of the latest science and thinking on climate change. NEIWPCC’s extensive efforts include hosting a Climate Change Workgroup, which consists of staff from our seven states, EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA, and academia. We are also working with our member states to coordinate and enhance their storm resiliency approaches.
The Water Resource Protection staff also coordinates research activities across NEIWPCC’s programs. As water resource issues become increasingly challenging, scientific research can advance our understanding and promote innovative solutions in the region. NEIWPCC works to enhance our member states’ existing capabilities in the research arena with the goal of advancing and disseminating relevant water resources research in the Northeast. NEIWPCC remains committed to working with a Steering Committee of environmental research professionals to identify funding and partnership opportunities to move high-priority research needs forward, as well as ensure the distribution of reliable, unbiased findings.
The Water Resource Protection Division oversees our partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, through which NEIWPCC provides staff and funding to programs that work to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the Hudson River and its estuary.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program works to restore and protect Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed. All LCBP staff are NEIWPCC employees in our Water Resource Protection Division, and as financial administrator and program adviser to the LCBP we work cooperatively with many partners to coordinate and fund efforts that benefit the Lake Champlain basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources.
For more information, contact Susan Sullivan, NEIWPCC's deputy director and interim water resource protection division director.