Priority Waterbodies List (PWL)

Periodically, the NYSDEC Division of Water publishes a list of surface waters that either cannot be fully used as a resource, or have problems that can damage their environmental integrity. This list – The Priority Waterbodies List (PWL) – is used as a base resource for Division of Water program management. The listing of the PWL includes individual waterbody data sheets describing the conditions, causes, and sources of water quality problems in a given basin. The conditions use a scale of increasing severity ranging from threatened to stresssed to impaired to precluded (see Figure 1.5.4.1.1). Users of the information contained in the PWL are reminded of the following special considerations:

The PWL is a reflection of priority waterbodies at a specific moment in time.

In many cases, surface water systems are highly interrelated.

Resolution potential can be noted as high, medium, or low. High resolution potential indicates that the water quality problem has been deemed to be worthy of the expenditure of available resources (time and dollar) because of the level of public interest and the expectation that the commitment of these resources will result in a measurable improvement in the situation. Medium resolution generally indicates that the resources necessary to address the problem are beyond what is currently available. Segments with low potential for resolution indicate water quality problems so persistent that improvements are expected to require an unrealistically high commitment of resources, not likely to become available (e.g. acid rain lakes).

The latest PWL that includes the Cayuga Lake Watershed is called The 1996 Priority Waterbodies List for the Oswego-Seneca-Oneida River Basin. An update of the 1996 Priority Waterbodies List for the Oswego-Seneca-Oneida River Basin is planned for 2003.  County Water Quality Coordinating Committees and other interested parties will be asked to participate in this update.

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