New York’s Great Outdoors and Freshwater Wetlands Protection Program
Discover the Beauty of New York’s Great Outdoors
New York state is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, offering numerous ways to experience the great outdoors. Whether you’re a fishing enthusiast or prefer to spend your weekends sleeping under the stars, there’s something for everyone.
Explore Over 5 Million Acres
New York state boasts more than 5 million acres of land, 7,000 lakes and streams, and over 52,000 miles of rivers and streams to explore. From hiking through the Adirondacks to fishing in the Catskills, there’s no shortage of outdoor recreational opportunities.
Find the Perfect Spot with Our Places to Go Search Tool
Use our Places to Go search tool to find the perfect destination for your next outdoor adventure. Whether you’re looking to go birdwatching or kayaking, our comprehensive database provides information for beginners and advanced enthusiasts alike.
Protecting New York’s Freshwater Wetlands
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is committed to protecting the state’s critical freshwater wetlands. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos recently encouraged New Yorkers to review and comment on proposed regulations that would further protect these important resources.
What Are Freshwater Wetlands?
Freshwater wetlands are areas of land and submerged land that support aquatic or semi-aquatic vegetation, such as marshes, swamps, and bogs. These wetlands provide essential habitats for a variety of plant and animal species, protect water quality, and mitigate flooding. New York’s Freshwater Wetlands Act was enacted in 1975 to regulate activities near larger wetlands and smaller wetlands considered to be of unusual local importance.
Improvements to the State’s Wetlands Protection Program
Consistent with Governor Kathy Hochul’s commitment to protecting New York’s wetlands, the 2022-23 budget includes significant improvements to the State’s wetlands protection program. These improvements will safeguard an estimated one million additional acres of unprotected wetland habitat and help New York adapt to increased flooding and severe storms fueled by climate change.
Expanded Protection for Smaller Wetlands
Starting in January 2025, the scope of regulated smaller wetlands of “unusual importance” will be expanded to wetlands that meet one of 11 specific criteria. This expansion will provide additional fish and wildlife habitat as well as protect communities from flooding.
How You Can Help
The purpose of the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) is to solicit stakeholder input on potential changes to the State’s wetlands protection program. DEC staff are seeking answers to specific questions, as well as general comments and suggestions on the potential updates. Your input on the ANPR will help develop a regulatory proposal that will go out for public review and comment later this year.