Water Quality Data for Tributaries to Lake Ontario in New York-- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Lakewide Impairment Study

Science Center Objects

Lake Ontario is the easternmost Great Lake and has a direct drainage area of 24,720 square miles (mi2)(excluding the Niagara River and upper Great Lakes watershed), and is bounded by the Canadian Province of Ontario to the north and west and New York State to the south and east. Lake Ontario receives its primary inflow from the watersheds of the upper Great Lakes through the Niagara River near...

Lake Ontario is the easternmost Great Lake and has a direct drainage area of 24,720 square miles (mi2)(excluding the Niagara River and upper Great Lakes watershed), and is bounded by the Canadian Province of Ontario to the north and west and New York State to the south and east.  Lake Ontario receives its primary inflow from the watersheds of the upper Great Lakes through the Niagara River near Youngstown, New York, a drainage area of 263,700 mi2.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is administering a program called the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the health of all the Great Lakes USEPA GLRI Action Plan I & II, (Great Lakes Restoration, undated).  The GLRI action plans call for reductions in nutrient runoff from wastewater-treatment discharges, combined storm-and-sanitary-sewer overflows, and major nonpoint sources of pollution from urban and agricultural areas.  Urbanization often increases the quantity of chemicals that can be deposited by atmospheric deposition or applied to the land surface. Urbanized impervious surfaces often time increases hydraulic efficiency, by which water moves from the land surface to drainage systems decreasing travel time in streams, which result in an increase in chemical loads carried into and out of a watershed.  Agricultural activities can increase loads of nutrients, pesticides, and sediments to streams. Local, state, and Federal agencies have worked to create best-management practices (BMPs) that focus on urban stormwater management, erosion control, and nutrient and sediment management on agricultural land. These practices would presumably benefit over-all water quality in stream systems; however, monitoring of these practices has not been done on a regular basis in order to quantify the effectiveness of these BMPs over time.

 

In 2011, the EPA Region II began a program in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor, evaluate, and interpret hydrologic and water-quality data collected from sites at selected tributaries to Lake Ontario.  Sites selected specifically for this Lake Ontario monitoring program included Eighteenmile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek at Kenyonville and Shelby, Salmon River, and Black River. In addition to these, several other sites with established water-quality monitoring programs were included in this study.  These latter sites included the Genesee River, the Oswego River, Honeoye Creek, and Allen and Irondequoit Creeks. The hydrologic and water-quality information collected at these sites are used by water-resources managers to make decisions regarding flood hazard and mitigation, low-flow drought conditions and management, mitigation of streambank erosion, and nonpoint-source pollution control.

Project
Location by County

Niagara County, NY, Orleans County, NY, Monroe County, NY, Wayne County, NY, Oswego County, NY, Oneida County, NY, Jefferson County, NY