MakingWaves – Water Week Special Edition; Water Management in the 1970s

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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MakingWaves - Celebrate Water Week

Five Decades of Water Restoration and Protection

DEC's Division of Water invites you to celebrate Water Week with us as we highlight some of the milestones in each of the five decades since the first Earth Day in 1970.

Today’s topic: Milestones of the 1970s

Did you know?

  • When the first Earth Day was held in 1970, many factories and cities were routinely discharging untreated waste waters directly to New York’s lakes, rivers and streams. Many waters were unusable, and fish and wildlife were being harmed. Today, visibly cleaner water and revived fish populations draw growing numbers of boaters, swimmers and anglers.
  • In 1972, the federal government passed the Clean Water Act, which delegated new responsibilities to DEC, including wastewater discharge permitting. That same year, New York began allocating billions of dollars through DEC’s Construction Grants Program to build an advanced network of sewage treatment facilities to reduce raw sewage flowing into rivers, lakes, and streams.
  • New York passed the Tidal Wetlands Act in 1973 and the Freshwater Wetlands Act in 1975 providing important protection for wetlands, which play a vital role in surface and groundwater quality, flood and erosion control, and fish and wildlife habitat.

Lake Erie

Test Your Water History

In 1972, the U.S. signed a bi-national agreement for water restoration that DEC implements. Who was the bi-national agreement with, and what waterbodies did it protect? (answer below)

Learn More

On DEC’s website, you can find information about:

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