Economic Development and Planning

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Phone: (631) 853-5946
Fax: (631) 853-4044

Address:100 Veterans Memorial Highway
H. Lee Dennison Building, 4th Flr
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Division of Water Quality Improvement

Suffolk County Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program Call for Municipal Parks Applications

The Suffolk County Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program (WQPRP) is pleased to issue a Call for Municipal Parks Applications for Enhanced Suffolk County Water Quality Protection Program funding.  

Applications are open to all Suffolk County municipalities. All non-County projects will require a match of at least 50% of the total project cost.  Please see the Call for Municipal Parks Applications document for submission instructions.

Please click here for files containing the application, the instructions to complete the application, and Suffolk County Labor Forms.

Any potential applicants for this round of Enhanced Suffolk County Water Quality Protection Program funding, MUST have attended the Proposer’s Conference on December 19, 2016.

If you have any questions about the application process please contact:


Suffolk County designed this division in order to protect and maintain the quality and integrity of Suffolk County’s ground, drinking, and surface waters. Providing critical protection of our groundwater resources is especially important here in Suffolk County, because we sit atop a federally designated Sole-Source Aquifer. Protection of the vast arrays of fresh and salt surface waters is vitally important in maintaining the social and economic advantages afforded by the natural aquatic environment of Suffolk County. The Water Quality and Improvement Division’s primary goal is to protect and remediate the quality of ground and surface waters throughout Suffolk County.



  • Supervises administers, and implements the ¼% sales tax funded Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Initiatives (WQPRP) under Section 12-2 (B) of the Suffolk County Charter provides administrative and technical support to the WQPRP Review Committee which approves all funding through the WQPRP.
  • Coordinates activities being performed by the County Department of Public Works and the County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation under Section 12-2 (B) of the Suffolk County Charter via personnel and / or consultants funded in those departments under the ¼% County Drinking Water Protection Program, Fund 477.
  • Prepares applications for funding assistance through State grant programs, such as the Clean Air/Clean Water Bond Act.
  • Oversees all water quality improvement projects approved for grant funding.
  • Represents the Commissioner at various public and governmental meetings.
  • Serves on numerous committees and task forces as required.
  • Maintain records and documents for all active Water Quality projects.

Engineering / Environmental

Stormwater Management

  • Oversees all stages of stormwater remediation projects from concept to completion including design, permits, implementation, and inspections
  • Assists DPW in responding to public complaints that relate to illicit discharges to County-owned storm sewer systems and/or surface waters
  • Uses available literature to evaluate the effectiveness of various stormwater remediation practices
  • Coordinates with Cornell Cooperative Extension and DPW to ensure that requirements of US EPA Phase II are met with each project
  • Coordinates Vector Control Projects with DPW
  • Provides support on Department of Health Services (DHS) and Parks Department WQPRP projects
  • Coordinates various DHS projects related to Water Quality improvements


Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Initiatives

  • Funded under the Suffolk County 1/4% Drinking Water Protection Program for Environmental Protection (Fund 477)
  • Created by Resolution 659-2002; amended by Resolution 770-2007 and by voter approval this program has been extended 17 years (until 2030)
  • The WQPRP provides for funding to protect and restore water resources throughout the County. This includes both surface and ground water. Projects must be sponsored by the County.

The following are the categories of projects eligible for funding under the WQPRP:

  • No-Discharge Zone Implementation
  • Education and Outreach
  • Other Non-point Source Pollution - Remediation
  • Non-point Source Abatement and Control - Preservation
  • Non-point Source Abatement and Control - Remediation
  • Aquatic Habitat Restoration
  • Agricultural Non-point Source Abatement and Control
  • Pollution Prevention Initiatives
  • Land Stewardship Initiatives

Fertilizer Nitrogen Reduction Legislation and Funding

WQPRP funding was provided to reduce nitrogen loading to ground and surface waters through the overall reduction and better management of turf fertilizer applications. The bill includes the following measures:

  • Prohibits fertilizer application to turf between November 1st and April 1st, months when the ground is likely to be frozen (Agriculture is exempt)
  • Prohibits fertilizer application on all county properties at all times (County Farm, golf courses, athletic fields, and newly seeded or sodded areas are exempt)
  • Requires licensed landscapers to take a “Groundwater Stewardship and Turf Nutrient and Maintenance Practices” course to renew or obtain their license
  • Requires the posting of informational signs and brochures at retail establishments
  • Emphasizes education and outreach via coordination of existing programs and entities as well as a new interactive website to be developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell University.

Invasive Species

Suffolk County continues to be a leader in invasive species control policies and funding -- the need to keep waters open for fishing, boating and swimming, our lands walkable, and keeping our natural areas rich in biodiversity is critical for our county's future. The Suffolk County Water And Land Invasives Advisory Board was created in 2009 to implement the county-wide invasives program.

Recent Achievements

The Charter Law extending and accelerating the Suffolk County ¼% drinking water protection program for environmental protection was approved by the Suffolk County voters during November 2007. This law extended the ¼% sales tax revenue trust fund through November 30, 2030. An additional 0.50% share of the ¼% sales tax trust fund was implemented on December 1, 2007 to fund the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Initiatives (WQPRP). This raises the portion of the ¼% sales tax revenues apportioned to the WQPRP to 11.75%.

WQPRP -Through the WQPRP, Suffolk County has funded over $50 million in projects to reduce stormwater runoff, mitigate and prevent pollution of groundwater and surface waters, and to restore natural water habitats and wetlands.

Wetlands Stewardship Program– A State of the County initiative was successfully launched to assess and develop indicators of wetlands health, establish preservation and restoration priorities, and design and implement pilot marsh restoration projects for the approximately 17,000 acres of tidal wetlands in Suffolk County. Executive Order 4-2007 created the Wetlands Stewardship Committee and Resolution 367-2007 appropriated $220,000 to hire a consultant, both to help implement this program.

Management of 80 Active Projects - The Water Quality Improvement Division supervised 80 on-going water quality projects during 2013. The total funding to date for the projects funded through the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program and Land Stewardship Initiatives (WQPRP) is approximately $50 million dollars.

Initiation of 7 New Projects - During 2013, the WQPRP Review Committee approved $366,723 in funding for an additional 7 projects. These projects are for Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control (Preservation and/or Remediation), Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Education and Outreach, Land Stewardship Initiatives, No-Discharge Zone Implementation, and Pollution Prevention Initiatives.

Oil Tank Abandonment Incentive - Approximately 2,851 tanks were abandoned under this program since its inception, reducing the risk of groundwater contamination. County rebates of $100 per tank were provided as an initiative to citizens wishing to eliminate underground oil storage tanks. This program was discontinued on December 31, 2012.

Partnership Projects

Tidal Wetland Restoration at Indian Island County Park

The Division applied for a grant through the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) fund from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for the restoration of a tidal wetland system at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead. The Division was awarded the grant for $788,000 for the execution of the proposed project. This is an important part of the preservation and restoration of wetlands within the Peconic Estuary System.

The Division was also successful in obtaining support for an additional $300,000 in WQPRP funding from the Suffolk County ¼% sales tax funds for this project.  Funding from NYSDEC and Suffolk County will provide for the implementation of the project as it was proposed to the State.

The Division has attended several meetings during 2013 with the NYSDEC to discuss the final design plans and pre-permitting procedures.

As recommended by the NYSDEC, during 2012, the Department of Public Works conducted surveys and sieve analysis of soils of the area, in order to update the project work plan.  The final design was completed during 2013, and it is estimated that the project will benefit from a reduction in costs from the preliminary design as a result of lower estimates on sediments to be excavated from the area. The project will move forward during 2014.

Wetlands Stewardship Program (WSP)

This program was recommended by the Vector Control and Wetlands Management Long-Term Plan, under Resolution 1150-2007, to address the needs of wetlands throughout the County. As stipulated in Resolution 1150-2007, the WSP is to be conducted under the supervision of the Department of Economic Development and Planning. The Division of Water Quality Improvement has been administering the WSP for the Department. This program is important because it deals with public health concerns related to mosquito issues and the diverse environmental services that these delicate environments provide.

A final report, prepared under contract with a consultant, was received by the County during 2012.  The Wetlands Stewardship Strategy (WSS) was finalized by the Division in conjunction with Public Works vector control and accepted by the Wetlands Stewardship Committee (WSC) during 2013.  The final product is the Wetland Stewardship Strategy (WSS), which provides a plan for restoration and management based on the Long-Term Plan principles of vector control and reduction of pesticides. The County has started implementing the recommendations of the WSS with a larger scale wetlands restoration project at Indian Island County Park.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Application

The Division submitted a grant application during November 2013 under the federally-funded (State implemented) HMGP.  The proposed project will restore the marsh at Smith Point North County Park in Shirley and if funded will provide natural protection from flooding tidal surges.

Given the magnitude of the potential tidal flooding damage compared to the modest cost of implementing the project, even if a small fraction of the tidal flooding could be prevented by the implementation of this project the benefit will far exceed the cost of the project.  We have conservatively assumed that the full implementation of the project would mitigate at least 10% of the direct potential tidal flooding damages.

New York State DEC WQIP Round 11 Grant Application

In December 2013, Division submitted an application to request $100,000 in NYS DEC Water Quality Improvement (WQIP) Round 11 grant funds for the Carmans River Fish Ladder at Lower Yaphank Lake. This project, also funded through the NYS DOS Bond Act Grant program and the Suffolk County Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program, is currently in the final design and engineering stages. The additional funding requested through the WQIP grant program will allow the fish ladder to be successfully installed at Lower Yaphank Lake to re-connect segmented habitat along the Carmans River.

Fish Ladder at Lower Yaphank Lake

The Division moved forward during 2013 with a project to provide fish passage through the CR 21 impoundment that forms Lower Lake in Yaphank.  The purpose of this project is to restore fish passage in the upstream portions of the Carmans River.  Installing a fish ladder at Lower Lake will allow fish, predominantly alewives and American eel, to migrate upstream to spawning habitat. This is important because Alewife and American eel have been identified as priority diadromous fish species due to their historic presence but currently limited distribution within the Carmans River. Alewife, are also a species that is particularly important for the aquatic food chain.

This project is in accordance with the South Shore Estuary Reserve Council's Comprehensive Management Plan to restore the estuary's living resources and habitats. The project is also consistent with the SSER CMP recommendation to restore diadromous fish populations in tributaries where the necessary habitat conditions exist or can be created.

The Division executed a contract with New York State Department of State to receive a $252,000 grant for this project.  The WQPRP Review Committee has recommended an additional $200,000 in ¼% Suffolk County funding for this project.  A contractor for the design/engineering phase of the project was selected during early January 2013.  A contract with GEI consultants to design the project and to obtain all necessary construction permits was executed during 2013 and a project kickoff meeting was held during October 2013.

Vector Control Pesticide Management Committee

Members of the Division are part of the Vector Control Pesticide Management Committee (VCPMC) Workgroup, a subcommittee of the VCPMC. The VCPMC Workgroup has been working to update the literature review found in the Long-term Plan (LTP). The literature reviews for Methoprene and Bacillus sphaericus (Bs) were completed. The literature review for Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is in progress.

During 2013 a comprehensive update to the Methoprene literature review was started.  This review will be completed by the spring of 2014.

During 2013, the Division headed several meetings of the full VCPMC as well as numerous conference calls with the Workgroup.

Each year an annual report is submitted to, and accepted by the Committee.

Pesticide Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

The Pesticide CAC was established by Resolution. No. 1227-2006. This committee considers temporary ‘special use’ exemptions to Local Law No. 59-2006 requested by the County’s Departments or organizations using County property. The resolution requires that the CAC meet four times per year, but the meetings have typically been held more frequently.  The Division headed up this committee which held meetings throughout 2013 to review exemption requests for pesticides to be applied on County properties.

Support for the pesticide phase-out on County properties is provided under contract with Cornell Cooperative Extension. The funding for this project comes from the ¼% water quality protection program and must be recommended each year by the WQPRP Review Committee and approved by the adoption of the County operating budget.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Programs

During 2013 the Division provided technical review and support for the five (5) CCE programs listed below.  These purposes of these programs range from keeping the County in compliance with Federal and State stormwater runoff regulations to shellfish restoration to various agricultural programs that will help to protect our environment while retaining the economic benefits of the agricultural industry of Suffolk County.

1.   US EPA Stormwater Phase II Implementation including the new “Septic System Inspection” program

            2.   Restoration of Peconic Bay Scallops

3.   Alternative Management Strategies for Control of Insect Pests in Suffolk County Agriculture and Landscapes

            4.   Integrated Pest Management Program

            5.   Development and Implementation of an Agricultural Stewardship Program

Stormwater Phase II

The Division continued to manage this vital program that is necessary for the County to remain in compliance with its NYSDEC General SPDES permit for stormwater discharges. This permit is mandated by the USEPA pursuant to the Clean Water Act. The Division works closely with Suffolk County Departments of Public Works, Parks, Health Services, and the County Attorney’s Office with respect to this program.

The Division worked with the County Attorney’s Office and the County Executive’s Budget Office to process contracts, contracts amendments and budget modifications associated with this program.

The Division provides technical input and oversight on work to be completed by CCE, and works with CCE to ensure compliance with all permitting requirements.

Funding was approved through the WQPRP Review Committee and adopted into the Department’s 2014 operating budget to allow CCE of Suffolk County to continue their work in support of the County’s general stormwater permit requirements.

Eelgrass Restoration Initiative

The Division managed the county funding for a previous eelgrass restoration project, conducted by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).  Based on its results and the importance of the restoration efforts, the Division is working on an extension of this successful project.  This program continued throughout 2013 and will continue at least through June 2014.

This project proposes to plant approximately 3.25 acres of eelgrass over two years at several sites in Suffolk County. As part of the Suffolk County Eelgrass Restoration Initiative (Phase 1, ending in 2012), in total more than 500,000 shoots and approximately 2,000,000 seeds were planted at more than 25 different sites throughout the region.

Eelgrass meadows are an important habitat to several commercially significant species including the bay scallop, hard clams, striped bass, winter and summer flounder, bluefish, blue crab, American lobster, and others. For this reason, it is important for the County to continue restoration efforts in eelgrass meadows.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Reduction Initiative

As part of Local Law 41-2007 all renewals, or new applicants for a Suffolk County Home Improvement Contractors License, who apply fertilizer, must take a Suffolk County approved turf management class. By the end of 2013 a total of 26 classes had been offered and more than 1,400 certificates had been issued.  As part of the course landscapers learn about the prohibition dates on fertilizer application, the environmental consequences of nitrogen runoff, alternatives to turfgrass such as native plantings, proper use and application techniques of fertilizer, and information on soils.

Signs and brochures have been sent out to all county retail locations that sell fertilizer informing the public of the prohibition dates for fertilizer use, how to manage their lawns properly with less fertilizer, why nitrogen pollution is detrimental to our water resources, and when is the best time to apply fertilizer. A self-teaching CD, developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE), to educate owners and employees of fertilizer retail locations was also sent out to all retailers. This information can be disseminated to customers inquiring about the program.  Suffolk County has been working with retail locations to replenish brochures and replace lost or misplaced signs.

This program received a 2010 National Association of Counties (NACo) Award which recognizes unique and innovative county programs nationwide. The Division made a presentation about the fertilizer reduction initiative including such topics as: the law, landscaper education classes, and the turf module developed by Cornell University (CU) at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Long Island Groundwater Research Institute held at Suffolk County Water Authority.

Aquatic Invasive Species

The Division worked with the recommendations of the recently completed feasibility study for the control and eradication of aquatic invasive plants. The recommendations contained a set of alternatives for the control of the invasive species for Canaan Lake and the two Yaphank Lakes.

The Division worked with the town of Brookhaven, NYSDEC, and any other organizations involved in eradication of invasive species from the two Yaphank Lakes. The Town began implementation of the removal of aquatic invasive species from Upper Yaphank Lake during 2013 based upon the final report/plan to eradicate aquatic invasive plants.

Water and Land Invasive Advisory Board (Board)

The Division is an active voting member of this Board and provided technical and scientific advisories throughout 2012.  The Department has dedicated website space to provide information to the public and the most updated version of the Do Not Sell List (list).  Resolution 614 -2007 adopted a local law to prohibit the sale, introduction, and propagation of invasive non-native plant species. The Resolution also established the Board to manage and update the list of those species that are considered invasive and non-native. The Board meets several times a year to review and update the “Do-Not-Sell List” and holds public hearings prior any updates of Resolution 614-2007.

Peconic Estuary Program (PEP)

The Division participated throughout 2013 in the Peconic Estuary Program (PEP) Management Committee meetings as well as the meetings of three related committees:  PEP Policy Committee, PEP Technical Advisory Committee, and PEP Natural Resources Committee.  The Division attends the PEP Call to Action Conference and attended a PEP Dredging Conference.

The Division is working with the PEP to implement a Stormwater Management Inter Municipal Agreement between the County, NYS DOT, and all of the Towns and Villages in the Peconic Estuary watershed.  This agreement will help all the municipalities comply with their NYS DEC issued State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permits for stormwater management and will facilitate competing for grant funding for stormwater projects that are vital to the protection of the water quality of the Peconic Estuary.

The Division provides technical expertise and budgetary input on many other PEP projects.

Bay Scallops Restoration - East Hampton

This project represents an extension of a previous successful bay scallop restoration project in East Hampton Town that was managed by the Division. Resolution 793-2010 allocated funding for this project. The Division has continued to manage the bay scallop restoration project throughout and a contract extension for the project was executed during 2012.

This is a three year project. In each of the first two project years, 300,000 scallops will be transferred from the hatchery to the Town’s waters, dispersed into two sanctuary areas: a section in Three Mile Harbor, off Sammy’s Beach in East Hampton and a section in the southern portion of Napeague Harbor, Amagansett. The sanctuaries have been, and are currently, being monitored for scallop survival and spawning success as well as the quality and quantity of eelgrass or macro algae present on site and in the vicinity. Population recruitment data has shown a significant increase in scallop spat fall and the presence of juveniles from the first three years of the original project.

From the beginning of the new project, January 2011, through the fall of 2012, a total of 435,000 overwintered scallops have been seeded into sanctuaries. During the life of this project, the annual scallop spat collection has been increasing showing promising results. A total of 165,360 larvae (spats) were collected during 2012, which compared to the 74,597 collected during 2011.  This represented an increase of 121.67% over 2011!  The production of scallops has shown an overwintering survival of 90% in 2011 (scallops from 2010) and 93% in 2012 (scallops from 2011).  In 2011 a total of 305,000 scallops were seeded into Town waters, and 140,000 scallops were overwintered for 2012.  During 2012 130,000 scallops were seeded into Town waters.  As a result of Superstorm Sandy, 74,000 scallops were lost; therefore just 90,000 scallops will be placed to overwintering for 2013.

This project provides a valuable dataset from the last 6 years and it makes good economic sense to continue these restoration efforts.

Forge River Watershed Hydrodynamic Modeling

This project comes as a recommendation from the Forge River Feasibility Study which was conducted between Suffolk County and the US Army Corps of Engineers.  The County is providing $300,000 from the ¼% sales tax funds as authorized by Resolution 412 -2010. The purpose of the watershed hydrodynamic modeling is to develop an Integrated Watershed Management Plan to maintain, restore, and enhance activities that contribute to a healthy watershed. Also, the modeling will generate a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for nitrogen that will help the Town of Brookhaven comply with the Federal Clean Water Act requirements for water quality.

The Division has attended several meetings and participated in conference calls with the Town of Brookhaven to coordinate the terms of the contract. The Division provided comments on proposals received by the Town for sub-consultants who will execute the modeling part of the project. In addition, the Division is a part of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for the project.

The Division will continue to provide technical advice and recommendations throughout the project.

Restoration and monitoring of Hard Clams in the Great South Bay

The Great South Bay Hard Clam restoration project, conducted by Suffolk County, The Nature Conservancy and other partners was completed during August 2013.  The project focused on 3 main focus areas 1) on-the-ground restoration and monitoring activities, 2) modernizing hard clam harvest management, 3) advancing our understanding of causes and the efficacy of alternative solutions to the nitrogen loading of Great South Bay.

The restoration of the hard clam spawning populations in central Great South Bay proceeded on schedule and by the end of August 2013 it exceeded projections of approximately 1 million adult clams stocked.  By the end of 2011, 390,000 adult clams were stocked into bay waters, and another 617,000 adult clams were stocked between March and June of 2012. During the spring of 2012 clams were stocked at 23 existing sites and 10 new sites. Following the Suffolk County Hard Clam Restoration Working Group’s recommendation to increase spawning potential in low abundance areas, The Nature Conservancy established 5 of these new sites within the jurisdiction of Islip Township.

Modernization of hard clam harvest management was done under the auspices of The Suffolk County Great South Bay Hard Clam Restoration Working Group. Initially interim recommendations were created and approved by the towns followed by an in depth scientific assessment and extensive professionally facilitated public outreach that concluded in December 2011 with a set of long term regulatory and programmatic recommendations aimed at various agencies and organizations. After a set of public hearings and public comment periods, regulatory recommendations for the Three Great South Bay townships (Babylon, Islip, and Brookhaven) were unanimously approved by each of the three town boards in the summer and fall of 2012.