Environmental Quality

Why Is Environmental Quality Important?

Monroe County has seen many improvements in its Environmental Quality through the coordinated efforts of county agencies, local governments, various voluntary organizations and many involved citizens.

Monroe County has placed special emphasis on water quality through the years because of the presence of Lake Ontario and the Genesee River. As a result of education and pollution prevention efforts, watershed planning, and research/monitoring, we have realized significant improvements in the Rochester Embayment, the Genesee River and in Irondequoit Bay.

Water Education Collaborative

The Water Education Collaborative is a coalition of public and private organizations that work together to inspire residents to help protect and improve water quality in the lakes and streams of the Genesee Region watershed.

The Water Education Collaborative is headquartered at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. For further information, call 585 271-4552 ext. 324.

Water Quality Management Agency

The role of the Monroe County Water Quality Management Agency (WQMA) is to protect and improve Monroe County water quality at the watershed level by developing, implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of policies and programs.

Monroe County Water Quality Coordinating Committee

One of several such committees in New York State, the Water Quality Coordinating Committee has several roles including making recommendations on the use of grant funds and providing advice on new water quality policies and strategies. Support by this committee has resulted in securing numerous grants.


Monroe County’s surface and groundwater resources are protected and continuously improved to maximize their ecological value for sustainable consumption, recreation, and natural habitat.


The Monroe County Water Quality Coordinating Committee is a group representing municipalities, agencies, and organizations that conducts planning, education, regulation, or operations that affect water quality. The Committee identifies water quality problems, prioritizes needed actions, seeks funding for projects, coordinates programming, and recommends policy to protect and improve our water resources in Monroe County and its watersheds.

What and Why?

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), in conjunction with the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee fostered the creation of committees to coordinate activities at a local level. This was done as part of the State’s Non Point Source Water Quality Program.

Counties were selected as the organizing unit for these committees to provide well-defined areas of jurisdiction for the agencies likely to be involved. Each county group was asked to develop a strategy that would guide water quality activities in the county. The NYSDEC and the State Committee provided written guidance to the county WQCCs on developing and implementing these water quality strategies. While this guidance offers suggestions on which agencies should be invited to participate in the committee, no attempt was made to require a particular make up of the committee. The intent was to provide flexibility to each county to determine the exact make up of their committee.

The strategies were to form a blueprint for action in each county. To ensure some level of consistency for the county strategies, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the NYSDEC came up with a set of minimum requirements. At a minimum, county strategies needed to include:

  • A mission/purpose statement
  • A list of prioritized water quality problems or concerns
  • A description of the committee’s role in implementing the strategy

MC Water Quality Coordinating Committee Structure

Pesticide Neighbor Notification LawPicture of house.

Launch Pesticide Neighbor Notification Locator

The Monroe County Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law became effective January 1, 2006. It requires various groups applying pesticides to provide certain types of notification to neighbors. There are a number of guidance materials attached below that provide very detailed information about how to comply with the law. Failure to comply with the law can result in fines.

There are four basic groups that must comply with this law. The primary notification requirement is listed for each group:

  • Commercial Pesticide Applicators are required to provide at least a 48-hour notice to neighbors (within 150 feet) of the property being treated with pesticides. This notification is required only when the applicator is using sprayed pesticides (liquid or aerosol) to the ground, trees, or shrubs. Use of granular products and certain other applications, including spot treatments of less than 9 square feet, are exempt from the 48-hour neighbor notification requirement.
  • Landlords (rental/apartments) within 150 feet of the property being treated will be notified by commercial applicators 48-hours prior to sprayed pesticides being applied. They are then required to inform the occupants of such dwellings 24-hours in advance of the pesticide being applied.
  • Retailers that sell products covered by this law are required to post signs near where pesticides are being sold informing homeowners about their requirement to use lawn markers.
  • Homeowners are required to place markers on their lawn if applying any form of pesticide (including granular) to more than 100 square feet of their property. It is also recommended that they inform their neighbors prior to application of pesticides, although the latter is not required. If homeowners utilize a commercial applicator, the company will take care of necessary notifications.

Note: It is important to understand that this law only covers products (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides) meant to kill weeds, lawn insects (such as grubs), and other garden and tree pests. The law does not apply to applications of fertilizer. A number of products and practices are exempt from the law. See below for a list of exemptions and other more detailed explanations of the law.

To report a violation or to have questions answered about the Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law, contact the Monroe County Department of Public Health at 753-PEST (753-7378) or by e-mail. If reporting a violation, please be prepared to provide:

  • date when product was applied
  • approximate time when product was applied
  • address where the product was applied
  • name of company applying the product
  • your name, address, phone number or e-mail, so we can follow-up with you

Related Information

Pesticide Neighbor Notification Locator

Note: A login is no longer required to access the Locator Tool

Online Information

There are agencies at all levels of government (international, national, state, regional and county), as well as private organizations, that help to protect water quality.