Over the limit of striped bass
On April 24, ECO Brian Canzeri received a call from a local fisherman who observed another fisherman over the limit of striped bass. The caller said the suspect was starting to leave the area. Canzeri arrived within 10 minutes and stopped a vehicle leaving the area. The passenger of the vehicle was known to Canzeri for a similar offense in the past. Canzeri checked the cooler and found four striped bass. The daily limit is one per person; therefore both the passenger and driver were charged with taking over limit striped bass and not having their marine fishing registry.
Walleye out of season
On April 30, ECO Jason DeAngelis had just cleared Mohawk town court in Montgomery County when he received a tip from a local fisherman. The fisherman explained that he was at Lock 8 in Glenville, Schenectady County, and had just witnessed another individual catch several walleye and place them in a green bag. DeAngelis responded in time to see an individual land a large walleye and place the fish in a green bag. A check of the fisherman’s bag revealed eight other walleye. The fisherman explained that he believed the fish were pike. DeAngelis explained that they were, in fact, walleye and even so, both species of fish were out of season. The subject was issued a summons for keeping/possessing walleye during the closed season and was scheduled to appear in the Glenville town court.
Herring for everyone
On May 1, ECO Brian Canzeri observed a Slingerlands man illegally use a net in the Poestenkill Creek along First Street in the city of Troy. The suspect filled his five-gallon pail with herring and, when questioned by Canzeri, pointed to four people saying: "Ten, ten, ten, ten," meaning those four people and he could have 10 herring apiece, making his limit 50 herring. All four people replied that they had no idea who the suspect was. Canzeri counted the fish as the suspect threw them back. he total number was 115 herring. The suspect was issued tickets for taking herring with a net and having over his daily limit.
Spring turkey enforcement
During April prior to the opening of spring turkey season, ECO Mike Terrell had observed a green Jeep on numerous occasions with its passengers watching gobblers strutting with hens out in private hayfields throughout the town of Broome. On May 1, opening day, Terrell passed the Jeep around 6:10 a.m. heading toward state land. After following the vehicle a short distance, it turned into a private driveway. The subjects were observed from a distance unloading two turkeys into a small shed. Terrell approached the subjects to check their birds. The dates on the carcass tags had the first, second and third days removed. The hunters stated they had a dull knife, and accidentally ripped out all three days at once. After looking at the birds, it was obvious that one bird was a jake. The other bird was a hen. When the hunter was asked to show where the beard was on the hen, both men hung their heads and said there was not one. The one hunter admitted to shooting both of the turkeys, and that he borrowed his friend’s tag to put on the second bird. When the subjects were asked where they were hunting and where the birds were killed, they described private posted property that Terrell was familiar with. The subjects admitted that they did not have permission to hunt on the private posted property. The birds were “flock shot” while the jake was in the front, the trailing hen was killed while standing behind the young gobbler. Both subjects were ticketed for trespass, lending/borrowing carcass tags, and killing an unbearded hen other than permitted by law. Both subjects pleaded guilty to all charges and paid fines to the Broome town court.
Story down the drain
On July 20, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m., ECO James Davey responded to a Putnam County 911 call concerning an oil spill at Putnam Lake with its source apparently from Palmyra Road, Brewster. Davey met with responders from the Putnam Lake Fire Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, Patterson Highway Department, NYSDEC Spills and Fire Marshal David Raines. The source of what was believed to be No. 2 fuel oil was traced to 14 Palmyra Road, Brewster. A 275-gallon home heating oil tank was observed lying on its side in the yard, as well as several large sheets of plywood leading from a rear gate in the fence from 14 Palmyra to a concrete overflow basin in the wetland. Five-gallon water containers were also observed in the yard. The concrete overflow basin also contained No. 2 fuel oil. The suspect arrived at 14 Palmyra at 5:30 p.m. Prior to this, he had been contacted by Putnam County sheriffs concerning his property. As Raines was explaining the cleanup process, the suspect said, “I did not know the drain was connected to the road.” ECI Robert McDermott conducted a follow up investigation and on February 4, 2013, the suspect was arrested and processed by McDermott and ECO Jason Curinga at DSP Brewster and transported immediately to Patterson Town Justice Court for arraignment. He was arrested on one count of Penal Law, 140.10 criminal mischief in the second degree, a Class D felony; one count of Environmental Conservation Law for violating the conditions of a state pollutant discharge system, a Class E Felony, and one count of ECL for endangering the public health, safety or the environment, a misdemeanor. On April 11, he pleaded guilty in Patterson town court to one environmental conservation law violation and was fined $2,000.00 fine, ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and make an up-front payment of $25,949.69 in restitution to cover the cost of the cleanup.
Earth Week truck detail
On April 24, ECOs Denise Ferraro, Mike Unger, Josh Sulkey, Joshua Wolgast, Dustin Oliver and Mark Simmons, led by Lt. Tom Gadomski and air quality inspector Rick Gage, conducted an ECO-Quality HDDV detail along Hempstead Turnpike near the village of Hempstead, which is considered an Environmental Justice area, a community whose residents are adversely affected by the environmental impacts caused by industry and businesses in the area. The purpose of the detail was to locate diesel trucks whose air emissions failed to pass clean air opacity tests and to put those vehicles out of service until they complied with the regulations. Eight summonses were issued, most for expired HDDV inspections. None of the vehicles failed the opacity test. The lack of trucks failing the opacity test is a testament to the work the ECOs have done in recent years enforcing the HDDV and air quality regulations.
Undersized black sea bass
(New York County)
On Feb. 19, ECOs Dustin Dainack, Timothy Machnica, Kevin Thomas and Brent Wilson conducted inspections at numerous fish markets in Manhattan. Up until almost the end of the detail, the officers were not having a very productive day. It wasn’t until the last market check that Machnica noticed a few black sea bass on display outside of the market that appeared to be under the commercially allowable size of 11 inches. Thomas then went in the back room and discovered a box containing additional black sea bass that were also found to be undersized. Knowing another market was right around the corner, the ECOs took that opportunity to conduct one more inspection. At that location, Wilson found hidden under boxes another stash of undersized black sea bass. In total the ECOs confiscated 71 fish weighing approximately 36 pounds. Tickets for the undersized fish were issued and all the proceeds were happily donated to the Bowery Mission in New York County.
All in a day’s work
On March 10, ECO Matthew Clemens picked up one of the Division of Law Enforcement’s interns for a ridealong in the Bronx. Focusing on field patrol, the plan was to have the intern obtain knowledge of the widespread responsibilities of ECOs in New York City. To start the day, Clemens investigated a few complaints regarding businesses not accepting beverage containers for a refund of deposit paid. After handling the complaints, Clemens moved on to patrolling the shorelines of Eastchester Bay and Long Island Sound, where he continuously checked for illegal shellfish in non-certified water and any recreational fishing. From there, multiple fish markets throughout the Bronx were inspected for compliance for size regulations and record keeping. During the day, four criminal tickets and two warnings were issued for violations ranging from failing to accept beverage containers to untagged shellfish being offered for sale.
Youth conservation program
On April 20-21, the Peconic River Sportsmen’s Club once again hosted its Youth Conservation Program. Initiated by DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement 19 years ago, over 600 students have successfully completed this program that teaches conservation, safe firearms handling, wildlife ID and more. Students received their hunter training certification after completing the program. Lt. Dallas Bengel once again coordinated DEC’s participation that included ECOs Liza Bobseine, Kaitlin Grady, Chris Lagree, Josh Sulkey, Don Damrath and Jeremy Eastwood.
Lakeshore work without a permit
ECO Mike Phelps was on patrol along Lakeshore Road in the town of Essex when he noticed the otherwise blue water of Lake Champlain was brown and muddy along the lakeshore near Whallons Bay. A short distance up the road he came upon an excavator loading rocks into two dump trucks from a small-tracked dump truck. He stopped and spoke with the job foreman. The crew was shoring up piers for a balcony on a lakeshore home. The only access to the piers was along the shoreline of the lake. The tracked dump truck drove down the embankment from Lakeshore Road and along the bed and banks of Lake Champlain. The water was noticeably brown and muddy downstream of the work site. The ECO consulted with the regional enforcement coordinator, who advised him that no current permits were in place for this site. The foreman was charged with two misdemeanors under Environmental Conservation Law, disturbing the bed or banks of a protected water body and contravention of water quality standards.
Environmental quality detail
At the end of March and beginning of April ECO Russ Fetterman inspected gas stations and auto body shops for violations as part of an environmental eco-quality detail. Warning tickets were issued for unregistered storage tanks and failure to post signs to accept used waste oil and lead batteries for public notification.
Youth turkey hunt
On April 20-21, ECO Ricardo Grisolini, along with the assistance of the Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation, held the third annual Youth Turkey Hunt. The program has grown from five youth participants in 2011 to 15 in 2013. On April 13 a safety day was held at the Cassidy Hollow Rod and Gun Club in Oriskany Falls. The day consisted of firearms safety skills, rules and regulations associated with turkey hunting, and calling and decoy demonstrations. On the first day of the hunt 10 of the 15 youths were fortunate enough to harvest a turkey. On the second day out, the remaining five were either able to take a shot at a bird or have a close encounter. The program would not be possible without the volunteered services of all the mentors involved. The program continues to grow and we anxiously anticipate the youth waterfowl hunt in the fall.