New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 3, 2021
Plenty of Catches, All Illegal (Westchester County)
On July 19, ECO Franz responded to a call regarding individuals using a gill net to catch fish in the town of Cortlandt. Officer Franz approached the anglers and observed several cast nets on shore and a gill net approximately 100 feet long installed in the water nearby. When questioned, the fishermen showed ECO Franz coolers full of more than 100 species of fish including: carp, white perch, menhaden, porgy, sunfish, and catfish. ECO Franz seized the fish and issued citations to the fishermen.
On July 13, ECO Amato responded to a complaint of yard debris dumped at a DEC public boat launch site. Nine lawn and leaf bags filled with pine straw, grass, and leaves along with a few cardboard boxes were left at the East Moriches boat launch. The boxes had shipping labels with an address, which led to a possible culprit. ECO Amato interviewed a resident at the address who said he was helping out an elderly lady by removing bags and boxes from her porch and bringing them to the boat launch rather than the appropriate town facility because he said the facility was closed and he didn’t want the bags in his truck overnight in the rain. Officer Amato fined the man $500 and ordered him to clean up the debris and dispose of it properly. Also, on July 14, a trail camera setup by the Pine Barren’s Law Enforcement Commission caught a truck with tires and a television in the bed of the truck entering a known illegal dumping area in Yaphank. The photos clearly show the truck entering with the debris and leaving empty. ECOs tracked down the driver at his residence and he admitted to dumping the tires. Officers issued a $250 fine to the resident under the condition he properly disposes of the tires.
Uninvited Pool Guests
On June 15, ECO Small responded to a call in Nassau County that is fairly common this time of the year. A homeowner requested help for unwanted guests in their swimming pool – a mallard and eight ducklings. With the help of a local wildlife rehabilitator, ECO Small used large nets to capture the family of ducks and release them to a nearby pond.
On Aug.1, ECOs Dickson and DeRose responded to a complaint about people illegally taking fish with a cast net at Captree State Park. The officers responded, found the anglers with the net, and went through their catch. They found more than 30 snappers, sea bass, weakfish, and striped bass that were taken using the net. The ECOs issued a total of seven tickets to the anglers for the violations. From there, the officers issued at least six more tickets to two different groups who were also taking fish illegally. All tickets are returnable to Suffolk First District Court.
Wawarsing ATV Patrol
On July 24 and 25, ECOs Walraven and Johnson conducted an ATV Patrol in conjunction with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police (NYSP) in the Town of Wawarsing. All three agencies received numerous complaints regarding unlawful ATV activity in vicinity of Port Ben Road and Foordmore Road. While the officers did not observe any violations during the patrol, they identified several hotspots with evidence of illegal activity that will be valuable for future patrols in the area.
Checking up on dolphins
(Shelter Island – Suffolk County)
On July 25, ECOs Clark and Bobseine braved high winds and rough seas to assist New York Marine Rescue in locating and assessing two dolphins near Shelter Island. A concerned boater called in to a hotline reporting the two dolphins swimming in a mooring field. The dolphins were located using a patrol boat and the biologist was able to observe the dolphins and document their activity. They appeared to be in good health and swimming freely feeding on schools of baitfish in the area.
On Aug. 11, Forest Rangers from Regions 8 and 9, including five helicopter crew chiefs, along with local and volunteer fire departments, conducted a joint helicopter bucket training with NYSP Aviation in the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area. During the training, Ranger crew chiefs worked on the Huey II helicopter managing the dips and drops utilizing a 180 gallon “training” bucket while Rangers on the ground honed skills in calling in the bucket drops, an important skill in wildland firefighting. Thirteen water drops were completed.
Lake House Explosion
On July 30, ECO Gates responded to a house explosion in the town of Webb. The blast sent debris flying more than 200 yards into First Lake on the Fulton Chain, impacting an estimated 20 homes in the surrounding area. Herkimer County soon declared a State of Emergency. ECO Gates, accompanied by ECO Jakaub and DEC Spill Responder Reichinger, deployed a boat to help assess the damage and look for debris in the lake. Some fuel entered the lake, causing a sheen, and the ECOs assisted Reichinger to deploy a boom designed to pick up the oil. The following day, the Officers joined DEC Spill Responder Furlong to coordinate the use of a harbor boom from Eggan Environmental Services. The ECOs assisted Old Forge Fire Department and Eggan Environmental Services with deployment of the harbor boom using a patrol boat. The boom will contain the spill and allow crews to remove the fuel from the surface so it would not
National Night Out
On Aug. 3, ECO Bevis participated in the town of Guilderland’s National Night Out at Tawasentha Park, an annual community outreach event held by area first responders. Children and adults enjoyed hearing ECO Bevis discuss some of the many wildlife species found locally and learning about the important jobs ECOs perform across the state.
On Aug. 8, Region 8 ECOs Farrand, Dussault, and Gross assisted New York State Police Troopers with traffic control and incident response for a NASCAR event at the Watkins Glen International Raceway in Schuyler County. The ECOs utilized UTVs and ATVs at fixed traffic points and roving patrols. The event concluded without major incidents, including during the heavy post-race traffic.
Righting the Ship
On Aug. 4, while on patrol in Ulster County, ECO Chomicki responded to a 911 call for an overturned kayaker unable to swim near the DEC boat launch on Chodikee Lake in the town of Lloyd. Upon arrival, ECO Chomicki grabbed a life jacket and throw rope and headed to the launch. Once at the water, the ECO and a Police Officer from the town of Lloyd borrowed two kayaks and paddled out to the man. The Officers found the 72-year-old Staten Island man standing on a rock holding onto his kayak for balance. Although the man was wearing a life jacket, it was not properly secured, rendering it ineffective. After removing some water, the Officers returned the kayaker to his kayak and towed him back to the boat launch where he was evaluated by medical personnel. Additional responders included the New York State Police.
Uncovered and Wanted
On Aug. 5, ECO Damrath received a complaint from the scale operator at the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency indicating commercial waste haulers were attempting to avoid higher, commercial tipping fees by offloading at OCCRA’s residential drop-off site in the town of Salina. The scale operator advised that many of the loads had been transported without covers, causing trash to blow into the road and Ley Creek, a tributary to Onondaga Lake. ECO Damrath responded to the Ley Creek facility and soon observed a waste hauler missing what turned out to be more than just a tarp. When the ECO stopped the truck for hauling an uncovered load of construction and demolition debris and municipal solid waste, the driver could not produce a valid driver license. A subsequent warrant check found the driver was wanted for assault by the State University of New York Police. ECO Damrath arrested the subject and charged him with transporting an uncovered load of solid waste and operating without a license. The ECO then turned him over to the SUNY Upstate Medical University Police on the assault warrant.