Department of Environmental Conservation

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For Release: Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DEC Environmental Conservation Officer Highlights

ECO Actions for Late April and Early May

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.

In 2015, the 268 ECOs based across the state responded to 25,000 calls and issued 22,000 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to toxic dumping to illegal mining, black market pet trade and excessive emissions violations.

"From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs who patrol our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York's environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers," said Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. "They labor through long and arduous hours, often deep in our remote wildernesses or in the tight confines of our urban landscapes, and without much public fanfare. But their work centers around the most important things we do at the DEC."

Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:

ECO Saves an Overdosed Heroin User

On May 14, ECO Tim Machnica was on patrol in the Town of Ithaca when he observed a vehicle that was failing to dim their headlights. As he approached the vehicle, Machnica spotted the driver slumped over the steering wheel. ECO Machnica found a pulse but the man was barely breathing. EMS and New York State Police responded as ECO Machnica continued to monitor the driver's breathing and heart rate. The ambulance crew administered an opioid overdose reversing treatment, also known as NARCAN, to the driver, who quickly awoke. The man admitted to using heroin and still had a small quantity of heroin in his possession. The subject was transported to Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca and faces several charges.

Trout Derby - Eldridge Lake

a 34 inch northern pike
34" northern pike that two 13-year-olds landed
after a long struggle

ECO Toni Dragotta attended the annual Catharine Valley Chapter Trout Unlimited Trout Derby held at Eldridge Lake in Elmira on Saturday, April 30. More than 200 children up to age 15 participated in the event. Many fish were caught including this 34" northern pike that two 13-year-olds landed after a long struggle. Unfortunately, the anglers kept the fish and northern pike season does not open until May 7th. ECO Dragotta allowed the kids to take photos, issued them written warnings, and sent them home to their parents with their new Fishing Guides and a story to tell.

A New Bridge is Bad for Trout

Bridge over Beaver Brook
Bridge over Beaver Brook.

On May 13, ECO Matt Baker was contacted about work being done along Beaver Brook in the Town of Highland. ECO Baker responded to the area in question and found a newly constructed bridge across the stream, where stones and soil had been placed into the stream to create support for the bridge. The property owner was issued a summonses for depositing soil in a trout stream.

Wounded Veterans Turkey Hunt - Greene County

On May 7 and 8, ECO Anthony Glorioso participated in the annual wounded veterans turkey hunt in Greene County. The event is organized by the National Wild Turkey Federation's Northern Catskills branch. The weekend was filled with plenty of action, with 12 of 17 wounded veterans successfully harvesting a bearded turkey.

Wounded Veterans Turkey Hunt
Wounded Veterans Turkey Hunt
Wounded Veterans Turkey Hunt

Multi Agency Lobster Detail

On May 10 and 11, a multi-agency enforcement effort was undertaken to enforce the Lobster Management Area 4 (LMA 4) closure. LMA 4 consists of a portion of the Atlantic Ocean south of New York and east of New Jersey. State agencies from New York and New Jersey and the National Marine Fisheries Service jointly manage the lobster harvest in the area and recently moved the seasonal closure from February to May to limit the total lobster harvest. During the closure, the harvest of lobsters is prohibited and all lobster gear must be removed from the federally managed areas. The detail consisted of two ENCON Police boats and a New York Police Department helicopter. The crew was a combination of ECOs, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officers, the US Coast Guard and a National Marine Fisheries Service enforcement officer. Over the course of two days, illegal lobster gear from nine permit holders was located and documented for federal enforcement, three vessels were found to be illegally fishing for lobsters, and one vessel was found to be in possession of fish in a closed season and fishing with expired federal permits. The bulk of the illegal activity was occurring more than 20 miles offshore.

Staff on ENCON police boat.
Officer handling lobster.
Law enforcement on ENCON boat harvesting lobsters.
Law enforcement officials from various agencies
handling lobsters for harvest closure.

2016 Family Science Night at Bay Academy

ECO Garnsey
ECO Kim Garnsey is pictured here explaining to the
children the origins of animal pelts.

On May 11, ECOs Paul Pasciak and Kim Garnsey represented DEC in the annual Family Science night at Bay Academy in Brooklyn. Children in 6th grade were invited to speak with professionals whose careers were closely related to the field of science, and more than 600 students and their families attended. Officers Pasciak and Garnsey were a big hit with the children.

If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

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