Environmental Events & News for Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westcheser Counties (Region 3)

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Environmental Events & News for Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties (Region 3)

In This Issue:

  • DEC Announces Residential Brush Burning Prohibited
  • Recreation Highlight - Becoming an Outdoors-Woman
  • Public Comment Period
  • Environmental Conservation Officer Highlights
  • Save the Date - I Love My Park Day 2021

NYS Outdoor Burn Ban: March 16 - May 14

Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. In 2020, DEC Forest Rangers extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of more than 1,122 acres. In addition, local fire departments, many of which are volunteer, all too often must leave their jobs and families to respond to wildfires caused by illegal debris fires.

DEC will post a Fire Danger Map rating for the 2021 fire season on DEC's website once there is a moderate risk anywhere in the state.

New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents during most of the year, but prohibit such burning in spring when most wildfires occur. Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but people should never leave these fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round. For more information about fire safety and prevention, go to DEC's FIREWISE New York website.

Burning leaves

Women's History Month

Womens History Month

This Women’s History Month, we are celebrating women past and present who are advancing the work of DEC. If you are interested in growing your legacy in the outdoors, consider DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) and Beyond BOW programs.

These programs teach participants the outdoor skills they need to become comfortable, confident, influential members of the outdoor community. DEC experts provide information, encouragement, and hands-on instruction in outdoor skills such as fishing, shooting, archery, hunting, trapping, outdoor photography, map and compass, survival, camping, canoeing, and outdoor cooking.

BOW workshops are designed primarily for women who have little or no experience with outdoor activities but are open to anyone ages 18 and over. Past participants have ranged in age from late teens to mid-80s!

View the photo gallery from past BOW workshops on DEC's Flickr page.

Public Comment Period

Dutchess County

Wallace Campus Site (Poughkeepsie) Comment Deadline

DEC has received a Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application and Draft Investigation Work Plan for a site known as Wallace Campus, site ID #C314134. This site is located at 319, 325, 327-329 & 331 Main Street, Poughkeepsie. You must submit public comments about the application and draft work plan by March 26, 2021.
More Information

Orange County

Fulton Street Middletown MGP (Middletown) Comment Deadline

DEC invites the public to comment on a proposed remedy to address contamination related to the Fulton Street - Middletown Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) Site #336030 (Middletown, Orange County) within New York’s Manufactured Gas Plant Program. DEC will accept public comments about the proposal through March 27, 2021.

More Information

Westchester County

Swan Garage Supply (New Rochelle) Comment Deadline

DEC has received a Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application, Draft Remedial Action Work Plan and Remedial Investigation Report for a site known as Swan Garage Kent Supply Site, site ID #C360210. This site is located at 64 Centre Avenue, Centre Avenue lot, and 8 Westchester Place, New Rochelle. Submit public comments about the application and draft work plan by April 3, 2021.
More Information

247 North Avenue Site (New Rochelle) Comment Deadline

DEC invites the public to comment on a draft plan to investigate contamination and a proposed expedited cleanup of contamination at the 247 North Avenue Site #C360200 (New Rochelle) within New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program. DEC will accept public comments about the draft plan through April 4, 2021.
More Information

46-70 McLean Avenue Auto (Yonkers) Comment Deadline

DEC has received a Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) application, Draft Remedial Investigation Work Plan, and Draft Interim Remedial Measures Work Plan for a site known as 46-70 McLean Avenue Auto Repair Laundry Site, site ID #C360211. This site is located at 46-70 McLean Avenue, Yonkers. You must submit public comments about the application and draft work plans by April 9, 2021.
More Information

Environmental Conservation Police Office Highlights

DEC Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 2020, the 298 ECOs and Investigators across the state responded to 29,673 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,952 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

Two-thousand-and-twenty-one marks New York's Conservation Police Officers' 141st anniversary. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State. Below are examples of the work ECOs perform in your region.

Ulster County - DNA Head Case 
Deer headOn March 10, ECOs wrapped up an extensive poaching investigation with a guilty plea in the Town of Rochester court. On Nov. 19, 2019, DEC Central Dispatch received a trespass complaint about a ground hunting blind on private property. ECO Johnson and Lt. Buckley responded to the property, found the hunting blind with bait around it, and an arrow stuck in the ground. The arrow had DNA material on it, which the ECOs collected for evidence. A few days later, ECOs Johnson and Palmateer returned to the blind and found an individual hunting with the aid of bait. The officers issued a summons to the hunter, who provided information about the owner of the blind. During the investigation, the officers learned the owner might have shot a deer from the blind earlier in the season. The ECOs interviewed the owner of the blind at his residence, where he admitted to placing the bait and killing a buck during archery season. The head of the buck in question had the suspect's regular season deer tag, but the date of kill written on it was the last day of archery season. The officers seized the deer head as evidence to compare to the DNA samples collected at the bait site. DEC's Wildlife Health Unit performed a full necropsy on the deer head and determined the deer was killed by multiple small caliber bullet wounds to the neck, not an arrow, indicating the deer was killed with a firearm during archery season. Officers and investigators executed a search warrant of the suspect's residence and charged him with illegally taking protected wildlife, taking deer with an illegal implement, unlawful possession of protected wildlife, failing to tag deer as required, hunting deer with the aid of bait, and failing to report deer harvest within seven days. The defendant accepted a plea agreement for one of the misdemeanors and multiple guilty pleas for the violation-level charges. He was ordered to pay more than $1,200 in fines and surcharges.

Pictured: Seized deer head.

Westchester County - Striper Swipers 
ECOs standing in front of seized stripped bassOn March 11, ECOs Tompkins, Thibodeau, and Franz conducted a plain clothes fishing detail focused on anglers taking out-of-season striped bass. The officers patrolled George's Island Park in the town of Cortlandt and Croton Landing Park in the village of Croton-on-Hudson. During the detail, the ECOs observed several anglers taking and keeping out-of-season fish. The ECOs issued 10 citations for violations including possessing out-of-season fish and fishing without a valid license. The officers seized 42 striped bass from violators and recovered 38 striped bass from large black garbage bags concealed in a nearby wooded area. Several fish were released back into the Hudson River to survive another day and the rest of the fish were donated to a local Wolf Conservation Center.

Pictured: ECOs Tompkins, Thibodeau, and Franz with 80 out-of-season striped bass

Westchester County - Catch Undersized Fish, Pay Sizeable Fine

Undersize stripped bass seized by officers

An angler busted for taking undersized striped bass last year paid a hefty fine in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson Court. On Sept. 1, 2020, ECOs Tompkins and Crisafulli were patrolling the Hudson River when they noticed several groups fishing. The officers began checking each group for licenses and any fish caught. ECO Tompkins checked the bucket that contained many fish, including white perch. A closer look found 17 undersized striped bass in the bucket. New York State regulations restrict anglers in the Hudson River to one fish per person with a size limit of 18 to 28 inches. One of the anglers in the group took the blame for all the illegally caught fish and was issued two tickets: one for possession of undersized striped bass; and another for possession of over the daily limit of striped bass. The fisherman pleaded guilty to both charges and paid a fine of $900 for the violations.

Pictured: Undersize Striped Bass recovered by ECOs.

Save the Date - I Love My Park Day 2021 

I Love My Park Day  - the largest single-day volunteer event in NYS - will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021! With the ongoing pandemic, this year will look a little different, but will be modified for a safe, in-person I Love My Park Day event. Parks & Trails NY, in partnership with State Parks and DEC, will be hosting a more contained, two-day event on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. Registration for volunteers will open at the end of March.

See photos of the 2019 events in our Flickr album.

Group shot of volunteers for I Love My Park Day

Photo taken in 2019