- Onondaga County, New York
On Feb. 28, 2017, Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Mark Colesante received an anonymous tip that fishermen were catching and keeping over the legal limit of black crappies on the Oneida River. Knowing that the location is private, secluded, and a fishing hot spot, ECO Colesante called ECO Don Damrath for assistance. The two officers watched the fishermen reel in a few fish and head for their truck.
The ECOs met the fishermen at the truck just as they were dumping hundreds of fish from their buckets into a cooler. The men claimed half of the crappies were caught the day before, but couldn’t produce any evidence. ECOs Colesante and Damrath issued summonses for possessing crappies over-the-limit and undersized fish, returnable to Town of Clay Court.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 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 2016, the 286 ECOs across the state responded to 26,400 calls and issued 22,150 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to corporate toxic dumping and illegal mining, black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
“From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling 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 Commissioner Basil Seggos. “They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don’t receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC’s mission to protect and enhance our environment.”