The DEC is looking for environmental conservation officers, forest guards

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The Department of Environmental Conservation will organize six-month academies for up to 60 recruits next year for positions in the law enforcement and forest protection divisions.

“DEC’s Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police officers are on the front lines to protect the environment, natural resources and our New York communities and I am delighted to announce these new academies as we are continuing our efforts to train the next generation of our police force, “said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.” Since 2015, I have worked hard to strengthen the staffing levels in ECO and Forest Ranger, by organizing back-to-back academies in 2016 and 2017, and getting our last rookie degree in 2019. “

The Law Enforcement Division has over 50 unfilled vacancies. Seggos predicts there will be around 60 staff shortages by the end of the year due to retirements. If the future academy were made up only of ECO trainees, the division would be fully staffed. This has not been the case for years. However, it is likely that at least half of the trainees will be forest rangers. I think it’s going to take a while before we have the desired number of ECOs on board, if ever.

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Dutchess County is approximately 800 square miles. A corner-to-corner response, that is, from Tivoli village to Pawling village or from Beacon town to Millerton village, is an 80 km trip. Many times there is only one ECO in service, but you can still fish in one of the county’s streams or hunt deer “off-road” and be surprised by a voice asking you to show your license to it. hunting or fishing. . The “Game Wardens” sometimes seem to have mystical powers.

As has been routine for past academies, ECO training will take place at Pulaski Academy near Lake Ontario. However, the next Ranger Training Academy will be held on the campus of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in the hamlet of Wanakena near Cranberry Lake in the Adirondack Forest Reserve.

ECO’s responsibilities focus on environmental law, enforcing clean air and water regulations. They are also responsible for enforcing fish and wildlife laws. ECO’s tasks range from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, black market pet trading and emissions violations. According to the DEC, in 2020, the state’s CEOs and Division of Law Enforcement Investigators responded to 29,673 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,952 tickets or arrests.

Rangers focus on the public use of state lands and easements administered by the DEC and their duties range from patrolling state property to conducting search and rescue operations to the fight against forest fires. In 2020, DEC forest rangers conducted 492 search and rescue missions, extinguished 192 forest fires, and worked on cases that resulted in 3,131 tickets or arrests.

Both ECOs and Rangers are state police officers in their own right, and as such they are sometimes called upon to critical police deployments. Rangers and ECOs were among the first responders on scene to assist in the aftermath of 9/11, aided in the response to Super Storm Sandy, aided in the 2015 search for two felons escaped from Clinton Correctional Institution in Dannemora ECOs, originally called Game Protectors, were first named in service in 1880.

The first Rangers, originally called Fire Wardens, were commissioned in 1885 when the state legislature created the New York State Forest Reserve.

Recruits to this new class will be selected from an eligible list of qualifications and passing scores generated during the last civil service exam, which became active in April 2020. To view professional qualifications for one or more the other position, visit the DEC job description web page.

Upon graduation, recruits will be assigned patrol areas and join the ranks of hundreds of ECOs and Rangers currently serving throughout the state.

Low season this weekend

This Saturday marks the opening of the bass season here in New York City. There are new regulations for bass fishermen starting this season. The “any size” and 10-inch minimum that had been in place for many years is now replaced with a statewide 12-inch minimum height limit. The statewide limit of five fish per day remains in place.

The season of capture and release remains unchanged. Anglers can target bass from December 1 through the Friday before the third Saturday in June, but any bass caught, regardless of size, must be immediately released safe and sound. Only artificial lures may be used during the catch and release season.

The DEC Bureau of Fisheries has worked to eliminate special fishing regulations that are not used for species management purposes. Streamlined fishing regulations encourage increased participation, as we saw last year during the COVID pandemic.

A departmental minimum size assessment study for 10-inch black bass found no difference in size structures or growth of smallmouth bass in rivers managed under this regulations and those of rivers and lakes managed under the statewide 12-inch minimum size. Smallmouth bass was the focus of the assessment because it is more prevalent in rivers and streams than largemouth bass. Fishery managers have determined that there is no need to maintain the reduced minimum size for both Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass.

There is also no evidence that the catch and release season had an impact on the black bass population. Once again, I remind fishermen that unlike trout, DEC does not do regular stocking of hatchery-reared black bass. Because bass grow slowly, keep this fact in mind when deciding how much you won’t return to the water and make sure that whatever you do will end up as table dishes and stay in the back of your freezer until after. so that they are no longer palatable. .

DEC has a wealth of information from their website on freshwater fishing.

New York is a large state with a lot of waters to fish. The Statewide Fishing Opportunities pages on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov provide a good overview of some of the places to consider for fishing, including cold and hot water fishing forecasts.

The I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State was recently updated. The guide / map provides in-depth fishing, boating, and local information on 158 streams and rivers and 320 lakes, ponds and reservoirs from Montauk to Buffalo. The waters included in the publication were selected by DEC staff as the best fishing spots in New York State. Order a free copy by emailing [email protected] On the subject line, write I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State. In the body of the email, be sure to write your name and address.

Bill Conners of the Federation of Hunting and Fishing Clubs writes on outdoor issues. Email: [email protected]

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