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March 23, 2021 - 2:06pm
posted by Press Release in NY Sea Grant, DEC, news, New York Great Lakes Basin.

Submitted image and press release:

New York Sea Grant, in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), today announced funding is now available for projects that engage youth under the age of 21 and address local watershed challenges and New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda priorities. A total of $200,000, up to $25,000 per project, in New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants will be awarded.

As the map above shows, Genesee County is in the New York State Great Lakes Basin.

"These grants provide a unique and critical opportunity for the next generation of New York's Great Lakes stewards to become directly involved in learning about and developing smart solutions to address local watershed challenges," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "DEC looks forward to continuing to partner with New York Sea Grant to implement the solutions that will protect and enhance the Great Lakes for generations to come."

"We are excited to see applications for innovative projects that include New York's Great Lakes' region youth in activities that will increase their awareness and knowledge of environmental and conservation issues," said New York Sea Grant Associate Director and Cornell University Cooperative Extension Assistant Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth, Ph.D., J.D., Ithaca.

Educational institutions, including, but not limited to, public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, not-for-profit organizations, county and local government or public agencies, municipalities, and regional planning and environmental commissions are eligible to apply. Projects can include outdoor and in-classroom education, hands-on training, and formal and informal educational settings.

Applications are due by April 30; instructions are online here. For more information, contact New York Sea Grant at (315) 312-3042.

New York Sea Grant administers the New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program in partnership with DEC. This small grants program is funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. For more information on New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda, click here.

More information on New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants projects and other New York Great Lakes-related information is here.

New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, and one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, New York Sea Grant has promoted coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the state's marine and Great Lakes resources. New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices in Buffalo, Newark, and Oswego. The public can connect with New York Sea Grant at this website: http://www.nyseagrant.org

October 30, 2020 - 2:42pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) announces that it will also adopt the newly added New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) veteran and active military waterfowl hunt on Saturday, Nov. 14.

This hunt will operate similar to the regular season waterfowl hunt in that individual hunting stands will be decided at 5 a.m. on the morning of the hunt through a random drawing.

The draw will be held at the Refuge Shop at 1101 Casey Road, Basom to ensure the safety of staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mapping applications may try to take you to Sour Springs Road, so ensure it is directing you to the Iroquois NWR Admin Building at the above address. 

This is a free hunt for veteran and active military personnel.

State regulations apply including required documentation, which can be found on the DEC website. Refuge specific regulations also apply. Please visit the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge website for more information.

Second Session of Waterfowl Hunting Season

Iroquois NWR will also be open for the second session of the waterfowl hunting season beginning on Nov. 28. Permits will be available online for all blinds on a first come, first serve basis.

Permits will be made available two days prior to the hunt day at 6 p.m. and close at 5 a.m. the morning of the hunt. You will receive your permit for your blind immediately via RecAccess. Since you will select your blind at check out, there will be no morning blind draw.

All other rules and regulations apply.  

For further information please see visit the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge website or contact Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge by email at [email protected] or Visitor Services Specialist Eric Schaertl at (585) 948-5445, ext. 7036.

Iroquois NWR is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

March 12, 2019 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in DEC, burn ban, fire season, news.

Press release:

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today reminds residents that with spring approaching, conditions for wildfires will become heightened and residential brush burning is prohibited March 16 through May 14 across New York State.

“While many people associate wildfires with the Western United States, the start of spring weather and the potential for dry conditions increases the risk for wildfires in New York,” Commissioner Seggos said.

“New York prohibits residential burning during the coming high-risk fire season to reduce wildfires and protect people, property, and natural resources. The ban has been extremely effective in reducing the number of wildfires, and we're encouraging New Yorkers to put safety first.”

Even though much of the state is currently blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise.

DEC posts daily a fire danger rating map and forecast during fire season on its website and on the NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App available on DEC's website. Currently, wildfire conditions in the state are low risk.

Historically, 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, dead grass, and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. State 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 in New York occur.

Since the ban was established, the eight-year annual average number of spring fires decreased by 42.6 percent, from 2,649 in 2009, to 1,521 in 2018.

Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but people should never leave such fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.

Wildfires can be deadly and destructive, and the national annual cost of their consequences can range anywhere from $71.1 to $347.8 billion, according to recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Last year’s Camp Fire in northern California destroyed the city of Paradise and killed more than 80 people, making it the nation's deadliest wildfire in more than a century.

This year, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the launch of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign, the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history.

“Smokey Bear has educated generations of Americans about their role in preventing wildfires,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Smokey’s words are still an urgent and relevant reminder for all of us to follow—‘Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires.' ”

Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack and Catskill parks, are designated "fire towns." Open burning is prohibited year-round in these municipalities unless an individual or group has a written permit from DEC.

To find out whether a municipality is designated a "fire town" or to obtain a permit, contact the appropriate DEC regional office. A list of regional offices is available on DEC's website.

Violators of the state's open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's website.

July 18, 2018 - 1:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, DEC, news, notify, batavia, Lehigh Avenue.


A four-foot long alligator was found in a vacant building at 11 Lehigh Ave., on Monday, and picked up by Encon Officer Wilson.

The alligator was initially discovered by Batavia PD but spokesman Investigator Eric Hill said the report didn't indicate how an officer found out about the alligator.

A DEC spokeswoman said the Seneca Park Zoo agreed to house the animal temporarily until it can be relocated to a permitted facility.

The case is still under investigation and she said it's illegal in New York to possess any crocodilian family without permits.

The building's listed owner is RCT Corp. The Batavian emailed a person who might be associated with that company to see if we can get more information.

Photo by Linda Cotter​.

July 13, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Iron and Metal Co., news, notify, environment, DEC.


The Department of Environmental Conservation has completed clean up of environmental contamination on city property next door to the former Batavia Iron and Metal Co. property at 301 Bank St.

The former metal recycling plant is a state Superfund site and has been a target of environmental remediation for toxic waste since 2013.

The property in question is land along the northern end of the Dwyer Stadium parking lot.

Clean up of the entire site is almost complete.

From August 2017 to June 2018, crews removed soil along the property line and at the rear of the property.

"The primary goal of the cleanup effort was to ensure effective removal and property disposal of contaminated soil and debris on City property and to restore the property with clean soil," the DEC stated in a report on the project.

The contractor was Nature's Way Environmental, from Alden.

During remediation, 17,000 tons of soil and debris was removed. 

The city property received clean soil and grass seed.

The DEC estimates the remaining surface clean up of the Iron and Metal property will be completed by late 2018.

The site was operated as a metal recycling facility from 1951 to 1999. Two furnaces operated on the property from the early 1970s until 1994. The furnaces reclaimed wire and smelted white metals. Before the furnaces were installed, the company used open-burn dumpsters to remove insulation from wiring.

From these activities, contaminants leached onto city property and three neighboring residential properties.

Cleanup of the residential properties was completed in 2014.



June 1, 2018 - 10:29am
posted by Billie Owens in Alexander, poaching, crime, turtles, DEC, news.

Law enforcement responded to Cookson Road in Alexander and the vicinity to look for a green or light blue van whose driver was reportedly poaching turtle eggs. They are with the vehicle now.

The call to dispatch came from Department of Environmental Conservation "Officer Wilson," whose office received a recorded phone message tip about the alleged poaching. He has a 30-minute ETA to the scene.

The van's data comes back to an address on Buffalo Street in Attica and the female license holder "has a history of violations."

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: "We are out with her and she has a bucket of eggs," says an officer. "She is the registered owner of the vehicle."

August 20, 2017 - 9:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, wildlife, Le Roy, DEC.

Some sort of injured hawk is reportedly perched on the fence at 8700 Vallance Road, Le Roy, at the Ontario Service Center. A Trooper is on scene and will handle, pending the response, in approximately an hour or so, of a representative from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Initially, the injured fowl was thought to be an eaglet or turkey vulture.

UPDATE 9:38 p.m.: A trooper says he's unable to locate the bird, which was reported from a passerby on the Thruway. 

May 12, 2017 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emerald Ash Borer, DEC, environment, news.

Press release:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today announced that eight existing Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Restricted Zones have been expanded and merged into a single Restricted Zone in order to strengthen the State’s efforts to slow the spread of this invasive pest. 

The new EAB Restricted Zone includes part or all of Albany, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chenango, Chemung, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Oswego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming, and Yates counties.

The EAB Restricted Zone prohibits the movement of EAB and potentially infested ash wood. The map is available on the DEC website http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7253.html.

“The expanded Restricted Zone for the destructive pest Emerald Ash Borer will help to slow the spread of this tree-killing beetle, protecting millions of ash trees in New York,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC will continue our efforts to slow the spread of this beetle and do what we can to help communities prepare for EAB.”

“It’s critical that we continue to track the Emerald Ash Borer and adjust our efforts to combat and slow the spread of this invasive beetle that damages and kills ash trees in both our forested and urban settings,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “By expanding the Restricted Zone, we can ensure that EAB and potentially infested ash wood does not leave the quarantine areas.”

Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) or “EAB” is a serious invasive tree pest in the United States, killing hundreds of millions of ash trees in forests, yards, and neighborhoods. The beetles’ larvae feed in the cambium layer just below the bark, preventing the transport of water and nutrients into the crown and killing the tree. Emerging adult beetles leave distinctive D-shaped exit holes in the outer bark of the branches and the trunk. Adults are roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inch long with metallic green wing covers and a coppery red or purple abdomen. They may be present from late May through early September but are most common in June and July. Other signs of infestation include tree canopy dieback, yellowing, and browning of leaves. 

EAB was first discovered in the United States in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. It was also found in Windsor, Ontario, Canada the same year. This Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash species (Fraxinus sp.) including green, white, black and blue ash. Thus, all native ash trees are susceptible.

EAB larvae can be moved long distances in firewood, logs, branches, and nursery stock, later emerging to infest new areas. These regulated articles may not leave the Restricted Zone without a compliance agreement or limited permit from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, applicable only during the non-flight season (September 1 - April 30).

Regulated articles from outside of the Restricted Zone may travel through the Restricted Zone as long as the origin and the destination are listed on the waybill and the articles are moved without stopping, except for traffic conditions and refueling. Wood chips may not leave the Restricted Zone between April 15th and May 15th of each year when EAB is likely to emerge.

For more information about EAB or the emergency orders, please visit DEC’s website. If you see signs of EAB attack on ash trees outside of the Restrictive Zone, please report these occurrences to the DEC’s Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652.

August 25, 2015 - 9:25am

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that special permits will be issued for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations. The permit requirement applies to waterfowl hunting at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management areas located primarily in Genesee and Niagara counties (with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties). The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.

A special permit is required to hunt waterfowl at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management areas on the duck season’s first Saturday and first Sunday. These days are the only times the special permits are needed. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit during the rest of the season. The permit system has been used successfully at both wildlife management areas in recent years. No special permits are required to hunt other game species at Oak Orchard or Tonawanda Wildlife Management areas.

DEC has announced tentative 2015-2016 duck hunting season dates. Western New York’s tentative opening day/weekend dates for duck hunting are Oct. 24 and 25. This year goose season will be open during the opening weekend of duck season, and goose hunters are also required to obtain the special permit. These dates will not be finalized until the federal regulations are adopted in late summer. Hunters are advised to confirm the final dates before hunting any waterfowl.

Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two wildlife management areas will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC will issue 100 permits for Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area and 50 permits for Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. Hunters must choose from four options: Oak Orchard first Saturday; Oak Orchard first Sunday; Tonawanda first Saturday; and Tonawanda first Sunday.

To apply for the lottery, hunters must send in a postcard with their name, address and their first three choices, in order of preference, clearly indicated. Applicants must also have completed a Waterfowl Identification Course, and their course certificate number must be indicated on the postcard.

Applications will be accepted through Sept. 15 and must be mailed to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, NY 14013. Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger.

Duplicate permits will not be issued to hunters who have already been issued a permit to hunt on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Any cards submitted by hunters who have been selected to hunt on Iroquois on the first Saturday will be excluded from the lottery for that day at both Oak Orchard and Tonawanda.

Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards. The permittee is responsible for completing and returning the questionnaire portion of the permit to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife by Nov. 15. If the completed questionnaire is not received by Nov. 15, the permittee will be ineligible for next year's (2016) lottery.

NYSDEC is also currently planning the annual Waterfowl Information meeting, which is held at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Casey Road in Alabama, Genesee County. This year the meeting will take place on the evening of Sept. 2 from 7 – 9 p.m. Wildlife biologists from Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and NYSDEC will discuss items of interest to waterfowl hunters in an informational and interactive forum.

Topics to be covered include:

--    Highlights of waterfowl management and research programs at Iroquois NWR, Tonawanda, Oak Orchard and Braddock Bay Wildlife Management areas, including drawdown schedules and hunt program news;

-    Regional and statewide waterfowl news and updates, including waterfowl banding results;

-    Atlantic Flyway news, including Avian Influenza update, and waterfowl population status surveys; and,

-    Tentative NY 2015-16 duck and goose hunting seasons.


From the NYS Thruway, take Exit 48A (Pembroke) and travel north on Route 77 to Alabama Center. Continue north on Route 63 for approximately 1 mile, turn left on Casey Road. The office is about a mile down the road on the right.

August 20, 2015 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, Deer, DEC.

Deer are causing damage in Batavia and residents say the problem is as bad as they can ever remember it, but that doesn't mean a solution will be easy to find.

DEC Biologist Art Kirsch led a two-hour meeting on the issue Wednesday night, but offered no clear answers and said it could take years for Batavia to thin its deer herd to a less destructive level.

City Manager Jason Molino agreed.

"We've got the right folks at the state level to help us," Molino said. "We've just got to get the right folks in the community to participate and try to come up with a solution. Unfortunately, the solution isn't a cookie-cutter solution and I don't think the time frame is either. I don't think what anyone can predict what type of obstacles we might receive in the process."

Several residents told of the problems they face, including Gus Galliford.

"We're concerned about the deer just ravaging our property," Galliford said. "They're coming in numbers we've never seen before. I built my house 25 years ago and lived in the neighborhood all that time, but after this past spring, they're just destroying the whole thing."

The deer have cost his family thousands and thousands of dollars, Galliford said.

Kirsch said an overpopulation of deer are a problem on at least three levels: ecological damage, car accidents and transmission of disease.

His best suggestions for now: fencing, repellents, and fertility control.

Molino suggested the city may need to set up a committee to study the issue and recommend a solution.

Reporting for story provided by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA AM/FM.

March 7, 2014 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Attica, DEC, nature.

CORRECTION: It turns out there are two people from Attica named John Volpe who rescue turtles. There is John P. Volpe, who was arrested, and John K. Volpe, who is the person we met on Creek Road in 2012. We apologize to John K. Volpe and his family for the mistaken identity.

We met John Volpe two years ago after spotting a snapping turtle trying to cross Creek Road by Baskin Livestock.

Now Volpe is in quite a bit of trouble with the Department of Environmental Conservation for his collection of turtles and birds of prey.

When we met Volpe previously, he had stopped his car on Creek Road to carry the turtle out of the road. A short time later, Volpe's wife arrived and the couple took the turtle to their place in Attica.

Volpe explained to me that he and his father often rescue turtles. He said they would take the turtle home, ensure she (or he) is healthy. If healthy, and a female, they would hold her until she laid her eggs, then release her back into the wild, then raise the babies.

"Turtles mean a lot to us," said Volpe, who is Native American.

He is now facing state charges on alleged unlicensed possession of more than 100 live native turtles, including one live wood turtle, which is currently listed as a "species of special concern" in New York State.

Volpe is also accused of having numerous live birds that require a license to possess, including screech owls, great horned owls, a snowy owl, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, gulls, a blue heron and numerous other birds.

He was also allegedly found to possess taxidermy mounts of more than a dozen species of protected birds of prey including: screech owls, great-horned owls, snowy owls, barred owls, saw-whet owls, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, kestrels and turkey vultures.

The  62-year-old also faces possible federal charges for taxidermy work on migratory waterfowl as well as possessing bald and golden eagle mounts and parts.

Volpe was allegedly found in possession in 2005 of two birds of prey. The birds were placed in a licensed facility, according to the DEC, and Volpe was given a chance to obtain a property license, but did not complete the process, the DEC said.

February 12, 2014 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, Alexander, DEC, wildlife, Eagles.

A reader wants to know why she's seen Department of Environmental Conservation agents at a location in the Town of Alexander setting up a trap and watching it.

Kenneth Roblee, a senior wildlife biologist with the DEC's Buffalo office, said the DEC is trying to capture a mating pair of bald eagles that are known to range in the area so radio transmitters can be attached to the birds.

He and a partner have been trying to trap the eagles since early December.

The eagles are of interest to the DEC because their range includes the windmill farms in Orangeville.

"We want to collect information on their home range," Roblee said. "We want to track their movements in relation to the Orangeville wind project. We know the birds are in the area. They are nesting closest to a wind project as any pair of eagles in our region. We want to know how they interact with the turbines, if they approach them at all, and how the turbines might effect their habitat."

It's an important project, he said.

"The information would really help out our eagle management and protection program," Roblee said.

The trap contains bait and hidden netting. The DEC agents watch the trap and if the eagle lands and the timing seems right, little rockets fire and ensnare the eagle in the netting.

They almost got an eagle trapped on the 30th (of January), but it didn't quite work, so the agents are still trying.

The eagles are smart. The agents have to set the trap up in the dark of night. If one wire or rope or anything else isn't positioned as exactly how the eagle would remember it, the eagle will avoid the area. If the agents are spotted, the eagles will avoid the area.

Roblee asked that we only provide a general vicinity of where the DEC is setting up the trap. He said he and his associates try to keep the neighbors informed about what they're doing, but it's best if people stay away from the area because the eagles are so skittish.

The agents are using either a blind or staying in their vehicle while watching the trap.

The trap, by regulation, must be monitored at all times by two agents, and there also must be two agents on hand to handle the eagle if captured.

The DEC officials are being assisted by two experts in eagle capture, a woman from Watertown who has previously captured 14 bald eagles and another who has done a good deal of work over the years with bald eagles.

"It's a waiting game," Roblee said. "It's frustrating, but it's important information to have."

Photo: Provided by Roblee of an eagle with bait at a location.

November 15, 2012 - 7:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DEC, hunting, outdoors, State Police.

Safety is every hunter's responsibility, Capt. Christopher Cummings, commander of Troop A, Batavia, told the press today, asking that the media help spread the message of hunter safety at the start of a new hunting season.

Since the 1960s, the number of hunting-related accidents in New York has decreased steadily, but that's no reason not to be as careful this year as any other year. That was the message of today's press conference.

"The important thing is that every individual hunter must realize that they have to make safety priority one when they go out into the field," Cummings said. "Every individual hunter is responsible for the integrity and reputation of hunting. They need to take the responsibility on themselves that they do carry that weight when they enter the woods with a firearm.

"It should be simple for the safety of hunters," Cummings added. "It should be simple. Every hunting incident that we investigate is preventable."

Capt. Frank Lauricella, Department of Environmental Conservation, offered several safety tips for hunters:

  • Always assume a firearm is loaded;
  • Make sure the muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction;
  • Keep the safety on and your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire;
  • Wear hunter orange.

It's been proven, he said, that hunters wearing orange are seven times safer than those who do not.

He said it's also important to see your target clearly and what's beyond your target.

"It's very important to remember that once you discharge you cannot call back that projectile," Lauricella said.

January 15, 2012 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, DEC.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today.

Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger.

“One of the ways that DEC monitors the health of New York’s deer herd is by performing post-mortem examinations to determine the cause of the illness or death,” said Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathleen Moser. “We depend on information provided by people who are outdoors to tell us when they see something that does not look right to them.”

Recently, DEC indentified an uncommon bacterial disease in a deer from Warren County. This bacterial disease does not affect humans. However, DEC is seeking additional information to determine the prevalence of this disease in the deer herd and is responding to reports of deer that are acting abnormally. Deer with this bacterial disease may have a swollen head, neck or brisket. They also may exhibit excessive drooling, nasal discharge or respiratory distress. To aid in this investigation, DEC would also like to examine any deer that are found dead from unknown causes.

People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger.

October 30, 2010 - 2:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Steve Hawley, DEC, outdoor wood boilers.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced this week the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has limited the impact of new regulations on existing outdoor wood boilers (OWBs).

The DEC cited the numerous comments received during the public outreach process that eventually led to the new proposal provisions. The provision to phase out the use of older OWBs in an earlier stage of the proposal was eliminated from the final text of the rule.

“Due to residents grassroots efforts through attending and participating in hearings hosted by the DEC, unnecessary regulations and costs were avoided for people who are already meeting current DEC regulations concerning OWBs," Hawley said in a news release.

"I applaud the effort of the DEC for recognizing the burden of forcing roughly 14,000 households statewide to replace their OWBs at a total cost of anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 for a new unit.”

Hawley also added that he will now continue to push DEC to listen to citizens regarding the strict open burning regulations implemented last year.

He is currently a co-sponsor on NYS Assembly Bill 7414 which prohibits the DEC from restricting the burning of garbage, refuse or rubbish in an open fire on land owned by a single family, or any part of a farm, under certain circumstances.

June 16, 2010 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in DEC, Steve Hawley, outdoor wood boilers.

The overwhelming majority of those who attended a public hearing at Genesee Community College on Monday oppose rule changes for operating wood boilers.

About 14,000 New Yorkers have wood-boiler heaters as their primary source of heat in cold weather. Proposed regulations are said to make them unaffordable and costly to retrofit, creating an economic hardship for rural residents, according to Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

His chief of staff was among more than 100 people who attended the local hearing.

Residents have until July 2 to submit written comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation and Hawley is urging them to keep up their grassroots campaign urging the DEC to scrap the plans.

The agency is conducting public hearings statewide, giving information about the newly proposed regulations and getting feedback from those affected by them.

The DEC proposal would impose new regulations on operating requirements for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers. Outdoor wood boilers would have to be at least 100 feet from neighboring properties and would have to be at least 18 feet in height.

New York is the only state considering new regulations on existing wood boilers.

“Purchasing and installing new wood boilers can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000," Hawley said in a news release. "At that price, these new restrictions are simply
unaffordable for many people whose boilers already meet the current DEC regulations.

"With only about a hundred complaints over the last four years leading to these proposed regulations, clearly this is just another example of a downstate-controlled government agency circumventing the legislature to enforce a mandate."

October 21, 2009 - 5:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in DEC.

A bear purportedly seen in the vacinity of Bank Street Road and Hawley Drive in the Town of Batavia has not been confirmed by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

That doesn't mean the rumored sighting(s) near the college has no validity, just that the DEC has not received any reports about bears around there, from the public or field officers, said spokeswoman Lisa Silvestri.

"This is the time they are moving around though," she said late this afternoon. "They are looking for food, a mate or some place to hibernate. If a bear is pregnant or has young ones, she'll usually kick out her yearlings to fend for themselves."

They're especially keen on prowling for bird feeders, she said, and people in rural areas should not put them out until the bears have gone into hibernation for the winter.

"A lot of people don't know that," Silvestri said. "But bears love (bird seed)."

If you have seen a bear in the area, let the DEC know. The Region 8 office, which includes Genesee County, is in Avon and can be reached at (585) 226-2466, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m..


October 14, 2009 - 1:54pm
posted by Tasia Boland in batavia, DEC, new york.

This morning I heard the news of the new open burn policy effective Oct. 14. Here is the link from the DEC Web site regarding the new regulations.

What do you think about the new policies?

Here is the press release

September 15, 2009 - 12:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Steve Hawley, DEC.

New regulations proposed by the DEC on open burning could cost local governments more money, according to Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

The proposed regulations would prevent open burning in areas with populations of more than 20,000 people.

“While the DEC claims that there will be no additional mandates for local governments, that is clearly untrue," Hawley said in a statement. "In fact, the DEC admits that local government waste managements will have to expand in order to accommodate the increased amount of waste the burn ban will create.  Additionally, even though the DEC estimates that the additional cost to residents would be around $50 per ton of waste, Western New Yorkers’ household budgets are already squeezed too hard.  How much more ‘big government’ can our rural communities take?”

Hawley, who voted against a similar piece of legislation, A.5457 of 2007, when it came before the Assembly (the bill was held in committee in 2008).

Full press release after the jump:

September 11, 2009 - 1:44pm
posted by Steve Hawley in fire, Steve Hawley, DEC, regulation.



Outlines Effects of New DEC Statewide Burn Ban Regulations


Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today discussed his ardent opposition to the state Department of Environmental Conversation’s (DEC) new statewide burn ban regulations while appearing on a series of radio interviews, including WHAM Talk Radio.  The new regulations, which prohibit open fires in populations greater than 20,000, were announced by the DEC last week.


“While the DEC claims that there will be no additional mandates for local governments, that is clearly untrue.  In fact, the DEC admits that local government waste managements will have to expand in order to accommodate the increased amount of waste the burn ban will create.  Additionally, even though the DEC estimates that the additional cost to residents would be around $50 per ton of waste, Western New Yorkers’ household budgets are already squeezed too hard.  How much more ‘big government’ can our rural communities take?” asked Hawley, who voted against a similar piece of legislation, A.5457 of 2007, when it came before the Assembly (the bill was held in committee in 2008).


After the failure of such legislation to pass both houses of the State Legislature, discussions about instituting new statewide burn ban regulations began in the spring of 2008.  Immediately, Hawley contacted the DEC to express his opposition to the measure and his feelings that creating a new regulation, in lieu of a law, was circumventing the legislative process.  Additionally, that July, when the DEC held public hearings regarding the initiative, Hawley appeared before the panel to verbally express his opposition.


Due to the widespread opposition from rural communities regarding a statewide burn ban, the proposal was changed slightly to allow for a number of exemptions, including allowing on-site burning in towns with populations less than 20,000.  This and a dozen other exemptions were included as part of the DEC’s final burn ban proposal announced several days ago, yet no provisions were outlined to assist local governments in affording or accommodating the increased amounts of waste.  As detailed in the DEC’s “Express Terms 6 NYCRR Part 215:”


“This is due, for the most part, to the 6 NYCRR Part 360 Regulations which were promulgated on December 15, 1988. These regulations required each county to be responsible for the management and disposal of all municipal solid waste generated in their area. Most counties formed solid waste management associations and either built a landfill, built a series of transfer stations, or both. In turn, the municipalities which were now responsible for waste disposal would pay for the cost of disposal by raising taxes, charging fees at transfer stations, or both. For example, a rural community with a population of 1000 might expect their cost of transport and disposal of solid waste to increase by as much as $12,155.00 per year. This is based on data provided by the Division of Solid and Hazardous Materials and assumes the following worst case factors: one resident in three currently uses a burn barrel to dispose of their waste; an average person produces four pounds of solid waste a day; and the cost of transport and disposal of solid waste is $50.00 per ton…

“There will likely be a need for more employees (or employee hours) at rural solid waste transfer stations and at private waste haulers. Rural solid waste transfer stations are usually small facilities where residents bring their refuse, leaves, brush and recyclables. They typically consist of nothing more than a few roll-off containers into which residents deposit their wastes. When the containers are full, they are carted off to a permitted, composite lined solid waste landfill.


“Due to the potential increase in the amount of household waste, brush, and land clearing debris, communities may need to upgrade these transfer facilities. Most rural transfer stations are located on adequate land for expansion; many of them being located at a former landfill which was closed under 6 NYCRR Part 360 regulations. Upgrades would primarily consist of large trash compactors for household refuse, and wood chippers or tub grinders for brush and land clearing debris. Some communities currently rent tub grinders on a weekly or monthly basis to reduce brush/limbs to wood chips or mulch. These products can in turn be given back to the residents or used in municipal landscaping projects.”


As Hawley explains, “Sure, right now, a waste facility in a rural community may consist of just a few bins so, in theory, asking a local government to purchase a couple more bins doesn’t seem like a huge deal.  However, the reason why there is such little waste, as used in their statistics, is because in rural communities like ours, people burn their waste to keep it out of the landfills.  The statistics that the DEC is using are not realistic, therefore, the ‘marginal’ costs they estimate for our communities cannot be on target either.”


The DEC plans to submit their proposed regulation to the state within the next few days.  If approved, the new regulation would go into effect after 30 days.  However, Hawley has signed onto and supports A.7414, bipartisan legislation to prohibit the DEC from restricting the burning of garbage, refuse or rubbish in an open fire on land possessed by a single family or any part of a farm under certain circumstances.




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