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Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's 2009 All Over Again, at least when it comes to hurricanes

It's 2009 all over again, at least when it comes to the names of Atlantic hurricanes given by the international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. Every six years the same list of names gets rotated giving 2015 the same batch of names as 2009. This holds true except when there's a storm that's so damaging and devastating that it's name gets retired. Then a different name is slipped in its place and the list continues to get recycloned. Pretty boring to me. I'd think they'd at least mix up the names each year. Anyway, they don't, so here's the list of names for 2015.


If it's a real active storm year and this whole list gets run through, the storms start taking on the names of the letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, and a bunch more that if we get that far there would be a lot more to worry about than the name of a storm.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Relax and Lose Fewer Fish

If you want to increase your odds of landing a good fish, stop thinking you might lose it. Relax, it’s only a fish.

The hard part is done, fooling the fish. Sure, everyone wants to get the fish to hand, and maybe get a quick photo and hopefully a quick release. To do that requires the right mindset. Forget about “playing” the fish. We played with the fish when we were presenting our fly, now you want to land it.

The fish gave us our fun. Now we owe our fish the respect of safe handling so he can be set free with minimal harm, if any. Though we might have felt some stress in the frustration of getting a fish to take our fly, and the nervousness that could come with landing a nice fish, we need to reduce the stress on the fish. Of paramount importance is keeping hands free of the gills and keeping the fish in the water. 

For starters, use the right rod, not too light for the strength or size of what you’re fishing for. Also use the heaviest tippet you can get away with. With these in place you need to use them to their potential. Use the mid section of the rod. The mid section will let you put more pressure on the fish. Sometimes I see anglers using just the tip of the rod. That softer, flexible section gives fish the advantage. The tip alone doesn't have enough resistance to quickly land a good fish.

A safe enough to do at home experiment is to string up your rod, tie a 5x or 6x tippet to a six or eight ounce weight then with your rod, lift the weight. The result will surprise you. Use heavier weights and see what happens. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to break off a fly caught in something like a branch by just using your rod. It’s easier to break the line by pulling on it, or giving a sudden jerk to the line. It’s the same with a fish on the line. Keep the pressure steady by slowly lifting the rod and reeling down toward the fish, always ready to let go of the reel handle when there’s a sudden surge. This will tire the fish quickly. Don’t use the reel to winch the fish in. You'll end up using too much of the rod tip and not land him quick enough.

Use a rubber or rubber-coated landing net.  They're easier on the fish’s scales and skin coating. Avoid knotted nets. The knots in those inexpensive or older style nets can damage a fish's eyes. They also damage the protective slime coating on the fish's skin.. A good net is good for the fish. It allows you to land the fish without having to tire it out too much, resulting in better recovery on release. Rubber nets can be used as an aquarium of sorts too, holding the fish in the current until its recovered and swims from the net on its own.

Being in control of your fish by not letting it zip all over and spook other fish also increases the odds for additional hookups. If there are other anglers nearby it’s just common courtesy not to spook the whole pool. Sometimes, an angler with a decent fish hooked walks down river trying to “keep up” with the fish. If others are fishing downstream it’s just plain rude since it will disturb the water they’re fishing, unless it’s truly a gigantic fish, one the size seldom seen in the water you’re fishing. Walking a fish also takes the pressure off the fish. With no pressure, the fish is resting and you lessen your chances of landing it. Lose the fear of losing fish and you’ll find you’ll do less fish walking.

So we got some of the quirks out of the way, the fish is reasonably beat, but not beat to death, and now it’s in the net. Keep the fish in the net and in the water while you remove the fly. Barbless hooks make that easier and put less stress on an already stressed fish. Hold the fish into the current, that keeps the water flowing over its gills for a quicker recovery. Keep the fish in the water until it’s recovered enough to swim away on its own. If it needs a little “push” its not ready yet.

If you want a picture and you’re alone, take the picture with the fish in the water. Bank shots in the grass are the kiss of death. If you’re with someone else, keep the fish in the water while your buddy gets ready, focused, and framed. Then on the count of two, quickly lift the fish, supporting it by the tail and under the pectoral fins, take the shot and put the fish back in the water. This process should take no more than two or three seconds. The shot you get is the shot you get. With some luck, the picture came out fine. With time and experience, the pictures come out fine more and more often.

Friday, December 26, 2014

An Enjoyable Journey into the World of the Trout

The new fly fisherman can get overwhelmed from all the information available on the sport from casting to entomology to how to read a stream. These elements can be broken down into simple and easy parts that will make your time on the water an enjoyable journey into the world of the trout.

One skill over another doesn’t take precedence to be a successful angler . Each in their own way is an important part of the process of fly fishing. Skills learned in casting are as important as knowing what fly to use. The same is true of  the techniques used to fish different types and styles of flies. But the question is; where are the fish?

It’s said that 10% of fishermen catch 90% of the fish. I don’t know where this statistic comes from, or even if it’s really true, but I do know fishermen who fish in the right place will do much better than those that don’t. So let’s take a look on how to identify these secret locations.

First, think like a fish. You’ll quickly recognize two of the most important needs for survival are food and shelter. When you have both of these occurring in the same place, you're in the right water. These areas all have names that anglers use to help in identification and in description when talking with each other. I don’t mean specific location names like Trout Pool or Rainbow Riffle, but names descriptive of the type of water you’re faced with. The location names do exist, but to get other fishermen to give up that information can be like trying to get the Coke recipe, only harder.

The names I’m referring to are riffles, runs, pools and pocket water. Let’s start with riffles. These are areas in the stream that have more of a down hill gradient that cause the water to flow quicker. A broken surface and somewhat of a gurgley appearance characterize it. A small rapid might give you the picture. These areas are higher in oxygen content and often more fertile with aquatic insect life. The broken surface makes seeing into the water difficult. It also makes it hard for trout and other fish to see out. To a fish, that equals cover. This cover and higher amount of food give two important elements that fish need; food and cover. The techniques you’ll use will vary with the behavior of the fish. When there are insects hatching and trout noticeably feeding from the surface a dry fly technique can be the most exciting method. At other times, nymphs, wet flies, and streamers will also be effective.

Riffles run into pools. Pools are deeper, sometimes wider parts of the river or stream that act to slow the current. Their depth is where fish seek cover. Feeding fish can often be found near the top, or head, of the pool where current speed still provides the cover of a broken surface or at the shallow end, or tail of the pool where feeding on surface flies is easier but still the refuge of deeper water is just a tail flip away.  Approach these areas carefully. Fish can easily see your approach and will hide in the deep water before you ever saw them.

As a riffles extends down stream it can create a run. This is usually the area just upriver of a pool. Runs can have a swift current, but usually a smoother surface than a riffle and a deeper and more defined main channel. Fish like runs because again, they provide food and cover. Are you catching the theme, food and cover? Find it and you’ll find the fish.

Pocket water is the kind of water that has more velocity like a riffle, but also has many exposed rocks or boulders. These rocks and boulders form pockets behind and alongside them that provide hiding places for fish but also lets them easily feed on what the current brings to them. The pockets also give smaller baitfish places to hide, and big fish do eat little fish. Some waters have lots of pocket water while others hardly have any.

Now that you have a visual picture of the looks and character of a stream or river it might seem that the entire place will be harboring trout.  Well, not really. In each of these stream sections there will be parts that are simply more productive, parts that are more favored by trout and other fish. Identifying these sections isn’t too difficult if you remember that food and cover are what fish are always seeking.

Break each river section down into components. What part of the riffle has the most or best cover? Are there deeper sections or sections with a more broken bottom, maybe larger stones? Keep in mind that fish are essentially lazy. They look to the current to bring them food. Current breaks, also called current seams, where two different currents meet allow the fish to hold in the slower current while watching the faster current for an easy meal. Where you see foam lines form you’ll usually find hungry fish. The same water dynamics that congregate the foam and other bits of debris also congregate aquatic insects.

In pools you might find a large rock or a dead tree. Trout will use these as hiding places, lurking in the shadows with a watchful eye for an easy meal. Deeper and larger pockets in pocket water sections act as personal mini pools to trout. Runs frequently will have undercut banks, giving trout a safe haven and a protected lookout to snatch up anything that happens by.

Yogi Berra said, you can observe a lot just by watching. On stream observation is the best way to hone your water reading skills. Lessons learned first hand are the ones most often remembered and used to your advantage. When you approach a river or stream don’t instantly jump in. Take some time to look around; watch the water for feeding fish. Sitting on the bank can be productive fishing time as long as you stay alert and enjoy the wonderful surroundings you’ve chose to be in, a place of wonder and discovery.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Memories by the Mile

I like old trucks. The manufacturer doesn't seem to matter much, just the fact that it's old. A new one is pretty to look at, but it lacks personality. Too young, I guess.

The same is true of a new sport utility vehicle. Even the name, sport utility vehicle, seems cold. Too hipster.

What ever happened to "trucks"? Old faded trucks at that. Faded paint talks to us about experience and many traveled roads. The broken-in seat is like an old pair of boots, both memories of many miles.

Truck seats are also special places for the hidden heirlooms that so often roll out from under them. Like the empty shotgun shell that brought down the first grouse pointed by a young setter whose ashes have since been scattered and washed into the earth with a tear or two.

A little rattle under the dash and a finicky AM radio always made for a fine traveling companion. Especially with a longtime fishing buddy in the front passenger seat who also has always been a little finicky and who too has recently begun to rattle.

A truck should be half as old as you are, or at the very least older than your kids. Every kid needs to remember Dad's old pickup.

Trucks should still be named in fractions. Half ton and three-quarter ton tell us a lot more about the vehicle than the snappy names given to today's sport utilities. It used to be quite simple. One ton was bigger than three-quarters that was bigger than half. Now all it seems like we have are a ton of options.

Options like automatic hubs that have taken away the simple pleasure of stepping into knee-deep mud. With today's trucks you don't need to push a floor shift to engage all four wheels. A push of a button or a self-thinking computer chip is all it takes.

Most of my friends drive new SUV's. Not that this makes them bad people, but the vehicles they bought to bring them closer to the great outdoors seems to do just the opposite. With windows up and automatic climate control engaged, they are just as far removed from the sounds and smells of the outside world as if they were sitting in traffic on the freeway.

No heirlooms ever roll out from under their seats. No coffee stains on the floor. Not even any dust from last year's grouse season rests on the dashboard. They keep their vehicles as clean as a luxury sedan. With the price of one being about the same, I can understand why.

I have been accused of abusing my truck because it hasn't had a coat of wax, or any soap for that matter, since the first month it came to live with me. An abused vehicle? Nope, it wouldn't start every time you turned the key, and it wouldn't warm you after a cold rainy morning in the field. And most important, it wouldn't safeguard so many heirlooms.

There's the ding in the tailgate heirloom from backing up the trail too fast to load an excited young boys' first buck. Then the armrest chewed by an eager young pup left alone while his master sipped coffee at a local diner early one opening day morning. The sun visor still sports a size fourteen Hendrickson dry fly, tied by a good friend and placed there as we drove to the next stream one warm spring day. I placed it there for safekeeping. I guess it worked since it's still there.

I can't forget the logging road dust on the dashboard. Down the defroster duct are some Adirondack black flies. Maine pine needles are under the seats and Cape Cod sand is ground in the carpet. When the heater is on, I can listen to the rustle of Pennsylvania oak leaves. And on days when the sun hits the exposed seat stuffing just right, I can relive the smells of a New England  dairy farm.

I know that mixed in with this potpourri are the Montana stream bed pebbles and the Maryland salt marsh grass. Like confetti on New Years Eve, the heat ducts have been known to blow a grouse feather or two.

With all of the features, luxuries and do-dads added to today's sport utilities, something has been lost. When we try to improve upon the simple basic things it never seems to work. It all turns into aluminum Christmas trees.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sign-up for the 115th Christmas Bird Count

Depending on your location, one of the dates between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015 is the date for the 115th Christmas Bird Count.

For more than a century citizen scientists have been collecting data for the longest running wildlife census collecting useful information on bird populations across the Americas. Some observers brave the elements for a few hours while others simply keep a tally from the comfort of their home logging visitors to their feeders, while others spot birds from the warmth and comfort of their vehicle.  Either way, it's an interesting and totally fun way to spend a few hours on your select day, and you don't have to be a hardcore birder to participate.
To get involved this year or to learn more about The Christmas Bird Count, visit this site: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count  Even if you live in a big city, there's a location near you

Two Florida Reptile Dealers Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring and Trafficking in Protected Reptiles

Two Florida men were sentenced on charges of conspiracy and trafficking in protected timber rattlesnakes and endangered Eastern indigo snakes on Friday, Dec. 5.  A federal judge in Philadelphia sentenced Robroy MacInnes, 55, of Inverness, Florida, and Robert Keszey, 48, of Bushnell, Florida, to 18 months and 12 months in prison respectively for their role in trafficking in state and federally protected reptiles.  MacInnes and Keszey co-owned a well-known reptile dealership, Glades Herp Farm Inc., based in Florida, and Keszey formerly hosted the Discovery Channel show “Swamp Brothers.”  The defendants will also serve three years of supervised release.  MacInees was also sentenced to pay a $4,000 fine and Keszy will pay a $2,000 fine.

Between 2006 and 2008, the defendants collected protected snakes from the wild in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, purchased protected eastern timber rattlesnakes that had been illegally collected from the wild in New York, and transported eastern indigo snakes, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, from Florida to Pennsylvania.  The evidence at trial showed that the protected rattlesnakes were destined for sale at reptile shows in Europe, where a single timber rattlesnake can sell for up to $800.  The eastern indigos were intended for domestic sale where a single snake is worth up to $1,000.  In addition to trafficking in illegal animals, the defendants attempted to persuade a witness not to provide the government with information regarding their illegal dealings.

The eastern timber rattlesnake is a species of venomous pit viper native to the eastern United States, and is listed as threatened in New York.  It is also illegal to possess an eastern timber rattlesnake without a permit in Pennsylvania.  The eastern indigo snake, the longest native North American snake species, is listed as threatened by both Florida and federal law.

Both MacInnes and Keszey were convicted on Nov. 15, 2013 after a jury trial in Philadelphia.  The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, with assistance from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Patrick M. Duggan of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Kay Costello of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

2014 List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. Twenty-two species from Hawaii and one from Independent Samoa and American Samoa were added to the candidate list, one species was removed, and one has changed in priority from the last review conducted in November 2013. There are now 146 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.

The Service is now soliciting additional information on these species and others that may warrant ESA protection to assist in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the Candidate Notice of Review.

Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose as threatened or endangered, but for which a proposed listing rule is precluded by other, higher priority listing actions. The annual review and identification of candidate species helps landowners and natural resource managers understand which species need most to be conserved, allowing them to address threats and work to preclude ESA listing.

The 23 species being added to the candidate list include the Ma‘oma‘o, a large, dusky olive-green honeyeater native to Upolu and Savaii, Independent Samoa (Samoa), and Tutuila Island, American Samoa, but now only found in small populations on the islands of Savaii and Upolu.  Also being added are 18 Hawaiian flowering plants and four ferns found on one or more of the Hawaiian Islands; all are being negatively affected by nonnative animals and plants.

Although candidate species do not receive ESA protection, the Service works to conserve them and their habitats using several tools: a grants program funds conservation projects by private landowners, states and territories; and two voluntary programs ­– Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) ­– engage participants to implement specific actions that remove or reduce the threats to candidate species, which helps stabilize or restore the species and can preclude ESA listing.

The removal of one species announced today – Packard’s milkvetch – was based on the reduction of the species’ primary threat from off-highway vehicle use, the increase in the number of known locations which increased the overall population, and the species’ overall stable population status over a five-year monitoring period.

All candidate species are assigned a listing priority number based on the magnitude and imminence of the threats they face. When adding species to the list of threatened or endangered species, the Service addresses species with the highest listing priority first. Today’s notice announces changes in priority for one species – Sprague’s pipit – based on a reduction in the imminence of the threat from conversion of habitat on the bird’s breeding grounds.

The complete notice and list of proposed and candidate species is published in the Federal Register.

The Red Knot Designated as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act

Mispillion Harbor, Delaware. Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced federal protection for the rufa subspecies of the red knot, a robin-sized shorebird, designating it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A “threatened” designation means a species is at risk of becoming endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

“The red knot is a remarkable and resilient bird known to migrate thousands of miles a year from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of South America,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Unfortunately, this hearty shorebird is no match for the widespread effects of emerging challenges like climate change and coastal development, coupled with the historic impacts of horseshoe crab overharvesting, which have sharply reduced its population in recent decades.”

Since the 1980s, the knot’s population has fallen by about 75 percent in some key areas, largely due to declines in one of its primary food resources – horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay, an important migratory stopover site. Although this threat is now being addressed by extensive state and federal management actions, other threats, including sea-level rise, some shoreline projects and coastal development, continue to shrink the shorebird’s wintering and migratory habitat.

Changing climate conditions are also altering the bird’s breeding habitat in the Arctic and affecting its food supply across its range, in particular through climate-driven mismatches in migration timing that affect the peak periods of food availability. The bird must arrive at Delaware Bay at exactly the time when horseshoe crabs are laying their eggs.

“Although historic threats in the Delaware Bay area have been ameliorated thanks to the actions of federal and state partners, our changing climate is posing new and complex challenges to the red knot’s habitat and food supply,” Ashe said. “It has never been more critical that we take positive action to save this bird.”

One of the longest distance migrants in the animal kingdom, some rufa red knots fly more than 18,000 miles each year between breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic and wintering grounds along the Gulf Coast, southeast United States and South America. One bird, banded by biologists in 1995 in Argentina, has been nicknamed Moonbird because he has flown the equivalent of a trip to the moon and at least halfway back in his 21 or more years of migrations.

Along its epic migration, the red knot, which can be identified by its rufous breast, belly and flanks during breeding season, can be found across 27 countries and 40 U.S. states in flocks ranging from a few individuals to several thousand. Although rufa red knots mainly occur along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, small groups regularly use some interior areas of the United States during migration. The largest concentration of rufa red knots is found in May in Delaware Bay, where the birds stop to gorge themselves on the eggs of spawning horseshoe crabs; a spectacle drawing thousands of birdwatchers to the area. In just a few days, the birds nearly double their weight to prepare for the final leg of their long journey to the Arctic.

International, state and local governments, the conservation community, beachgoers and land managers are helping ensure red knots have safe areas to winter, rest and feed during their long migrations. These partners help knots in a variety of ways, including managing the harvest of horseshoe crabs (which are caught for use as bait in conch and eel pots), managing disturbance in key habitats, improving management of hunting outside the United States, and collecting data to better understand these birds.

In making its decision, the Service analyzed the best available data in more than 1,700 scientific documents, and considered issues raised in more than 17,400 comments provided during 130 days of public comment periods and three public hearings. Protections under the ESA will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

As required by the ESA, the Service is also reviewing the U.S. range of the rufa red knot to identify areas that are essential for its conservation, known as critical habitat. The Service expects to propose critical habitat for the rufa red knot for public review and comment in 2015 after completing the required review of economic considerations.

Visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/redknot/ to read the final rule and response to comments; view and download video, photos and maps; and explore more resources, such as an interactive timeline and infographic. The rule will be available at www.regulations.gov on December 11, 2014, under docket number FWS-R5-ES-2013-0097

Monday, December 01, 2014



The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) initiative to crack down on illegal dumping in state parks and recreational lands has yielded eight more enforcement actions, all for disposing of debris and other materials in state-owned natural areas.

The DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” campaign was launched in late March. Investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties by Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation Officers, State Park Police, and DEP’s Compliance & Enforcement personnel has resulted so far in 28 arrests or enforcement actions.

The program is a coordinated effort of a host of DEP agencies, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, a website that serves as a hub for the entire program.

“The results of this program should continue to serve as warning for illegal dumpers that their actions will not be tolerated,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “Through our investigations, we are showing that no site is too remote to be caught and those who have no regard for the environment, wildlife or people who enjoy the outdoors will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Recent enforcement actions for the illegal dumping initiative, all conducted by State Conservation Officers, include:
  • Haroldo Recinos-Castillo, 39, of Penns Grove, was charged with illegal dumping in a Wildlife Management Area and illegal solid waste disposal, after a large debris pile – consisting of paint, insulation, concrete, windows, shingles, motor oil and household trash – was discovered this month at D.O.D. Wildlife Management Area in Oldmans Township, Salem County.
DEP’s Bureau of Emergency Response cleaned up the hazardous materials. In addition to charges, DEP is seeking restitution for cleanup of the site. Conservation Officers Wesley Kille and Jeremy Trembley investigated the case.
  • Luis Pulla, 47, and Alex Gualotuna, 34, both of East Windsor, were charged with illegal dumping and illegal solid waste disposal after two large piles of construction debris were found at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Allentown, Monmouth County, in September.
Both pled guilty to illegal dumping and each were fined $1,500, plus $1,000 each in restitution for the cost of the cleanup. The case was investigated by Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak.
  • Robert E. Davis, 41, of New Egypt, was charged with illegal dumping of construction and household debris that was found near the Lake Success section of Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County, last month. A court hearing for the charges is still pending.
  • Brian K. Rosario, 18, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with illegal dumping of solid waste, particularly a discovery of pressure treated lumber at Hammonton Creek Wildlife Management Area in Mullica Township, Atlantic County, in July. Rosario pled guilty and paid a $500 fine. The case was investigated by Conservation Officer Todd Vazquez.
  • Lyndon Long, 48, of Millville, was charged with illegal dumping of construction debris at Makepeace Wildlife Management Area in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, in July. Long pled guilty to the illegal dumping charges and paid a $400 fine. The case was investigated by Vazquez and Conservation Officer Joe Soell.
  • Clarence Mays III, 29, of Hammonton, was charged with illegal dumping and dumping of solid waste also at Makepeace Wildlife Management Area in connection with construction debris that was discovered by Officer Vazquez in June. Mays pled guilty and paid a $250 fine.
  • Christopher J. Daraklis, 18, of Absecon, was charged with illegal dumping of construction debris at Port Republic Wildlife Management Area in Atlantic County in September. Daraklis pled guilty and was fined $800. Conservation Officer Keith Fox investigated the case.
The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space’’ campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.

Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators. Information on arrests and charges filed in connection with illegal dumping will be posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.

The DEP is being aggressive in its pursuit of civil and criminal complaints against violators. Penalties for illegal dumping in state parks and in fish and wildlife areas will include criminal fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,500 per violation.  In addition, the state also will seek much stiffer penalties for major violations through the Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes the DEP and county health departments to initiate civil actions for illegal dumping violations

Illegal dumping, which includes everything from unlawful disposal of construction debris and old TVs and computers to the dumping of car parts and tires-- and even entire vehicles -- has been a growing problem in the state’s vast natural holdings in all 21 counties in recent years.

Nearly all of the state’s more than 170 publicly owned tracts, including state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, marinas, and natural lands and preserves, have been impacted by illegal dumping. These lands account for 813,000 acres of state-preserved open space.

For more information on state parks, forests and wildlife areas, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/ and http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/