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DEC Investigating
Massive Fish Deaths

By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR — August 29, 2003 – A Vermont construction company may be facing charges from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
According to Lt. Demming Lindsley of the DEC, a call came in from a civilian Monday that there were hundreds of dead fish lying at the bottom of Edgewood Lake in Livingston Manor, a body of water that is one of the Beaverkill’s tributaries.
Apparently, Dydo and Company of Dorset, Vt., drained 12 acres of the two-part lake to tackle a dam that had to be rebuilt.
In doing so, they left a patch of water that was only about 20 feet by 30 feet seething with fish.
“There were thousands of perch, pickerel and bass and, of course, a lot of bait fish, dead,” Lindsley said.
Officer Tim Canfield responded to the call and immediately called Lindsley in, along with Ed Van Put of the local fish hatchery.
Down in the mud, they were able to rescue about 2,000 that were still alive. Contracting Shaver Hatchery to do the work, the DEC oversaw the removal of the remaining fish which were then released in the Waneta Lake, a body of water owned by the state that’s downstream from the Edgewood property.
The DEC then began focusing on the root of the problem.
According to Lindsley, property owner Johnson Hill Associates of Arlington, Va., did apply for the proper permits to have the dam rebuilt, and Dydo was a firm experienced in those types of projects.
“The permit was dealing with the reconstruction itself,” Lindsley noted. “The permit allowed them to construct the dam so it’s safe and sound.
“It’s understood they have to dewater it,” he said.
But not to the extent that the Vermont company went. And the ecosystem is not supposed to be harmed.
Dydo has been ticketed for killing the fish as well as for releasing some of the mud sucked from Edgewood Lake into Waneta Lake.
Civil penalties can be levied for a certain amount per fish, Lindsley noted. And this is considered a DEC Article 17 violation, subject to fines of up to $25,000 per day.
Lindsley said this will probably be dealt with administratively rather than in the courts so the DEC and other experts can determine the best way to make up for the damage to the environment.
He surmised the company may be asked to restock the pond with fish or property owners might be required to make a public fishing access or other benefit to the community or ecosystem.
“I’m just shooting from the hip here,” Lindsley said. “I don’t know what will be decided.”
Dydo hasn’t yet begun work on another 10-acre section of Edgewood Lake, but they have been instructed to develop new plans for that project. The DEC will closely monitor any further progress at the site.
The company has been very cooperative thus far, Lindsley noted, and justice will be done quickly.

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