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Who to call to report suspected dumping and pollution on our waterways

Public vigilance is one of the best ways to protect our waterways and natural environments. If you see suspected illegal dumping, littering or pollution of our rivers and streams please call and report it to authorities. Also report suspected illegal water withdraws from waterways and motorized vehicles driving on or damaging levees and other flood control structures and devices.

Before you call, try to get as much information about the problem (time, location, vehicle license numbers, vehicle color and other details) and write it down so you can help officials resolve the problem. Do not confront or approach anyone you think is violating conservation or water laws. Instead, observe, take notes and report.

If you see an overturned boat or paddlers on a river and they appear to be in trouble, call 911 and report the emergency immediately. Look for a sign, road, bridge or other landmark to help emergency personnel know where the emergency is taking place.

Below is a list of agencies and phone numbers to call to report any problems, damage or pollution to our rivers and streams:

River dumping or littering: Chemung County Sheriff: (607) 735-8600 or Steuben County Sheriff (607) 622-3911; or call the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation “TIPP” 24-hour telephone hotline to turn in polluters and poachers: 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332). Callers may file a complaint anonymously

Spills or dumping: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spill hotline: 1-800-457-7362 or the DEC Elmira office, (607) 732-2214 or DEC Bath office, (607) 776-2165.

Illegal water withdrawal: Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Sayre, Pa. office: (570) 731-4839.

Vehicles damaging levees or other flood control structures: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or your local police department.

State DEC Conservation officers: Chemung County officer Toni Dragotta, (607) 331-7458. New York Department of Environmental Conservation officers work out of their homes and patrol the county where they live. When conservation officers are on patrol you can contact them through the Division of Law Enforcement dispatch at 1-877-457-5680.

Giant hogweed invasive plant species: For information and answer to questions about this hazardous plant and how to control it and connect with a statewide control project, call the NYS DEC giant hogweed hotline at (845) 256-3111. Do not touch the plant with your bare skin.

River emergencies: Call 911 or your nearest law enforcement agency to report a boater or anyone in danger on the river. If possible, stay on shore and keep the victims in sight or mark a spot on shore where you last saw the people in danger. This will help emergency responders to quickly rescue those in trouble.

Remember, your eyes and ears, can help protect our waterways and assure they are clean, safe and fun to use for years to come. Take a stand. Take action. Take responsibility.

Friends of the Chemung River Watershed • 111 N. Main St., Elmira, N.Y. 14901 • (607) 846-2242 • riverfriends@stny.rr.com