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Maryland Fishing Report – July 28

Photo of angler holding a sea bass on a boat

Angler Garrett Bucy, age 14, caught this pretty sea bass while fishing with his dad off Ocean City.

The striped bass fishery will reopen Sunday, August 1. During the closure, anglers are targeting alternate species such as catfish, perch, spotted sea trout, red drum, bluefish, cobia, and Spanish mackerel. Sea bass have been a reliable target fish for ocean anglers with the warm weather and calm seas.

Throughout the summer, be sure to check the striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species during harsh conditions.

Read more…


Lingering Impacts from Extreme Weather Events Affect Chesapeake Bay Underwater Grasses in 2020

Annual Report Shows Overall Decline with Improvement in Several Areas 

Photo of submerged aquatic vegetation

Photo by Brooke Landry, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports a third consecutive year of underwater grass loss in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay in 2020. During the annual survey, 34,882 acres of underwater grasses were mapped in Maryland, representing 44% of the state’s 2025 restoration target and 30% of the ultimate restoration goal of 114,065 acres.

Record high rainfall and stream flows into the Chesapeake Bay in 2018 and 2019 led to higher levels of nutrient and sediment pollution, changes in salinity, and poorer water clarity in many of Maryland’s waterways. Habitat conditions remained poor in 2020, and underwater grass abundance declined 13% overall from the previous year.   Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 21

Photo of boy holding channel catfish

Ethan Zlokovitz caught this channel catfish from shore on a menhaden chunk near the mouth of the Magothy River.

With the striped bass fishery currently closed, anglers are targeting alternate species such as catfish, perch, spotted sea trout, red drum, bluefish, cobia, and Spanish mackerel.

Anglers are reminded that the striped bass fishery is closed in the Chesapeake Bay until August 1 to lessen catch-and-release mortalities of undersized striped bass. Throughout the summer be sure to also check the striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species during harsh conditions.

Read more…


Trio Loses Hunting Privileges for Poaching Antlerless Albino Deer

PatrolThree Garrett County men were convicted of multiple counts of deer poaching and had their hunting privileges suspended following charges filed by the Maryland Natural Resources Police for the illegal killing of an albino deer in fall 2020. Read more…


A Reminder to Marylanders: Keep Wildlife in the Wild

State Reminds Residents to Observe Wildlife from a Safe Distance and to Not Feed or Pet Wild Animals

Photo of three baby raccoons in a tree

Photo by Jessica Nelson, submitted to the 2018 annual Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

Each year during the spring and summer months, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) receive reports of captive wildlife situations in which residents attempt to care for or possess wild animals. These attempts are often made with good intentions but pose serious risks to both the animals and humans involved.

Any wild animal, especially young wildlife, should be left alone in their natural environment. It is safe to observe wildlife from a distance, but do not attempt to feed, pet, or rescue any wild animal. Maryland law prohibits residents from possessing certain wild animals, including deer, raccoons, and foxes. Attempting to “rescue” any young wild animal, even those that appear vulnerable or to have been abandoned, risks interfering with the animals’ natural adaptation to their environment and the development of their basic survival skills. Additionally, attempting to care for wild animals potentially exposes caregivers to diseases that may cause human illness. Read more…


Nesting Platform Initiative Launched for Endangered Birds in Coastal Bays

Conservation Partnership Deploys ‘Island’ for Colonial Nesting Waterbirds

Photo of floating platform with decoy birds

Photo by Dave Brinker, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Audubon Mid-Atlantic, and Maryland Coastal Bays Program are partnering in research and monitoring efforts to preserve three of Maryland’s state endangered colonial nesting waterbirds — the common tern, royal tern, and black skimmer. Read more…


Maryland Partners to Create Delmarva Woodland Stewards Program

Initiative Funded to Promote Wildlife and Fire Protection, Wood Markets

Photo of tree seedlings being grown

Seedlings growing at the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery. Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service has awarded funding of $280,852 to the Maryland Forest Service to work with the University of Maryland Extension and many public and private partners across the Delmarva Peninsula to establish a new training and outreach program, the Delmarva Woodland Stewards. 

Funding from the federal Landscape Scale Restoration Grant program will be used by the partnership to demonstrate, educate, and provide outreach that will enhance forest and wildlife management practices, promote the ecological benefits of prescribed fire, pursue tree planting opportunities for water quality, and highlight the need for low grade/biomass markets in forest health, restoration, and sustainability.  Read more…


Grants Gateway Open for FY23 Resilience and Restoration Funds

Department Accepting Grant Applications from Governments, Nonprofits

Photo of heavy equipment and workers restoring a shoreline

Resilient shoreline and wetland features being installed at the West River United Methodist Center recreation complex in Anne Arundel County in May 2021. Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the Grants Gateway application is open for local governments and organizations for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins July 1, 2022. Through this process, funding is available for projects that restore local waterways, increase communities’ resilience to climate change and storm impacts, strengthen local economies, develop the next generation of environmental stewards, and foster sustainable development and use of Maryland waterways with projects that benefit the general boating public.

The department’s Grants Gateway provides a streamlined, single point of entry to several state and federal programs, maximizing the resources available to restore the Chesapeake Bay and help coastal communities. The system, now in its third year, enables communities better access to financial resources and a more intuitive reporting and management process. Read more…


Natural Resources Police Report — June 2021

Photo of two NRP officers on boat patrolThe Maryland Natural Resources Police recently charged several individuals throughout the state for illegal activities including weapons charges at a state park, operating watercraft while intoxicated, illegal fishing, and more.  Read more…


June 2021 Chesapeake Bay Hypoxia Report

Dissolved Oxygen Best on Record for Early June

Image of comparative graph of historic hypoxic volumesData collected by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Old Dominion University show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Chesapeake Bay mainstem of Maryland and Virginia were better than average in June 2021. The hypoxic water volume — areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 0.21 and 1.28 cubic miles during early and late June monitoring cruises, compared to historical early and late June averages (1985-2020) of 0.89 and 1.31 cubic miles. The early June report ranks as the best on record, and late June was slightly better than average.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 14

Photo of woman holding up a snakehead

Dien Mbaku spent a summer day fishing for northern snakeheads near the Blackwater River in Dorchester County. Photo courtesy of Dien Mbaku

Summer heat is upon us and many are seeking relief near waters across the state, from cool mountain streams of Western Maryland to the surf and offshore sites of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a good opportunity to seek and pursue the wide variety of fish found in our waters.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers the upcoming striped bass closure period in the Chesapeake Bay begins July 16 and runs through July 31, to lessen catch-and-release mortalities of undersized striped bass. Throughout the summer be sure to also check the striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species during harsh conditions.

Read more…


Maryland Waterfowl Blind Site Licensing Process Now Available

Online Lottery, Virtual Appointments To License Blind Sites

Photo of hunter in an offshore waterfowl blind

Photo by Jake McPherson, Ducks Unlimited. Used with Permission.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now offering an online-only process for Maryland hunters to apply for a 2021-2022 waterfowl blind site license. From now through July 26 at 11:59 p.m., hunters may enter the lottery for the opening days of blind site licensing through the department’s Compass portal. 

Hunters can register to be entered into a random lottery for a county of their choice. Landowners who would like to license their own property may also enter the same lottery. Read more…


Maryland 2021 Black Bear Hunt Lottery Now Open

Application Deadline Aug. 31; Drawing Sept. 3

Photo of black bear in woods

Photo by Bob Geary, 2018 entry in the Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the 2021 black bear hunt lottery. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the five-day hunting season which will take place Oct. 25-29 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. The department will issue 950 hunting permits this year. Read more…


Secretary’s Message — July 2021

Leaving a Positive Impact in our Wake

Photo of sunset over Chesapeake Bay

Photo by Krystle Chick, 2015 submission to the Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Sarah Taylor-Rogers, former Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary, Maryland Environmental Trust board member, and longtime leader and champion of environmental stewardship in Maryland.

Dr. Taylor-Rogers was the first woman to head our department and her public service and dedication to conservation will long be remembered. We will benefit from her legacy for generations to come. Read more…


Governor Hogan Awards $22 Million for Chesapeake Bay Restoration Projects

Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Supports 123 Unique Sites

Image of Map of Resilience Funding Projects

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the award of $22 million to 25 ecological restoration projects that will improve water quality and habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, while building local resilience to climate impacts. These awards encompass 123 unique sites that will be restored using best management practices, including riparian buffer and reforestation plantings, stream restoration, stormwater management, and wetland creation.

“Our administration has committed record investments in bay restoration and remains committed to preserving this national treasure,” said Governor Hogan. “These funds will improve the quality of our bay, and make Maryland a better and more resilient place for generations to come.”  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 7

Photo of man on a boat holding a black sea bass

Photo by Monty Hawkins

July is providing some exciting promise for Chesapeake Bay anglers as reports of cobia, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel entering the lower Bay are becoming more common. Offshore of the Atlantic Coast, fishing for sea bass is excellent right now.

Anglers are reminded of the upcoming striped bass closure period in the Chesapeake Bay from July 16 through July 31, to lessen catch-and-release mortalities of undersized striped bass.

Hot summer weather creates tough conditions for striped bass survival, which is also why DNR introduced its striped bass fishing advisory forecast for the warmest months each year, so anglers can better plan their fishing for striped bass to lessen mortalities.

Read more…


Monitoring Buoy to Help Research Marine Mammals off Atlantic Coast

Technology Provides Environmental Data for Offshore Wind 

Photo of buoy in the ocean

Photo by Mark Baumgartner, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have launched an ocean buoy that monitors and provides daily reports of whales detected off Maryland’s Atlantic coast. 

A wide range of whales, dolphins, and porpoises call the ocean offshore Maryland home or visit during their annual migration along the Atlantic coast. The buoy supports the state’s ongoing efforts to expand our understanding of marine mammals and to support research that will aid environmental assessments such as those conducted for offshore wind development. This buoy will provide information about these species and the time of year they are present. Read more…


Maryland Conservation Corps Recruiting for 2021-22 Season

Young Adults Can Gain Practical Experience and Skills Training

Group photo of MCC members in a wooded areaThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now recruiting members for the Maryland Conservation Corps, an award-winning AmeriCorps program that engages young adults aged 17-25 in extensive conservation, environmental and natural resources management projects across the state.

The department seeks to hire 35 full-time members who will work on seven teams for an 11-month period, beginning in late September 2021. Read more…


Bird Illness Investigation Continues in Several States

Update as of July 2, 2021

Logo of Maryland Department of Natural ResourcesIn late May, wildlife managers in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs. More recently, additional reports have been received from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. While the majority of affected birds are reported to be fledgling common grackles, blue jays, European starlings, and American robins, other species of songbirds have been reported as well. No definitive cause(s) of illness or death have been determined at this time. No human health or domestic livestock and poultry issues have been reported. Read more…


Maryland Awards Climate Resilience Grants to Seven Communities

Funds Support Planning and Design of Green Infrastructure Solutions

Photo of two women in a marshy shoreline checking information on clipboards

Maryland DNR staff monitor restoration projects to track how these efforts are responding to climate change.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the award of $415,000 to seven climate resilience projects to help communities prepare for, and recover from, climate-related impacts. These competitive grants are designed to help communities plan and design solutions to withstand flooding and other weather-related events. 

The projects selected will identify and prioritize vulnerable communities, incorporate climate change data and information into existing plans and policies, and develop nature-based or natural solutions to control flooding. Funding is provided by Governor Hogan’s Resiliency Through Restoration Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Read more…


Outdoor Environmental Education Grants Awarded for Watershed Studies

Funding Supports Projects Fostering Science and Stewardship for Students

Photo of school-age boy and girl studying aquatic wildlife outdoorsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced $160,000 in awards for student and youth outdoor science and watershed education in the state. The following schools and nonprofit organizations will receive funding during Fiscal Year 2022. Read more…


Maryland’s Operation Dry Water Commences for Holiday Weekend

Campaign Highlights Importance of Sobriety on the Waterways

Photo of Natural Resources Police boat in motion on the waterAs part of a nationally coordinated effort to educate boaters about the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will participate in the annual Operation Dry Water campaign. This campaign aims to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water.

Operation Dry Water weekend, July 2-4, includes amplified recreational boater outreach, education, and coordinated enforcement surrounding boating under the influence. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 30

Photo of boy holding a yello perch

This young angler proudly displays his catch at Gunpowder Falls State Park. Photo by Ranger Angela Crenshaw.

It’s the Fourth of July weekend, a time of family and friends getting together to enjoy each other’s company and the great outdoors. People naturally gravitate to water this time of the year, and our younger anglers are enjoying fishing for anything that will bite.

The last Maryland license-free fishing day for the year is on July 4, presenting a great opportunity to take someone on their first fishing adventure without needing to purchase a license. 

Anglers are reminded of the upcoming striped bass closure period in the Chesapeake Bay from July 16 through July 31, to lessen catch-and-release mortalities of undersized striped bass. Hot summer weather creates tough conditions for striped bass survival, which is also why DNR introduced its striped bass fishing advisory forecast for the warmest months each year, so anglers can better plan their fishing for striped bass to lessen mortalities.

Read more…


Governor Hogan Announces $13.5 Million in Maryland Waterway Improvement Fund Awards

Funding for 60 Boating Access, Navigation, and Safety Projects in 19 Counties

Photo of state and local officials gathered in fire department

The Town of Ocean City Fire Department is among the recipients of Waterway Improvement Fund dollars in Fiscal Year 2022, receiving funds for a fire and rescue vessel engine replacement. Photo by Steve Kwak.

Governor Larry Hogan today announced $13.5 million in Waterway Improvement Fund grants for Fiscal Year 2022 to enhance and improve public boating access, facilities, and navigation throughout the state. 

“Boating is not just an important part of our history and our culture, it is also an important part of Maryland’s economy,” said Governor Hogan. “The announcement of these new grants is yet another shining example that Maryland is open for business, open for summer, and open for boating.” Read more…


Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors Named in Ocean City

‘Deputized’ Ambassadors Help Promote Maryland Outdoor Recreation

A longstanding fishing club that promotes marine conservation and a nonprofit organization that teaches surfing to autistic children have been named Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors in Ocean City for their efforts to promote and expand access to the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities. 

Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, and Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio named the ambassadors during site visits to their facilities. As part of their responsibilities, the ambassadors will continue working to promote the state’s status as a leading destination for outdoor recreation. Read more…


Robert C. Kersey Named Deputy Superintendent of Natural Resources Police

NRP Veteran Officer Assumes Role of Second-in-Command

Photo of Major Robert KerseyThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that 29-year department veteran Robert C. Kersey will serve as deputy superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) effective immediately. Read more…


Maryland’s Fire Teams Complete COVID Vaccination Deployment

Emergency Responders Helped Prevent A Different Kind of ‘Wildfire’

Photo of tents set up outside a stadium

Maryland responders were among those deployed to Dover International Speedway in Delaware for mass vaccination clinics.

Maryland’s interagency firefighters and emergency medical technicians, usually deployed to help fight wildland fires nationwide, have completed several deployments to assist mass COVID vaccination efforts in Maryland and other East Coast states.

Maryland provided 20 Incident Management Team members and Emergency Medical Technicians to staff this mission. The majority of those deployed were volunteers. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), through the Maryland Forest Service, manages and oversees these deployments as part of a national agreement.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 23

Photo of boy holding a largemouth bass

Young Brayden Pielert got to go fishing with his dad at a nearby pond and the smile on his face says it all. Photo by Noah Pielert

Summer is in full swing and those who have been sequestered by pandemic, work, or school are flocking to the outdoors. Maryland State Parks are having another busy season, and just viewing the weekend traffic headed towards the beaches or western mountains makes it clear folks want to get out and do something.

Many Marylanders are also finding plenty of outdoor recreation close to home; fishing in small ponds and similar waters offers plenty of exciting fishing fun.

The last Maryland license-free fishing day for the year is on July 4, presenting a great opportunity to take someone on their first fishing adventure without needing to purchase a license. 

Anglers are reminded of the upcoming striped bass closure period in the Chesapeake Bay from July 16 through July 31, to lessen catch-and-release mortalities of undersized striped bass. Hot summer weather creates tough conditions for striped bass survival, which is also why DNR introduced its striped bass fishing advisory forecast for the warmest months each year, so anglers can better plan their fishing for striped bass to lessen mortalities.

Read more…


Supporting Royal Silkworm Moths in Maryland

Female Luna Moth by Tim Ray

Luna Moth by Tim Ray (Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest)

Did you know? Over 2,600 species of moths can be found in Maryland! While large, showy species like the Luna Moth are often thought about, Maryland moths are extremely diverse, and many are very small (aka micro moths). Moths serve different ecological roles such as pollinating plants and feeding other organisms like birds. In addition, some moth species like the invasive gypsy moth can be pests. Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Photo of black walnut in flower

Black walnut in flower by stanze CC by SA 2.0

Black walnut  (Juglans nigra) is a stately tree with an oval to round crown that looks great in front yards. It is part of the walnut family (Juglandaceae) which also includes pecans and hickories. It has long been used for food, dye, and as a highly prized wood source.  Read more…


Maryland Native Wildlife: Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

# 7715 – Dryocampa rubicunda – Rosy Maple Moth

Adult rosy maple moth by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren CC BY 2.0

Have you seen one of Maryland’s showiest moth species, the rosy maple moth? This colorful moth is one of the smaller silk moths in the family Saturniidae.  Read more…


In Our Hands: Giving Local Box Turtles a Boost

During this time of year, box turtles are on the move. Why? They are looking for love and are laying eggs. These mid-sized turtles often don’t travel far from their typical homes, but they will cross roads and other obstacles to get back to their breeding grounds.  Read more…


‘Create Your Own State Park’ Returns for 2021 Season

Participants Can Support Nature and Win Park Prizes

Photo of hand drawn map of backyard state park

Photo by Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Park Service is challenging Marylanders everywhere to join a new tradition — Create Your Own State Park at home!  Begun during the pandemic in 2020, this innovative series of activities — with prizes available for participants — teaches Marylanders how to provide their own place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature, create wildlife habitat, attract more birds and butterflies, and have plenty of fun.  Read more…


Maryland Bear Sightings Increase During Summer Months

Black Bears Roam Far and Wide in Seasonal Movements

Photo of bear near back porch

Bear sighting near Barton in Allegany County, June 2016. Photo by Glenn Miller.

Throughout June and July, visitors and residents of Maryland’s bear country may encounter more bear sightings than they would at other times of the year. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is receiving active reports of bears in suburban counties, which is a normal occurrence and no cause for concern. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 16

Photo of man and two boys with a basket of blue crabs

Carson and Conner Hoffmaster went crabbing recently with mom, dad, and granddad (who flew in from Wisconsin). Photo by Brad Hoffmaster

All of us at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources wish all the dads and grandfathers out there an enjoyable Father’s Day this Sunday, June 20. A major part of this celebration for many is spending time outdoors — including a lot of fishing — with their youngsters. 

The last Maryland license-free fishing day for the year is on July 4, presenting a great opportunity to take someone on their first fishing adventure without needing to purchase a license. 

Anglers should take note of a striped bass closure period in the Chesapeake Bay from July 16 through July 31, to lessen catch-and-release mortalities of undersized striped bass during warm water and depleted oxygen conditions. Hot summer weather creates tough conditions for striped bass survival, which is also why DNR introduced its striped bass fishing advisory forecast for the warmest months each year, so anglers can better plan their fishing for striped bass to lessen mortalities.

Image of striped bass 7-day fishing advisory forecast, with green flags Wednesday through Saturday, yellow flags Sunday and Monday, and a green flag Tuesday

Read more…


Citations Issued for Poaching, Illegal Fishing, and Other Violations

Photo of police truck at Patapsco Valley State ParkAs more people head outside for warm weather activities, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) have remained busy protecting the state’s wildlife, fisheries, and public lands. The following individuals were recently cited for a variety of conservation law offenses in Maryland: Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 9

Photo of girl holding a bluegill fish

Young angler Lucy Perez recently caught this bluegill, which are found in quiet waters such as lakes, ponds, and slow-flowing rivers and streams.​ Photo by Nick Perez.

Summer weather is upon us and many are seeking a little relief near water. That little bit of sanctuary can range from enjoying the ocean waters of Ocean City and Assateague Island to exploring small creeks and streams from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has two more free fishing days coming up, which allows folks to fish anywhere in Maryland without a fishing license, on June 12 and July 4. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce someone new to the world of fishing.

Read more…


Secretary’s Message — June 2021

Celebrating the Great Outdoors

Photo of dock extending into Chesapeake Bay

Photo by by Anne Weathersby, submitted in 2016 to the Maryland DNR Photo Contest,

June is Great Outdoors Month so the Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites you to join us in celebrating outdoor recreation in Maryland! This month also marks Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week  (June 5 through the 13) which fits in nicely given that this year’s theme is celebrating recreational opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

Finding ways to celebrate – and participate – will be the easy part. Maryland boasts a variety of unique and world class opportunities for outdoor recreation and a trail system second-to-none. In fact, outdoor recreation in our state generates 109,000 direct jobs, $14 billion in consumer spending, $4.4 billion in wages and salaries, and $951 million in state and local tax revenue.  Read more…


Spring Turkey Hunters Harvest 3,910 Turkeys

Month-long Season Started with Youth Hunt

Photo of wild turkey in a field

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland hunters harvested 3,910 wild turkeys during the spring 2021 regular and junior turkey seasons, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported. This year’s harvest was 9% below the record harvest of 4,303 set in 2020, but still 4% above the 10-year average. Read more…


Resiliency Through Restoration Program Breaks Ground at Church Camp

Living Shoreline and Wetland Installation in Anne Arundel County

Photo from aerial drone of shoreline project at camp with marina

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces resilient shoreline and wetland features are being installed at the West River United Methodist Center, a camp and outdoor recreation facility in southern Anne Arundel County. This groundbreaking is the first of numerous projects supported by Governor Hogan’s Resiliency through Restoration Initiative.  Read more…


Maryland’s Wild Turtles Are on the Move

Help Turtles Cross the Road, But Keep them Wild

Photo of turtle with legs pulled into its shell, sitting on a pavement

Eastern box turtles are among those commonly found crossing – or sitting on – Maryland’s roads. Photo by Ranger Elena Gilroy/Maryland Department of Natura Resources.

Wild turtles are currently heading to their breeding and nesting sites throughout Maryland. During this time of year, wild turtles can often be seen crossing roads and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges drivers to be cautious and give turtles a “brake.”

Common turtles found on the road include eastern box turtles, snapping turtles, painted turtles, and red-eared sliders. In coastal areas, diamondback terrapins — Maryland’s state reptile — can also be common on roadways. Read more…


Maryland Receives Funding to Develop Wood Energy Projects

Funds Support Market Opportunities for Forest Products Industry

Photo of forest products worker sawing log with a chainsaw

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Maryland Forest Service has been awarded nearly $250,000 for a Wood Innovations Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop priority projects with the Maryland Wood Energy Team. This partnership with the Maryland Clean Energy Center, Maryland Department of Commerce, University of Maryland Extension, the USDA Forest Service, and others aims to develop wood energy facilities that will produce new jobs and develop renewable energy markets for underutilized forest products, which will in turn benefit the health of Maryland’s sustainable forests.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 2

Photo of boy sitting on a dock with large striped bass

Richard Hoene was sitting at a dock in Ocean City on Memorial Day weekend and, being an ever hopeful and dedicated angler, cast a line into the water. His efforts were rewarded with this large striped bass. Photo courtesy of Richard Hoene

One of the most important lessons in any kind of fishing is the value of eternal hope — and that no matter the conditions, you do not stand a chance of catching a fish unless you have a line in the water.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has some free fishing days coming up, which allows folks to fish anywhere in Maryland without a fishing license on June 5, June 12, and July 4. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce someone new to the world of fishing.

All areas in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers are now open to striped bass fishing. The minimum size for striped bass is 19 inches with a limit of one fish per day. 

Read more…


Know Before You Go: Boaters Should Always Check the Weather

An Eye to the Skies Can Avoid Disaster

Photo of storm approaching

Photo by Lisa Creamer, submitted to the 2019 Maryland DNR Annual Photo Contest

Boating in Maryland is an enjoyable and exciting experience, but it can quickly turn into disappointment or even disaster for boaters who fail to check the weather before departing shore. 

Every summer, the Maryland Natural Resources Police responds to multiple boating accidents due to rough waves and inclement weather.  During the season, the weather can change in an instant — which makes it essential that all boaters check the weather before leaving shore and remain watchful for ominous weather signs.  Read more…


Marine Wildlife Making Their Return to Maryland Waters

Waterway Users Urged to Report Summer Aquatic Visitors

Photo of dolphins diving in the water

Photo by Mark Odell/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

As summer approaches, marine wildlife — dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, whales, and others – are making their seasonal return to the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, as well as the Atlantic coastal bays. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anyone who has seen either a marine mammal or sea turtle in Maryland waters to report it to the state Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding program at 800-628-9944. Anglers, boaters, and beachgoers should especially be on the lookout for these creatures.  Read more…


Maryland State Parks Prepare for Busy Summer Season

DNR Raising Awareness on Keeping Parks Clean and Green

Image of Poster -- Keep Your Park Green, Keep it Clean!Maryland State Parks have surpassed visitation records the past two years, and 2021 is on track to meet or exceed these unprecedented numbers. Although visitation to Maryland’s parks is traditionally heavy in spring, numbers ramp up even more significantly during the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to the summer season. 

While the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased that more people are getting into nature and discovering our 75 beautiful State Parks — many for the first time — this trend has brought with it some significant challenges. The sheer number of visitors, compounded with many newcomers inexperienced with outdoor, resource-based recreation has led to substantial increases in litter, trail damage, parking issues, user conflicts, and other resource impacts.  Read more…


Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors Named in Wicomico County

‘Deputized’ Ambassadors Help Promote Maryland Outdoor Recreation

A hunting outfitter, a nonprofit running club, a special needs sports facility, and an outdoors television program have been named Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors in Wicomico County for their efforts to promote and expand access to the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities. 

Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz and Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio named the ambassadors during site visits to their facilities. As part of their responsibilities, the ambassadors will continue working to promote the state’s status as a leading destination for outdoor recreation. Read more…


Horseshoe Crab Migration Arriving on Maryland Shores

Annual Event Spawns New Generation of ‘Living Fossils’

Photo of horseshoe crabs on beach at nightMaryland’s shores welcome back the annual return of the horseshoe crabLimulus polyphemus — in one of the world’s oldest and largest wildlife migrations. 

For an estimated 350 million years, these prehistoric creatures have migrated into Maryland’s coastal bays from their winter habitats to spawn along the coastline and subtidal habitats. Although called “crabs” they are in fact arthropods.

The height of horseshoe crabs spawning revolves around late spring and early summer high tides, culminating on or around each full and new moon in June.  On average, one spawning female horseshoe crab will deposit 20,000 eggs into the sand.   Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 26

Photo of youth holding a largemouth bass

Angler Hajime Toya caught this 21.7-inch largemouth bass recently at Pine Lake, Montgomery County.

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and families and friends will be celebrating with picnics and family gatherings in the great outdoors. We should all take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of the occasion and remember those who sacrificed everything to assure us the freedoms we all enjoy. Many Marylanders and visitors will be enjoying a long weekend traveling to beaches and our state and local parks. Warmer water temperatures will have many species of fish ready and waiting for them.

Please join us May 27 at noon for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar with guest Jacob Shaner of the Maryland Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Response Program. As part of the busy fishing season, anglers and boaters may see marine animals and sea turtles. Join us to learn more about our program and what you should do in the event you find a stranded marine animal in Maryland waters. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has some free fishing days on the horizon, which allows folks to fish anywhere in Maryland without a fishing license on June 5, June 12, and July 4. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce someone new to the world of fishing. Read more…


Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Shows Healthy Female Abundance

Recruitment Down but Spawning Stock Remains at Above Average Levels

Photo of blue crabsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the results of the 2021 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, a cooperative effort with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which annually estimates the number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

The 2021 results showed that the spawning age female abundance increased from 141 million spawning age female crabs in 2020 to 158 million spawning age female crabs. This year’s survey estimate is above the long-term average of 126 million spawning age female crabs. Read more…


Maryland License-Free Fishing Days Offered in June and July

Opportunity for New and Returning Anglers Statewide

Photo of woman and daughter fishing from a bridgeThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces upcoming license-free fishing days for 2021 on June 5, June 12, and July 4 — a free option to explore Maryland’s diverse and unique fishing experiences without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration.

Maryland hosts license-free fishing days annually on the first two Saturdays in June and on the Independence Day holiday. On these days, any individual may catch and possess finfish in any tidal and nontidal waters of Maryland, as long as it’s for recreational purposes. All anglers must follow current size and catch limits found in the department’s fishing and crabbing guide Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 19

The Berlin family caught a great mix of fish during a recent day out near Havre de Grace. Photo by Brandon Berlin

The Berlin family caught a great mix of fish during a recent day out near Havre de Grace. Photo by Brandon Berlin

There are few joys more satisfying than seeing the excitement of a child enjoying the wonders of nature — and especially fishing. Sharing the experience with a young and new angler is a lasting moment for any parent or mentor.

Please join us May 27 at noon for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar with guest Jacob Shaner of the Maryland Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Response Program. As part of the busy fishing season, anglers and boaters may see marine animals and sea turtles. Join us to learn more about our program and what you should do in the event you find a stranded marine animal in Maryland waters. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Striped bass fishing entered a new phase on May 16, as anglers in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay may keep one striped bass per day with a minimum size of 19 inches. Some restrictions continue in many of the tidal river areas until May 31, after which all tidal areas in Maryland will be open to fishing for striped bass. Details on areas and dates for striped bass fishing can be found on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

Read more…


Maryland Land Trusts to Pilot New Technology for Conservation Monitoring

Maryland Environmental Trust, Lower Shore Land Trust Receive Grant

Satellite image of area along Choptank RiverThe Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and  Lower Shore Land Trust, Inc. (LSLT) were jointly awarded a grant from the Land Trust Alliance and The Nature Conservancy-California to pilot state-of-the-art technology for monitoring land conservation easements.

This grant will allow LSLT and MET to use a new technology in support of annual conservation easement monitoring and ongoing outreach and contact with landowners. This new technique uses high-definition aerial and satellite imagery that may provide a new tool for visiting hard to reach properties over time and complete site evaluations in much less time than traditional “boots-on-the-ground” monitoring visits. Read more…


Chester River ‘No Discharge Zone’ Takes Effect May 17

Waters Protected by Limits on Waste Discharge from Boats 

Photo of sailboat on the river in a misty morning

Photo: “Sunrise on the Chester River” by Bill Reichhardt, submitted to the 2018 annual Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the Chester River and its tributaries are now a No Discharge Zone, an area of water where the discharge of all boat sewage — even when treated by a sanitation device — is prohibited. The U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviewed and approved the No Discharge Zone, which is enforceable by state law enforcement as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.

Chester River is the third No Discharge Zone in Maryland waters, following Herring Bay and the Northern Coastal Bays. A fourth in Anne Arundel County is expected to become effective later in 2021. The precise locations of Maryland’s No Discharge Zones are detailed in the Code of Maryland Regulations on the department website. Read more…


Invasive Fish from Conowingo Dam Donated to Food Banks, Science

Maryland Public-Private Partnership Puts Invasive Fish to Good Use

Photo of bin full of snakeheads

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Conowingo Dam employs fish lifts to help migrating fish species navigate the Susquehanna River to their spawning grounds, but the lifts also catch unwelcomed fish – invasive catfish and snakehead. Through a public-private partnership between the Maryland Department of Resources (DNR), dam owner Exelon Corp., the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), and local seafood wholesaler, JJ McDonnell and Co., the invasive fish pulled from the Conowingo are going to local food banks and scientific research, while reducing the number of destructive species in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“This initiative serves multiple goals, including controlling invasive fish species by harvesting them to minimize their impacts on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and providing protein-rich meals to those in need,” DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “We will also improve our collection of scientific data, which will help us better manage these invasives in the future.” Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 12

Photo of brook trout

Ryan Cooper takes a look at a brook trout before gently returning this beauty to the water. Photo by Ryan Cooper

The Maryland outdoors has many beautiful treasures to behold for those who look. It can be a quiet time sitting on a river bank watching nature, gazing upon the Chesapeake Bay, or hiking up a mountain stream and soaking up all that nature can share. Few fish in Maryland are as beautiful and treasured as our native brook trout and if you find one, you are well rewarded with a spectacle of color.

This Saturday, May 15, will be the last day of trophy striped bass season in the main stem Chesapeake Bay, The 2021 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries will be open May 16 through July 15, and resume Aug. 1 through Dec. 10. Further information on areas and dates for striped bass fishing can be found on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

Please join us May 27 at noon for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar with guest Jake Shaner of the Maryland Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Response Program. As part of the busy fishing season, anglers and boaters may see sightings of marine animals and sea turtles. Join us to learn more about our program and what you should do in the event you find a stranded marine animal in Maryland waters. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Read more…


Maryland Offshore Blind and Shoreline Licensing is Open

Applications Must Be Submitted or Postmarked by May 31

Photo of offshore hunting blind in a creek

Photo by Richard Miller, submitted to the 2019 annual Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting offshore waterfowl blind and shoreline license applications for riparian (waterfront) properties.

Anyone who owns such property, or someone granted permission by the owner, may license their shoreline to establish offshore stationary blind sites for hunting waterfowl, and/or will prevent others from licensing and hunting the shoreline at a later date.  Read more…


Secretary’s Message – May 2021

May in Maryland – Time for Boats, Birds, and Cicadas! 

Photo of Spring weather means boating season — and I am among the thousands of Marylanders eager to get out on the water. Heavy traffic is expected again on our waterways as outdoor recreation continues to increase. Keep an eye out for our boater safety reminders this month and throughout the boating season.

May also marks the return of another beloved Maryland tradition — Park Quest. More than 25 Maryland State Parks will offer do-it-yourself outdoor activities now through Oct. 31 for families to experience the vast cultural, historical, and natural resources on our public lands and parks.  The theme for this popular program in 2021 will be “Spread Your Wings to Explore Maryland’s State Parks,” with a focus on Maryland’s birds. Read more…


BOEM, Army Corps, and State of Maryland Enter Agreement for Sand Resources

Photo of equipment blasting sand onto a beach

Sand is brought from offshore in for beach replenishment at Ocean City in this 2017 photo. Photo by Joe Andrucyk/Maryland State House

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District (Corps) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have entered into an agreement allowing the Corps to use sand from the Outer Continental Shelf for scheduled beach nourishment as part of its Atlantic Coast of Maryland Shoreline Protection Project.

The agreement gives the state, working in partnership with the Corps, access to 1.3 million cubic yards of sand for the nourishment of 8.3 miles of beach including 7 miles of sand dunes in Ocean City, Maryland. The beach is a significant economic driver for Ocean City, which boasts more than 8 million visitors annually. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 5

Photo of woman with striped bass on a boat

Nicole Anderson is a very happy angler with her impressive catch of a post-spawn striped bass. Photo courtesy of Nicole Anderson

This week holds the promise of fishing for a variety of species. The trout put-and-take areas have been generously stocked and blue catfish and northern snakeheads are very active. Chesapeake Bay anglers are excited to be able to fish for the large post-spawn striped bass as they exit the spawning rivers and head out of the bay for the northern waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Chesapeake Bay is now open for striped bass fishing from Brewerton Channel to the Virginia state line, excluding all bays (other than the main stem), sounds, tributaries, creeks and rivers, except Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound, is open to striped bass fishing for fish 35 inches or larger, with a one fish per person per day creel limit. Further information on areas and dates for striped bass fishing can be found on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

Read more…


New Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors Named

Four Baltimore Organizations Help Promote Outdoor Recreation

Two nonprofit organizations and two private businesses have been named Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors, recognized for their efforts to promote and expand access to the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities. 

Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio named the ambassadors during site visits to their facilities. As part of their responsibilities, the ambassadors will continue working to enhance the state’s status as a leading destination for outdoor recreation. Read more…


May is Boating Safety Month

Maryland’s Waterway Users Get Ready

Photo of father helping young daughter put on a personal flotation deviceMaryland’s boating season is on the horizon, and the Maryland Natural Resources Police is encouraging Marylanders to take proper precautions to ensure waterway safety. 

In 2020, Maryland had 155 reportable boating accidents; 64 of those accidents caused injuries and six were fatal, resulting in a total seven deaths. These numbers are down from the previous year, where Maryland saw 144 reportable boating accidents, 65 injury accidents and 16 fatal accidents resulting in 20 deaths.  Read more…


Chesapeake Bay and Environmental Progress at the Conowingo Dam

Exelon Makes Initial Payments of More than $5.7 Million to Maryland under $200 Million Agreement Incorporated into Dam Relicensing

Aerial photo of Conowingo Dam

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland has received the first payments, totaling more than $5.7 million, under an agreement that requires the owner of the Conowingo Dam to invest in environmental projects and operational enhancements to improve water quality in the Lower Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Conowingo Dam owner Exelon Generation Company LLC made payments to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow for the start of a series of projects that will play a key role in Maryland’s holistic strategy to improve water quality and accelerate the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The agreement requires a total of more than $200 million in investments by Exelon, including nearly $107 million in payments to Maryland, over the 50-year term of its recently renewed federal license. Read more…


At Your Service: Natural Resources Professionals Are Standing By

Photo of ranger answering phone call

Ranger Cierra Maszkiewicz answering a call at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

A key function of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is providing the best information possible to the public we serve. To that end, the department provides a customer service email, customerservice.dnr@maryland.gov, as well as dedicated phone lines, email newsletter subscription services, and social media platforms through which the public can contact the department. Questions or concerns coming into the department are funneled to experts in all of the different department divisions. For example, a question concerning hunting seasons would be forwarded to the Wildlife and Heritage Service, and a question concerning a waterman’s permit would be answered by a licensing and permitting expert in Fishing and Boating Services. Read more…


Tracking the Blue Cat: Learning to Beat the Invasive Fish

Photo of man placing blue catfish in water

Releasing tagged blue catfish

Hidden below the surface of the calm waters of the Patuxent River lies a vast ecosystem. Over time, this aquatic environment has gradually changed, ebbing and flowing like the tide. However, along with natural change, this fragile ecosystem has been disturbed by human activity, very notably within the past century by the arrival and proliferation of invasive species. Read more…


Roots Run Deep: Wood and Water-based Industries Have Long Been Related

Photo of man working on building a boat

The author’s grandfather working on a skipjack (photo courtesy of Tom Bradshaw)

As boat building becomes a dying art, I was recently thinking about my ancestors, all of whom worked in some way with forestry, fisheries, or both. My mother’s father worked on the water as a commercial fisherman, was a farmer, cut pulpwood in his younger years, and built boats in his later years. My father’s family were farmers and sawmill workers and owners. Read more…


Tools of the Trade: Radio Telemetry and GPS Collars for Tracking Black Bears

Photo of biologist with sedated mother bear and cubs

The author with a bear and three cubs removed from under a deck in Garrett County

The Department of Natural Resources has monitored and researched black bears in Western Maryland since the mid-1980s. One of the most important tools used by Wildlife and Heritage Service managers to follow these bears has been the radio collar. By using both conventional radio collars and the more modern GPS (Global Positioning System) collar, researchers can learn what habitats these wide-roaming animals use both seasonally and annually. Read more…


State Parks DIY: Park Quest and Create Your Own State Parks Programs Return for 2021

Photo of two boys looking at water view during Park Quest

By Elton Stokes Jr.

With the arrival of spring and summer, Maryland State Parks are again ready to welcome nature and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the state. 

The 14th annual Maryland Park Quest program runs from May 1 through October 31. The 2021 Park Quest theme is Spread Your Wings to Explore Maryland’s State Parks, and many of the quests will help you to learn more about Maryland’s birds! Read more…


Beyond the Call: Bhaskaran Subramanian, Chief of the Shoreline Conservation Service

Photo of BhaskarMaryland Department of Natural Resources employees take pride in the work they do—and they are noted for choosing their profession out of a love for protecting, conserving, and restoring our state’s natural treasures for the benefit of fellow Marylanders.

Many DNR staff members go that extra mile to serve the people of Maryland who enjoy the rewards of our work. DNR senior leadership is highlighting staff members who have been recognized by constituents and their coworkers for going “Beyond the Call.” Read more…


Freshwater Reefs: Fish Habitat Improvements Made in Maryland’s Lakes and Ponds

Fish Habitat Improvements in Impoundments

Deploying reef balls in Lake Habeeb

Habitat and water quality are the two pillars upon which healthy fish populations are built. If either becomes unsuitable, the foundation of the system is unstable, causing fish populations to tumble. Many people are familiar with the importance of clean, well-oxygenated water for fish, but an abundance of quality habitat is just as crucial. Read more…


Fulfilling the Promise

The State of Maryland makes a customer service promise: every state agency pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with friendly and courteous, timely and responsive, accurate and consistent, accessible and convenient, and truthful and transparent services. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioAs we continue to recover from the pandemic, I am more enthused than ever to welcome back spring. And the first full month of spring is dedicated to one of our most important resources: trees. Read more…


Update Regarding Maryland’s Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation

UPDATED May 14, 2021

COVID-19 logo

Maryland is taking decisive action to address COVID-19. The Hogan administration’s highest priority is keeping Marylanders safe. Find the latest information on Maryland’s covidLINK website

For all outdoor activities, continue to follow CDC guidance

Read more…


Maryland Forest Action Plan and Strategy Finalized

Focus on Growing Forests, Habitats, Markets, and Jobs

Photo of a path leading into a forest

Photo by Patricia Klein, submission to 2016 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest,

The Maryland Forest Service has released its Maryland Forest Action Plan, which contains an assessment of statewide forest conditions and a strategy that identifies major goals and actions to reach them.

Working collaboratively with partners and stakeholders, the Maryland Forest Service developed a Forest Action Plan Strategy, which is based on the seven principles of sustainable forestry: biodiversity, forest productivity, ecosystem health, soil and water health, global carbon, socioeconomic support, and legal and institutional frameworks. Read more…


Marylanders Reminded to Leave Deer Wild

Handling Fawns is Dangerous and Illegal

Photo of young fawn in a meadow

Photo by John Ruffa, 2019 submission to the Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources cautions anyone who encounters a fawn to avoid disturbing it and resist the urge to feed or handle the animal. Removing deer from the wild and keeping them in captivity is against the law in Maryland, for both animal welfare and public safety.

Deer are born with specialized adaptations, which have helped their species survive for ages – born in the spring, fawns instinctively lie motionless when approached by potential predators, relying on their adaptations to help them hide. Their virtual lack of odor, natural camouflage provided by their spots, and freezing behavior help them avoid danger. These adaptations serve them well, as evidenced by the abundance of deer across Maryland’s varied landscapes. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 28

Photo of boy holding largemouth bass

Sulley and Oli Francis went fishing with their dad at Loch Raven Reservoir recently and each caught their largest largemouth bass to date – pictured is Sulley with his catch. Photo by Steve Francis

This promises to be an exciting week for fishing, no matter what species of fish you hope to catch. The trout stocking program is finishing up an intensive stocking program this week, warm summer-like temperatures beckon all to the outdoors, and the trophy striped bass season begins in portions of the Chesapeake Bay May 1. 

Starting Saturday, the Chesapeake Bay from Brewerton Channel to the Virginia state line, excluding all bays, sounds, tributaries, creeks and rivers, except Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound, opens up to striped bass fishing for fish 35 inches or larger, with a one fish per person per day creel limit. 

Please join us on April 29 at noon for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar with guest biologist Jim Thompson of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources fish passage program. We will discuss the efforts to encourage anadromous fish populations to reach their spawning grounds via fish ladders and dam removals. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

DNR has recognized a new state record fallfish that was caught by 13-year-old angler Maxwell Diegel in Harford County. More information about this great catch is available on the department’s website.  

Read more…


Maryland DNR to Stock Channel Catfish into Local Ponds

Effort to Expand Recreational Fishing Opportunities

Photo of young angler fishing at a pond

Channel catfish will soon be available for fishing in select Maryland ponds.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to stock about 1,000 channel catfish into 11 ponds in central, eastern, and southern Maryland beginning in May. This is a wonderful opportunity for Maryland anglers to catch fish in areas that are not suitable aquatic habitats for traditional recreational species stocking.  Read more…


Harford County Youth Angler Catches Record Fallfish

Fish Caught in Broad Creek Breaks Record Held since 2019

Photo of youth holding state record fallfish

Photo courtesy Maxwell Diegel

A Harford County youth angler has officially been recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a new state record holder for fallfish in the nontidal division. Maxwell Diegel caught the 2.14-pound fallfish — Semotilus corporalis — on April 19 while fishing in Broad Creek, his local stream. Read more…


Maryland Park Quest Takes Flight for 2021 Season

Annual Adventure Runs May 1 through Oct. 31

Photo of boy with binoculars

Photo by by K Michael Lathroum, submitted to the 2019 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the annual Maryland Park Quest returns for 2021, running from May 1 through Oct. 31. In this beloved annual tradition, more than 25 Maryland State Parks, will offer opportunities to engage families in outdoor activities to experience Maryland’s vast cultural, historical, and natural resources on public lands and parks.

The 2021 Park Quest theme is “Spread Your Wings to Explore Maryland’s State Parks,” and many of the quests will help participants learn more about Maryland’s birds. Read more…


Natural Resources Police Target Turkey Poaching

Six Individuals Nabbed for Baiting Birds

Photo of Natural Resources Police vehicle in a fieldWith the opening of spring turkey hunting season, Maryland Natural Resources Police charged six people with poaching this week for the illegal use of bait for hunting. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 21

Photo of man holding a northern snakehad

Joshua A. Campbell was fishing near the Conowingo Dam when he caught this whopper of a northern snakehead. Photo courtesy of Joshua A. Campbell

There are a lot of exciting fishing opportunities in Maryland right now — the trout stocking crews are busy stocking trout in the put and take areas, hickory shad runs are underway, and warming waters have many fish species active.

A reminder to anglers that all fishing for striped bass, including catch-and-release, is prohibited in the Chesapeake Bay or any of its tidal rivers — except the main stem of the Potomac River — for the month of April. The main stem of the bay will open to striped bass fishing on May 1 south of the Brewerton Channel.

Please join us on April 29 at noon for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar with guest biologist Jim Thompson of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources fish passage program. We will discuss the efforts to encourage anadromous fish populations to reach their spawning grounds via fish ladders and dam removals. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Read more…


Maryland Native Wildlife: Brood X Periodical Cicadas

Photo of cicada

Teneral Periodical Cicada by Alex Andes-Gascon, DNR Photo Contest

They’re coming! Are you ready?!

This year, an exciting phenomena is going to occur in the eastern United States: the emergence of Brood X periodical cicadas. Brood X is also known as the Great Eastern Brood and is one of 15 broods of periodical cicadas that appear regularly throughout the eastern United States. This brood has the largest range and concentration of any of the periodical cicadas. It is made up of three different species of Magicicada Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)

Golden ragwort (Packera aurea) brings forth a burst of yellow color in spring gardens. It is part of the aster family (Asteraceae). This semi-evergreen wildflower can aggressively spread and can function as a natural groundcover for woodland gardens. It can also assist with some erosion control. Read more…


Habitat Tips: Owl-Friendly Backyards

Owls are captivating creatures, and it is no surprise that many people would love to have them visit their backyard landscapes! As predators, owls depend on having healthy food webs, so it is important to think about the big picture to properly support owls in your home habitats.  Read more…


Backyard Books for 2021

Did you know? Maryland is home to over 1,200 species of wasps! Not all of those species are aggressive like yellowjackets and hornets, and even the aggressive species have their place in our landscapes. Read more…


Backyard Blurbs

Image of fox with words think twice before rescuing wildlifeAs spring continues, young wildlife are going to venture out from their dens and nests. It’s important to remember that wildlife don’t have the same parenting procedures as we do, and they often ‘free range’ their young. Check out our page on Think Twice Before Rescuing Young Wildlife to learn about normal behaviors of young animals during this time of year.  Read more…


Natural Resources Police Save Osprey Nest from Abandoned Boat

Conservation Officers Build New Home for Nesting Birds

Photo of officers moving osprey nest from abandoned boatTwo ospreys have a new and secure nest thanks to three Maryland Natural Resources Police officers.

A 1975 Marinette vessel docked at Goodhands Creek Landing in Chester has been partially sinking and resting on the natural bottom since October of 2020. Because officers were unable to locate the owners, the boat was declared abandoned and scheduled to be removed at the end of April. 

As part of a routine check, NRP Cpl. Kim Austin noticed that it was now home to two ospreys building a nest.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 14

Photo of girl holding a trout on a fishing line

Emma Ka enjoyed catching a rainbow trout at Halcyon Pond near Gaithersburg recently. Photo courtesy of Emma Ka

Warm spring temperatures are inviting anglers of all ages to step into the outdoors and enjoy wonderful fishing opportunities. Many of the community ponds near suburban areas hold excellent populations of stocked trout and other species, and provide a perfect fishing environment for our younger anglers. 

A reminder to all anglers that striped bass fishing and targeting is closed throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, and will reopen on May 1. For more information on striped bass seasons and closure areas, please visit the department’s striped bass maps page.

Read more…


Department Seeks Members for Fishing Advisory Commissions

Current Vacancies on Recreational and Commercial Boards

Photo of fishing boats in harbor

Photo by Carol Ward, submitted to 2019 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking applications for membership to two advisory commissions, the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission and Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission

The Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission represents the interests of Maryland’s recreational fisheries, and the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission represents commercial fisheries across the state. Each consists of Maryland residents who represent diverse fisheries-related constituencies and stakeholders.   Read more…


DNR Applauds Resolution to Ease Restrictions on Blue Catfish Industry

Maryland Legislature Urges Change to Federal Rules to Spur Harvest of Invasives

Photo of waterman casting from boat in early morning hours

Waterman David Confair fishing for invasive blue catfish on Marshyhope Creek. Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to report that the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation aimed at helping the state control the invasive blue catfish population by reducing burdensome regulatory roadblocks that have disincentivized markets. 

Senate Joint Resolution 4, sponsored by Senator Guy Guzzone and Delegate Dana Stein, urges the United States Congress to oppose certain burdensome inspection rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has drastically impeded the harvest and sale of blue catfish as a form of reducing the destructive species’ booming population. Read more…


Black Bears Emerging from Winter Dens

Marylanders Urged to Keep Bears Wild

Photo of black bear

Black bear at Savage River Reservoir, Garrett County. Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

Maryland’s black bears are leaving their winter dens. As they emerge, they are hungry and searching for food. Natural food sources for bears — such as acorns, plants, berries, and insects — are in short supply until later in the spring, so the bears are attracted to anything that smells like food.

Homeowners who leave human-generated food sources out in the open may unintentionally draw bears to residential areas. Residents of Maryland’s bear country are urged to be proactive and exercise good judgment to avoid creating man-made attractions for bears.  Read more…


Maryland Climate Leadership Academy Offers Day and Evening Courses

Registration for Spring and Early Summer Cohorts Now Open

Photo of lecture on shoreline protectionThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces open enrollment for two upcoming cohorts of the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy, free courses offered virtually over the course of eight weeks. This series is designed to prepare anyone interested in seeking Certified Climate Change Professional credentials or increasing competencies in climate change related topic areas.

The daytime cohort runs from April 26 – June 23. The evening cohort runs May 18 – July 13. Registration is open until April 23 for the daytime cohort and May 14 for the evening cohort.  Read more…


‘Welcome to Boating’ Clinics to be Held in May

Reservations Available for Free Basic Instruction

Photo of people on a boatThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Marine Trades Association of Maryland (MTAM), Annapolis School of Seamanship, and the Boat U.S. Foundation for Safety and Clean Water are sponsoring free “Welcome to Boating” clinics at Sandy Point State Park. The clinics — held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 4, May 5, and May 6 — will provide instruction for new and experienced boaters on how to properly launch, load, retrieve, and dock a trailerable boat. Read more…


Statewide Spring Turkey Season Set to Open

Junior Hunt Precedes Full Season in April and May

Photo of wild turkey in a field during sprintime

Photo by Doug Wolfe

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the statewide spring turkey season will kick off April 17 with Junior Turkey Hunt Day. All hunters can try to bag a bird during the regular statewide spring turkey season, April 19-May 24. Read more…


Secretary’s Message – April 2021

Celebrating Our Earth this Spring

Photo of red and yellow tulips in bloom

Photo: “Full Bloom” by Jennifer Fry, submitted to the 2019 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest

As we continue to recover from the pandemic, I am more enthused than ever to welcome back spring and get outside. April in particular is a month full of events and opportunities to highlight our state’s amazing natural resources. In fact, it is becoming known as “Earth Month” for its many commemorative days including Maryland Arbor Day on April 7, Earth Day on April 22, and National Arbor Day on April 30. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 7

Angler Kate Morrison holds an invasive blue catfish she caught on the Nanticoke River -- and destined for the dinner table. Photo by Sean Morrison

Angler Kate Morrison holds an invasive blue catfish she caught on the Nanticoke River — and destined for the dinner table. Photo by Sean Morrison

April offers many fishing opportunities to anglers, ranging from trout to invasive species such as northern snakeheads and blue catfish.

A reminder to anglers that all fishing for striped bass, including catch-and-release, is prohibited in the Chesapeake Bay or any of its tidal rivers — except the main stem of the Potomac River — for the month of April. The main stem of the bay will open to striped bass fishing on May 1 south of the Brewerton Channel.

Read more…


Maryland Names First Group of ‘Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors’

Public, Private Sector Partners will Promote State’s Status as Recreation Destination

Photo of man on a paddleboard with two dogs

Photo by Norma Broadwater, submitted for 2018 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Commerce and Maryland Department of Natural Resources have announced that 18 Marylanders from the public and private sectors have been named as the state’s first Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors. As part of their responsibilities, the ambassadors will work to enhance the state’s status as a leading destination for outdoor recreation.

The ambassadors all served as members of the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic (MORE) Commission, which was established by Governor Larry Hogan in 2017 to develop strategies and make recommendations to strengthen the state’s outdoor recreation industry and help ensure increased investment in our state’s outdoor recreation resources.  Read more…


Eyes on the Bay: Looking Back at Winter (February) 2021

Eyes on the Bay Resumes for 2021

Oscar the Osprey Lands a Perfect Splashy 10 by J. Sal Icaza

Oscar the Osprey by J. Sal Icaza (2020 Natural Resource Photo Contest entry)

Whether you like to boat, fish, swim or just enjoy Maryland’s amazing seafood, we know there are many folks out there who have bay waters running through their veins and like to keep their finger on the pulse of bay conditions. Read more…


Maryland’s Recreational Crabbing Season Now Open

Photo of reflection of four young crabbers with a dip net

Photo by by Christine Edwards, First Place winner in the Summer category, 2018 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest.

The recreational crabbing season in Maryland officially opens April 1 for the Chesapeake Bay and tidal tributaries as well as in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 31

Photo of woman holding a rainbow trout

Gracie Ray is all smiles as she holds up one of the larger rainbow trout that are stocked. Photo courtesy of Gracie Ray

Put-and-take trout anglers had a wonderful opening day, the weather cooperated, and there was plenty of room for anglers to spread out and enjoy a day of fishing with family and friends.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has issued the 2021 regulations for recreational striped bass fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, available on the DNR website. Striped bass regulation maps — showing the bay’s regions and their open and close dates — can also be found on the department website.

Read more…


Regulations Issued for 2021 Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass Fishing

Conservation Measures Include Two-Week Midseason Closure in July

Photo of striped bass in shallow water

Photo courtesy of David Redden

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces new regulations for the Chesapeake Bay summer-fall striped bass season. 

The 2021 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries will be open May 16 through July 15, and resume August 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers would be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption.

During the closure period from July 16 through July 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release and charter boats. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 24

Photo of two brothers with trout they caught

Photo by Tom Marble

To anglers and hunters, a traditional opening day can be described as Christmas and your birthday rolled into one. This Saturday, March 27, marks what many consider the opening of the spring trout season in Maryland. The trout hatchery and stocking program has worked hard under some tough conditions to bring the public the best trout possible so don’t miss the fun this weekend and for the next couple of months. This is a wonderful way for families and our younger anglers to enjoy fishing.

Read more…


2021 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants Total $312,500

Grants Supports Communities, Projects and Schools

Photo of young people planting flowers in urban area

Living Classrooms Foundation was a recipient of a 2021 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grant.

The State of Maryland and the Forever Maryland Foundation are proud to announce that 91 Keep Maryland Beautiful grants totaling $312,500 have been awarded toward environmental education, community cleanup, and beautification projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program.

These annual grants are funded by Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR); the Forever Maryland Foundation; the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD); and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Read more…


Hiring Licensed Tree Experts Helps Avoid Scams

DNR Advises Homeowners Check Tree Contractors

Photo of tree expert working on trees from bucket truck

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources cautions homeowners to be alert for non-licensed tree contractors who take money for work that never gets done. The Maryland Forest Service and Natural Resources Police have been made aware of one such individual operating in Baltimore and Harford counties, specifically targeting senior citizens. 

For anyone looking to have tree work done, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers a few important suggestions that homeowners should follow before hiring a contractor.     Read more…


Pumpout Operations and Maintenance Grant Program Now Open

Applications Accepted from Marinas Through April 15

Aerial photo of Somers Cove Marina

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications from marinas for grants up to $2,500 for operations and maintenance of marine sewage pumpout stations. Applications are accepted now through April 15. 

Pumpout stations give boaters a proper method of disposing of their sewage and thus prevent it from entering Maryland’s waters. The department supports their installation and operation as part of the overall strategy of reducing nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 17

Photo of brook trout in the water

The picture reveals why the brook trout is one of the most beautiful trout species. Photo by Ryan Cooper

The brook trout is Maryland’s only native trout and because it demands cool, clear water its range has been greatly impacted by environmental changes, natural and manmade. It is now mostly found in the most pristine waters of western Maryland. Fishing for brook trout is restricted to catch and release only and fishing tackle is often limited.

Read more…


Maryland Joins Cooperative Largemouth Bass Management for the Potomac River

Tagging Program to Help Regional Effort for Popular Fishery

Photo of fish being studied in the river

Photo by Karin Dodge/Maryland DNR

Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia have agreed to a cooperative management plan for Potomac River largemouth bass, one of the most popular sport fisheries in the mid-Atlantic region. 

To help seek a unified assessment of the fishery, state agencies and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission —  who share authority to manage the river system for largemouth bass — are jointly collaborating on monitoring and assessing the fishery with an update produced every three years. Work begins in March 2021, though planning for the project has been underway for more than a year. Read more…


Wildfire Danger Increases in Spring

Marylanders Urged to Take Precautions

Photo of firefighter at a brush fire

Maryland DNR photo

Spring wildfire season has begun in Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents across the state to prepare and help prevent wildfires.

Wildfire occurrence is highest in the spring and fall when forest fuels are the driest and weather conditions — warm, dry, and windy — are most conducive for the spread of fire. On days when this threat is most likely, the department will issue a “red flag” status. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 10

Photo of young girl holding a white perch

Photo by Montana Grant

Warmer weather has everyone thinking about getting outdoors, and fishing is often at the top of the list. The yellow perch spawning runs are starting in the upper sections of a number of tidal rivers, and this weekend is a wonderful time for everyone to get in on the action.

Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 3

Maria Ricasa is all smiles with her first rainbow trout. Photo by Czarlite Ricasa

 

Welcome to March! In a couple of weeks spring will be here, and the warmer periods will become longer than the cold stretches. There is plenty of good fishing out there now; the yellow perch runs will start soon and the trout program is stocking generous numbers of fish at a location near you. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is recruiting participants for the shad volunteer angler survey. This brief online survey is smartphone compatible and provides valuable information for the restoration of these prized fish. Anglers are invited to log their shad fishing trips, even if you don’t catch any shad.   

Also, please join us on March 11 at noon for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, known as MARI. Coordinator Mike Malpezzi will discuss Maryland’s artificial reef program and its importance for the angling community. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Read more…


Maryland DNR 2021 Photo Contest Now Open

Entries for Annual Contest Taken Until August 5

Photo of kiteboarder on the water at sunset

This photo of a kiteboarder at Assateague by Kevin Moore earned second place in the Fall category of the 2020 Photo Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting entries for its annual photo contest. Photographers, novice or professional, can enter for the chance to win cash, park passes, and other great prizes. Read more…


Acquisition Complete for 212-Acre Addition to Pocomoke River State Park

Two Parcels Add Conservation and Recreational Opportunities

Photo of Pocomoke River

Photo by Ranger Curtis Dale

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has completed its acquisition of 212 acres in Worcester County for an addition to Pocomoke River State Park. This property includes the former Nassawango Golf Course with 1,400 linear feet of shoreline on the Pocomoke River.  Read more…


Savage River State Forest Rolls Out Online Reservations

Customers Can Now Book Several Campsites at Big Run

Photo of Creek in Savage River State Forest

Savage River State Forest

Campers looking to reserve a campsite on Maryland’s public lands can now use the Department of Natural Resources online reservation system to book one of 18 primitive sites at Savage River State Forest’s Big Run campground in Garrett County. Read more…


Maryland Wildland Firefighters Honored for Exemplary Efforts in 2020

Governor Hogan Addresses DNR Crews That Battled Fires in 11 States

Photo of two firefighters against backdrop of a forest fire

Maryland’s wildland firefighter crews were deployed to Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California in October 2020. Maryland DNR photo.

Maryland’s wildland firefighters who served on interagency crews nationwide through the busy and challenging 2020 wildfire season were honored recently in a virtual recognition event. Governor Larry Hogan addressed the firefighters with a recorded greeting and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio presented the firefighters with a departmental citation.

Last year, 65 Maryland fire crew members participated in 103 assignments, working on 28 different incidents in 11 states. The 2020 Interagency Wildfire Season began early in the year, with new protocols developed to  mobilize firefighters in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Crews also served an exceptionally long season, serving in deployments as late as November. 

“You worked long hours, spent weeks away from your loved ones, braved extremely dangerous conditions, and truly risked life and limb to save lives, homes, and precious natural resources,” Governor Hogan said. “When our fellow Americans face unthinkable natural disasters, Maryland stands ready to come to their aid … thanks to your bravery and dedication.” Read more…


Manokin River Oyster Restoration Public Comment Accepted

Input on Potential Sites Taken Through March 9

Photo of oyster shells prepared for seeding restoration areaThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is soliciting feedback on potential sites to receive substrate and seed restoration of oyster habitat in the Manokin River Sanctuary in Somerset County. Information about the sites proposed, including a video presentation, is available now on the department’s website.  Public comment will be taken through March 9. 

A virtual public meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23; access information is available on the department’s website Read more…


2021 Maryland Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced

Carroll County Youth Awarded Grand Prize

Image of painting

Illustration by Luke Etter, winner of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources 2021 Arbor Day Poster Contest

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced winners of the annual fifth-grade Arbor Day poster contest. Three schools in Maryland that are home to the top winners will benefit with tree plantings this spring. The poster contest is judged annually by a panel of forestry experts and special guest judge, Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan.

Luke Etter of Hampstead, Carroll County was awarded First Place, and his school will receive 15 trees for planting. Read more…


Maryland Hunters Harvest 81,000 Deer during 2020-2021 Season

Frederick County Leads State in Harvest Totals

Photo of buck near the woods on a fall day

Photo by Matthew Doged

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that deer hunters harvested 81,729 deer during the combined archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons, from Sept. 11, 2020 through Feb. 3, 2021.

The statewide harvest included 29,242 antlered and 49,033 antlerless white-tailed deer, plus 1,500 antlered and 1,954 antlerless sika deer. The harvest was 3% higher than the 2019-2020 total of 79,457 deer. Read more…


Free Trees Available for Maryland’s ‘Backyard Buffers’

Waterfront and Streamside Landowners can Reserve Seedlings

Photo of trees planted along a streamside in a residential neighborhoodThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners in several counties who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream, or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program. Read more…


Public Input Sought on Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons

DNR Soliciting Comment Now through Feb. 26

Photo of Canada geese in flight

Photo by Larry Hindman/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has posted the proposed 2021-2022 Migratory Game Bird Seasons for public review and comment through Feb. 26.  Read more…


State Forest Work Plans Available for Public Comment

Maryland Forest Service Seeks Input on 2022 Proposals

Photo of mountain vista in state forest

Photo by Melissa Nash/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the proposed fiscal year 2022 annual work plans for the following state forests: Chesapeake/Pocomoke, Green Ridge, Potomac-Garrett, and Savage River. The comment period concludes March 5.  Read more…


Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Announce 45 Percent Increase in Maryland State Parks Attendance in 2020

Record Visitation Reflects Growing Interest in Outdoor Recreation Amid Pandemic

Photo of hikers on a trail

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford joined a hike at Patuxent River State Park on Jan. 1, 2020, kicking off a record year for state park attendance. Photo by Joe Andrucyk

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced a 45 percent increase in final attendance for Maryland State Parks in 2020 compared to the previous record-setting visitation attendance in 2019. In 2020, Maryland State Parks welcomed 21.5 million visitors, compared to 14.9 million in 2019.  In addition, State Parks reported a record 292 capacity closures across 11 parks statewide last year. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Feb. 3, 2021

Photo of woman holding a perch she caught.

Photo by Monty Hawkins

Despite cold mid-winter weather, anglers across Maryland are enjoying fun fishing experiences ranging from the preseason stockings of trout, to chain pickerel and blue catfish, to tautog in the offshore waters off our coast.

Read more…


Youth, Veteran, and Military Waterfowl Hunting Day Feb. 6

Special Day to Share Maryland’s Time-Honored Traditions

Photo of geese in water and hunters with a dog hidden in a blind

Photo by Larry Hindman/Maryland DNR

Maryland’s youth hunters, veterans, and military personnel can experience the thrills of hunting fields and wetlands on a special waterfowl hunting day Feb. 6. Read more…


Winter Turkey Season Harvest Increases

Maryland Hunters Bag 89 Birds in January

Photo of wild turkey in a field

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters reported taking 89 wild turkeys during the 2021 winter turkey season, which was open statewide Jan. 21-23. This year’s harvest was slightly higher than the 2020 total of 82 turkeys. Read more…


Maryland Park Service Superintendent Recognized for Distinguished Service

Ranger Nita Settina Honored by National Association of State Park Directors

Photo of officials standing at Wolf Den Run State Park entrance sign

Superintendent Nita Settina (center) stands with (from left) Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, and Maryland State Park Rangers Donnie Oates, Johnny Stemple, and Christy Bright, celebrating the grand opening of Wolf Den Run State Park in 2019.

Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by a premiere national association of state park professionals. The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), an organization dedicated to supporting and promoting state parks, presented the award at its annual conference last month. Maryland Department of Natural Resources leadership and Maryland Park Service staff were able to join Superintendent Settina via a virtual “viewing party.”

Superintendent Settina has led the Maryland Park Service since 2008, when she became the first woman to lead the state’s park system since its establishment in 1906. The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a state park director who has demonstrated a long-term, sustained record of professional accomplishment in the field of park and recreation management. Read more…


Maryland’s First Primitive Deer Hunt Runs Feb. 1 – 3

Photo of deer bounding over snowy ground

Photo by Brendan Wolf

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the state’s first Primitive Deer Hunt will be open Feb. 1-3, 2021 statewide. Hunters with a valid hunting license, or those exempt from the hunting license requirement, may use primitive bows or muzzleloaders to hunt sika and white-tailed deer during these days.

Primitive hunting devices are defined as long bows, recurve bows, flintlock, or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders. Hunters may not use compound bows, crossbows, drawlocks, and telescopic or other electronic aiming devices. However, fiber optic sights are permitted on otherwise legal primitive bows or muzzleloaders. Read more…


Maryland Gears Up for Winter and Spring Trout Fishing

DNR Plans Stocking, Announces New Brook Trout Regulations

Photo of DNR crew member putting trout in a stream

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to stock about 300,000 trout, which includes rainbow, golden, and brown trout, for statewide distribution between now and April 30. Read more…


Maryland’s Winter Turkey Season Opens Jan. 21

Opportunity for Hunters to Bag a Bird This Season

Photo of group of wild turkeys in the snow

Photo by Isaac Bonneville

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the opening of the winter turkey season, which runs statewide from January 21-23 for hunters who did not harvest a turkey during the 2020 fall season. Read more…


Maryland Welcomes 16,000 Hikers to First Weekend of 2021

Annual First Day Hike Tradition Adapts and Grows

Photo of group of hikers next to a creek in the woods

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio take a First Day Hike at Patapsco Valley State Park. Photo by Joe Andrucyk

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources estimates that 16,237 visitors took part in First Day Hikes in Maryland State Parks during the three-day period from January 1-3, 2021. Following safety provisions to prevent spread of COVID-19, and taking advantage of the long New Year’s weekend, hikers engaged in self-guided hikes over three days. Read more…


Elk Neck Rifle and Shotgun Range Upgrades Completed

Shooting Facilities Reopen Jan. 7 after One Month of Work

Photo of Elk Neck State Forest entrance signThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the reopening of the Elk Neck State Forest rifle and shotgun ranges starting Jan. 7, after completing substantial upgrades and repairs at the complex.  Read more…


Cecil County Angler Catches Record Flathead Catfish

Invasive Fish Weighed 57 Pounds

Photo of man holding large flathead catfish

Photo courtesy Joshua Dixon

A Cecil County resident has officially been recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as the first-ever state record holder for the invasive flathead catfish. Joshua Dixon caught the 57-pound, 50-inch long flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) on Dec. 27, 2020 fishing near the Lapidum Boat Ramp on the Susquehanna River. 

Read more…


High-tech Tools Map Out Green Space Equity

More than ever, local parks have become an essential part of everyday life for many people and critical space for communities. They provide a place to unwind after a long day, an alternative classroom for kids, a place to safely gather with family and friends, or just that special place to recharge one’s mental and physical energy. Parks and green infrastructure also play a key role in protecting communities from the harmful effects of climate change and enhancing community resilience. Read more…


Rutherford’s Travels: Taking a Boyd’s Eye View of Maryland’s State Parks

Photo of Lieutenant Governor walking along a pier with a ranger

Lieutenant Governor Rutherford tours Smallwood State Park. Photo by Patrick Siebert.

Since beginning my bucket list quest to visit all 75 of Maryland’s state parks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the most remote corners of our state, witnessing its magnificent beauty far off the beaten path. Other times, I’ve encountered natural oases a mere stone’s throw from a busy highway, quietly hidden in plain view. Read more…


Leave It to Beavers: Keystone Species Provides Nature-based Restoration

Photo of beaver gnawing on downed tree

Photo by Angela Genito

The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) was once ubiquitous throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Mostly trapped out by the close of the 19th century, beavers have been making somewhat of a comeback, and that is great news for the Chesapeake Bay. Read more…


Tools of the Trade: Marine Law Enforcement Information Network

Graphic showing how RADAR and cameras work together to track vesselsIs it possible for police officers to be in two places at the same time? Although the Maryland Natural Resources Police is at a near-record size force and operates more than 100 patrol boats, it can be challenging to keep an eye on a large body of water such as the Chesapeake Bay. In inclement weather and low visibility areas, officers may have trouble pinpointing boating activity. However, there is a tool that gives patrol officers a clear view of boat traffic from the Port of Baltimore to the Potomac River. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioIf we have ever looked forward to a new year, it has to be this one! 2020 was difficult, but Maryland’s amazing natural resources provided us with the safe recreation, solace, and quality time together that many of us needed to stay “Maryland Strong.” Read more…


Get a Taste of Wild Maryland

Photo of snakehead etouffee

Snakehead etouffee by Peter Turcik

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is proud to offer a sneak peak of its new cookbook, which will soon be available online. Wild Maryland includes recipes submitted by Maryland residents, featuring Maryland species. Recipes include waterfowl, seafood, deer, and other wild game. A section of recipes also features ingredients found while foraging in the wild. Read more…


Governor Hogan Announces COVID-19 Relief for Agriculture and Seafood Producers

State Has Now Provided More Than $9 Million For Farmers, Watermen, and Producers;
Part of More Than $600 Million In Emergency Economic Relief

Photo of oyster boat on the water at sunrise

Photo by Pete Worch

At the direction of Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland Departments of Agriculture (MDA) and Natural Resources (DNR) have now provided more than $9 million in COVID-19 relief funding to farmers, watermen, and producers. Read more…


Deer Firearm Season Reopens Jan. 8 in Maryland

Last Opportunity of the Season for Most Firearms Hunters

Photo of herd of deer on snow ground

Photo by Jan Branscome

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the January firearm deer hunting season opens Jan. 8, 2021, in Deer Management Region B, which includes all of the state except the westernmost counties. Hunters with a valid hunting license may use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season.

The season is open Jan. 8-9 in all of Region B. The season is open Sunday, Jan. 10 on private and designated public lands in Cecil and St. Mary’s counties, and on private lands only in Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Washington (Zone 1), and Worcester counties. Shooting hours end at 10:30 a.m. in Kent and Montgomery counties. Read more…


Maryland Environmental Trust Offers Land Steward Training Classes

Volunteer Opportunity to Protect Natural Areas and Landscapes

Photo of homestead and pond in conservation easement

Volunteer Land Stewards visit and monitor conservation easements like this one in Harford County.

Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is looking for volunteers who are passionate about land conservation to work in the field as Volunteer Land Stewards. Two virtual training classes are being offered in January and February.  Read more…


First Day Hikes to Ring in the New Year for 2021

Weekend Of Self-Guided Walks on Maryland Public Lands

Photo of small group of hikers on a wooden boardwalk

Merkle Natural Resources Management Area in Prince George’s County

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to take a First Day Hike, Maryland’s annual tradition for a fun, healthy way to welcome the New Year.

This year, the Maryland Park Service will offer self-guided hike opportunities across the state from January 1-3, 2021. As always, Maryland’s state parks, state forests, and wildlife management areas will be open for trekking hundreds of miles of trails. However, due to the pandemic and physical distancing guidance, hikes will be self-guided and park staff will not be leading the hikes this year. Read more…


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