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Maryland Fishing Report – September 22

Photo of girl and boy on a dock, each holding a fish

Mia and Dominic Kronk got to go fishing with their father and enjoy a fun day on the Bay together. Photo by Kenny Kronk

The pleasant days of September offer wonderful opportunities to spend time with children and make lasting memories they will take into their adult life. 

Read more…


Fee Removed for Off-Road Trails at Savage River State Forest

St John’s Rock Campground Now Open to All Via Online Reservation

Photo of dirt bike riding on a wooded trail

Photo of Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced it has eliminated the day-use fee for riding the St. John’s Rock off-road vehicle (ORV) trail at Savage River State Forest, saving trail users $9 per rider and also removing the need for advance registration.

Additionally, the St. John’s Rock camping area is now open to all campers — previously, the eight primitive campsites were reserved for trail riders only — and can be reserved using the Maryland Park Service reservations website, parkreservations.maryland.gov Read more…


Monarch Butterflies Reign at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary

Monarchs and Milkweed Festival Returns Sept. 25

Photo of girl dressed as a monarch butterfly

Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary to celebrate the fall migration of the monarch butterfly on Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults and kids of all ages are encouraged to take part in a variety of activities, including tagging and releasing monarchs, a Scales & Tales display, hayrides, guided hikes and tours, crafts — and new for 2021, a monarch costume contest, and a native plant sale. Read more…


2021-22 Trapping Bid Packets Now Available for Eastern Shore Public Lands

Bids for Annual Trapping Privileges Due in October

Photo of dirt road leading into the woods

E.A. Vaughn Wildlife Management Area. Maryland DNR photo.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is currently accepting bids for the 2021-2022 trapping season at several Wildlife Management Areas and other public lands. Deadlines for submitting bid packages are in October. The individual with the highest bid for each area will be awarded annual trapping privileges.   Read more…


Chesapeake Bay Hypoxia Report – August 2021

Hypoxic Volumes Increased, Heat and Rain Likely Contributors

Graph of hypoxic water volumes in Chesapeake Bay during summer 2021Data 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 worsened in August following two better-than average months. The hypoxic water volume — areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 1.88 and 1.61 cubic miles during early and late August monitoring cruises, compared to historical early and late August averages (1985-2020) of 1.35 and 1.06 cubic miles. 

Additionally, in early and late August, within the mainstem Bay’s hypoxic waters, 0.76 and 0.51 cubic miles were anoxic — zones with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen.  Read more…


Fall Foliage Report – September 16, 2021

Map of fall foliage in Maryland, with Garrett and Allegany counties just beginning to change

“Autumn comes with regal ease, content to arrive with slow grace. Though the first leaves have tumbled to the soil so rich with rain, most remain green, fluttering in the strengthening wind. And so, though I’m wishing for that garland of reds and golds, I must be as patient as she.”

– Angela Caroline Abraham, Descriptionari.com

Fall has not yet begun in Maryland and many trees across the state are still a bit bashful about revealing their fall finest before the season officially kicks off September 22.

However in Western Maryland, pockets of trees are slowly starting to greet us with hints of brilliant color. Traditionally this is the region where leaf color changes are seen first, with the foliage in Garrett and Allegany counties beginning to turn in late September and peaking toward the middle of October. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 15

Photo of boy in a boat holding a smallmouth bass

Ean Boyer got to go fishing on the upper Potomac River with his dad and caught this beautiful smallmouth bass. Photo by Cory Boyer

Summer is still holding sway over the Maryland landscape but cooler weather keeps slipping in with more frequency. All of this makes for the perfect opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.

For anglers who want to learn or brush up on boating skills, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and partners are sponsoring free “Welcome to Boating” clinics at Sandy Point State Park this weekend. The clinics — held on Friday September 17 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to  4 p.m. — will provide instruction for new and experienced boaters on how to properly launch, load, retrieve, and dock a trailerable boat. More information is available on the DNR website.

Read more…


Fall Trout Stocking Starts in October

Maryland Waters to be Ready for Harvest

Photo of several trout in a net

Maryland DNR photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the fall trout stocking season will begin in early October. 

Thousands of brown, golden, and rainbow trout will be released in several creeks, ponds, and lakes throughout Maryland. Anglers should consult the 2021 Maryland Guide to Fishing and Crabbing for all regulations and any seasonal restrictions for their favorite waters.  Read more…


Three Centuries Converge at Fort Frederick Sept. 18

Living History Offers View into America’s Foundations

Photo of historic reenactors in British colonial uniforms firing muskets outside Fort Frederick

Fort Frederick State Park invites Marylanders to experience Fort Frederick’s unique role during three centuries that shaped our country from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 18. A day of events will offer a glimpse of the historic fort in four key eras: as Maryland’s frontier defense during the French and Indian War, a prison for captured British soldiers in the American Revolution, an outpost for Union troops during the Civil War, and as a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps, which rebuilt the wall and the stone foundations of the interior buildings during the Great Depression. Read more…


Secretary’s Message — September 2021

Maryland’s Outdoors Preparing a Cool Transition to Fall

Photo of group holding a citation in front of a table

The Maryland Geological Survey is honored for its 125th anniversary at the Maryland State Fair on Sept. 2. Photo by Patrick Siebert, Maryland State House

 

One of Maryland’s favorite summer pastimes is visiting the Maryland State Fair. Now in its 140th year, DNR was pleased to participate again this year and showcase the many ways we work to preserve, protect, and enhance our state’s natural resources. It was also a great opportunity to reach younger audiences with Smokey Bear and Splash who shared information about the importance of wildfire prevention and boater safety. Another highlight of the Fair was Governor Larry Hogan joining us to celebrate the 125th anniversary of our Maryland Geological Survey. For 125 years the Survey has served as a scientific-investigative organization that investigates the geologic and water resources of Maryland. They are also responsible for geologic, topographic, and geophysical mapping, environmental geology, mineral resources, and coastal and estuarine geology.

While the State Fair ended on Labor Day, and some traditionally view that as the end of summer, we are still days away from the Autumn Equinox and there are plenty of fair weather days left to enjoy outdoor recreation in Maryland which is year round!

Read more…


2021 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Fan Favorite Winner to Be Chosen on Facebook

A Raven Having Breakfest by Nathaniel Peck

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the winners of the 2021 Natural Resources Photo Contest, with the grand prize going to Nathaniel Peck of Flintstone for his dramatically captured photo of nature in action, “A Raven Having Breakfast.” Read more…


Maryland’s Early Teal Season Opens Sept. 16

Special Season Provides Additional Waterfowl Opportunity

Image of stamp with painting of waterfowl

Last year’s Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp featured a pair of blue-winged teal, painted by Jeffrey Klinefelter.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the September teal-only hunting season will be open from Sept. 16 through Sept. 30. Shooting hours are one half-hour before sunrise until sunset, the daily bag limit is six teal (blue or green-winged), and the possession limit is 18 teal, or three times the daily bag limit.

Seasons and bag limits for all other migratory game birds can be found in the 2021-22 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping. Read more…


Two Pheasant Hunting Opportunities Available in Maryland Via Lottery

October Deadlines for Online Applications

Photo of pheasant

Photo by Ranger Elena Gilroy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be offering two opportunities for hunters to pheasant hunt throughout Maryland. The department invites all junior license holders, apprentice license holders, and lapsed hunters to apply to participate in this year’s stocked pheasant hunts and/or apply for the mentored pheasant hunt event

The stocked pheasant hunts are do-it-yourself hunts that will take place on 12 Maryland wildlife management areas and two state forests on November 20 and 21. The mentored hunt event will take place at Wild Wings Hunting Preserve in Friendsville on Nov. 6 and 7. Please note these are two separate opportunities. More information and detailed descriptions can be found on the department’s website. Read more…


Friends of Maryland State Parks Fund Conservation and Education Projects

‘Small Grants, Big Impact’ Program Launched in 2020

Photo of worker installing planks on a boardwalk in a wooded area

Work is done on the “Trail of Change” at Pocomoke River State Park in spring 2021. Photo courtesy Friends of Maryland State Parks.

Maryland State Parks are completing 15 projects with the assistance of a new grant program of the Friends of Maryland State Parks, improving trails and habitats and enhancing opportunities for kids and adults to learn about aquatic river life, pollinators, terrapins and more. 

Launched in 2020, the Small Grants, Big Impact! Program is designed to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support Maryland State Parks and their community-based programs. Through its Small Grants program the nonprofit provides $1,000 grants to state parks to help them achieve their mission. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 8

Photo of man in a boat holding a large fish

Howard Petty is all smiles with this beautiful red drum he caught and released recently. Photo courtesy of Howard Petty

Maryland anglers will gradually begin to see their varied fisheries react to cooling water temperatures through September. Currently the summer migrant species in the Chesapeake Bay and offshore waters are present in good force, and freshwater anglers have plenty of fishing action across the entire Maryland landscape.

Read more…


Natural Resources Police Report — August 2021

Photo of police truck with lights on in early morning hoursThe Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) announced charges for individuals throughout the state for illegal activities including boating while intoxicated, drunk driving, illegal fishing, and more. Read more…


Maryland Deer Archery Season Opens Sept. 10

Popular Hunting Opportunity Continues Through Jan. 31

Photo of buck standing in a field

Photo by Jan Branscome

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that archery hunting for white-tailed and sika deer opens statewide Sept. 10, and continues through Jan. 31, 2022. Archers may also use vertical longbows and vertical recurve bows Feb. 1-3, 2022 during the second annual Primitive Deer Hunt Days. Read more…


‘Welcome to Boating’ Clinics Scheduled for September

Free Basic Instruction Program Back by Popular Demand

Photo of people attending a boat clinicThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Marine Trades Association of Maryland, 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 on Friday September 17 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, September 18 from 10 am to  4 p.m.  — will provide instruction for new and experienced boaters on how to properly launch, load, retrieve, and dock a trailerable boat.

The instruction on docking, launching and boating safety will run for 30 minutes starting at 12:30 p.m. on September 17 and starting at 10 a.m. on September 18 (repeating 4 times each day).  Read more…


Maryland Migratory Game Bird Hunting 2021-2022 Begins

Mourning Dove, Early Canada Goose Seasons Now Open

Photo of two Canada geese taking flight

Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the state’s 2021-2022 migratory game bird hunting seasons. Bag limits, season dates, and shooting hours can be found in the 2021-2022 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 1

Photo of young man holding a huge blue catfish on a riverbank

Zack Minnick was fishing below Great Falls on the Potomac River and managed to land this whopper of a blue catfish last weekend on his birthday. Photo by Sam Minnick

There are many fishing opportunities in Maryland and many anglers are taking full advantage of the late summer fishing scene.

Although the Labor Day weekend is traditionally the end of the summer vacation season, Marylanders know that great fishing will continue for the months to come.

Be sure to check the Maryland striped bass fishing advisory forecast and continue taking caution to help us protect this iconic species.

Read more…


Elk Neck Shooting Ranges Scheduled for Maintenance in September

State Forest Facility to be Closed Four Weekdays to Allow Work

Photo of shooting range complex sign at Elk Neck State Forest

Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

All three shooting ranges at Elk Neck State Forest — rifle, pistol, and shotgun- – will be closed to the public on Monday, Sept. 13, and Tuesday, Sept 14 and again on Monday, Sept. 27, and Tuesday, Sept 28 to allow a contractor to complete work at the range complex. At the same time, department staff will make any repairs to range infrastructure.

The shooting ranges will be open normal hours all other times. The facilities are popular for hunters to practice ahead of the fall hunting seasons. Questions about the range closing can be addressed to the Elk Neck State Forest office at 410-287-5675.


Record-breaking Half Million American Eels Navigate Eel Ramp at Conowingo Dam To Deliver Cleaner Water for Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay

Maryland’s Agreement with Exelon Will Bring Even Greater Results in Eel Passage and Increased Numbers of Water-filtering Mussels

Photo of American eel

American eel. Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announce that more than half a million eels have passed from below the Conowingo Dam to be placed in the river above this year, bringing key clean water benefits to the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. Read more…


2022-2023 Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest Now Open

Artists can Submit Original Work until Nov. 5, 2021

Painting of two ducks in the water

Scott Calpino’s rendering of a hen and a drake redhead won Maryland’s 2021-2022 migratory game bird stamp contest.

Artists are invited to submit their original works for the annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp contest, which is open to residents and nonresidents until November 5, 2021. The winning entry will appear on the 2022-2023 Migratory Game Bird Stamp required to hunt migratory game birds in Maryland.

Each contestant may submit up to three entries with a fee structure of: $15 for one entry, $20 for two and $30 for three. Proceeds help fund game bird and waterfowl research and projects. Read more…


Maryland State Fair Comes Alive Aug. 26 through Sept. 6

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Exhibits in the Mosner Miller Building

Photo of exterior of Miller Mosner Buildling at Maryland State Fairgrounds, with Maryland DNR bannerThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will bring displays, exhibits and programs about our state’s forests, fish, waters, and wildlife to the 2021 Maryland State Fair at the Timonium Fairgrounds from Friday, Aug. 26 – Monday, September 6. Read more…


Department of Natural Resources Highlights Deep Creek Lake Partnerships; Announces $2.2 Million in Additional Funding

Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio Presents ‘State of the Lake’ Address

Photo of Secretary Riccio speaking at a podium

Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio discusses updates and issues related to Deep Creek Lake. Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio on Tuesday delivered a “State of the Lake” to homeowners, officials, and stakeholders with interest in Deep Creek Lake. The secretary also announced $2.2 million in additional funding for dredging as part of her presentation.

Speaking to the group at Garrett College, Secretary Riccio discussed the state’s long-term commitment to water monitoring at the lake, ongoing efforts to prevent and combat aquatic invasive species, and work to protect and expand the lake’s freshwater fisheries.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 25

Photo of youth near a lake holding a northern snakehead fish

Brayden Castigilia holds up a northern snakehead he caught recently near Smallwood State Park. Photo courtesy of Katy Kaufmann

Mother Nature is dealing Maryland some hot daytime temperatures this week, and many of those seeking some relief will flock to the water. Fishing for a variety of freshwater and saltwater fish could hardly be better as we approach the zenith of our summer fisheries, from the cool mountain streams of Western Maryland to the warmer waters of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coast. 

One fish that has been providing a lot of fun and exciting action are northern snakeheads. This invasive species is certainly plentiful and they are rapidly expanding their range, making them available to anglers throughout the Chesapeake watershed.

As the summer heat continues, please continue checking the Maryland striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species.

Read more…


Maryland State Record Blue Marlin Caught at Ocean City

Florida Man Recognized with 1,135-pound Catch at Tournament

Photo of group of people standing with record blue marlin

Billy Gerlach (behind sign, holding dorsal fin) stands with his record blue marlin. Photo by Craig Weedon. Maryland Department of Natural Resources

A Florida angler is the new Maryland state record holder for a blue marlin, which he caught in an August 20 tournament at Ocean City.  Read more…


Women’s Equality Celebration Aug. 28 at Sang Run State Park

Rededication of Restored 1872 Election House Part of Community Event

Vintage photo of building

The Sang Run Election House, seen here in the 1930s, is being rededicated following a complete restoration as part of Women’s Equality Day 2021.

The Maryland Park Service joins with Garrett County organizations on Aug. 28 to host a Women’s Equality Day Celebration including a historic march reenactment and event at Sang Run State Park from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. This event commemorates the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in 1920. Read more…


Chesapeake Bay Hypoxia Report — July 2021

Dissolved Oxygen Conditions Remain Better than Average Through July

Graph of percentage of water in the mainstem Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and Virginia, below 2 mg/l oxygen, showing 2021 numbers are below average hypoxiaData 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 continued to be better than average in July. The hypoxic water volume — areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 1.02 and 1.20 cubic miles during early and late July monitoring cruises, compared to historical early and late July averages (1985-2020) of 1.64 and 1.63 cubic miles. The early and late July reports rank as the 7th and 8th best in their respective time periods, out of a total of 37 years of monitoring. The effects of Tropical Storm Elsa were not captured in July’s monitoring, as early July sampling occurred just prior to the storm passing through the Bay watershed. Read more…


First Lady Yumi Hogan Joins Call to Protect Assateague’s Wild Horses

New Safety Measures and Outreach Campaign Highlighted at State Park

Photo of group holding signs with Protect Our Ponies slogansMaryland First Lady Yumi Hogan joined the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Assateague Island National Seashore staff, and other guests at Assateague State Park, urging island visitors to drive carefully and “Give Wild Horses a Brake,” part of a new outreach campaign design to reduce horse injuries and #ProtectOurPonies.

A freely roaming herd of wild ponies is one of the major attractions at Assateague, a barrier island that is divided into Maryland’s Assateague State Park and the federal Assateague Island National Seashore. Unfortunately, humans feeding the horses or otherwise encouraging them to come near campgrounds and vehicles has left the horses unafraid of people and cars, making them more susceptible to dangerous situations on the Assateague roads. 

The First Lady, Maryland DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Maryland State Senator Mary Beth Carozza, and members of the nonprofit friends group Assateague Island Alliance visited the State Park on Friday. The Alliance also presented the First Lady with a conservation award for her continued support and work protecting wildlife.

Read more…


Gambrill State Park to Co-host 2021 Marathon Mountain Bike National Championship in October

State Partners with City and County of Frederick, Cycling Group to Secure Bid

Photo of Gambrill State Park entrance sign

Maryland DNR photo

Gambrill State Park and the Frederick City Cooperative Wildlife Management Area have been chosen by USA Cycling as the venue for the 2021 Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships on Saturday, October 23. The Maryland Sports Commission will serve as the event host, working closely with officials from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Gambrill State Park staff, TEAM Maryland partner Visit Frederick, the City of Frederick, Frederick County Government, and the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts Inc.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 18

Photo of man holding a northern snakehead

Jhong Vitao holds up a nice northern snakehead for a selfie that he caught in lower Dorchester County recently. Photo by Jhong Vitao

These late summer weeks hold a lot of fishing opportunities for anglers across the state. Our summer migrant fish species in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters are in full swing and other fish are active.

Northern snakeheads are on the prowl in many areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and entertaining anglers with plenty of action and good table fare.

Throughout the summer, anglers should continue to check the Maryland striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species.

Read more…


Maryland Department of Health and Department of Natural Resources to Provide COVID-19 Vaccinations at Sandy Point State Park

This weekend’s vaccine availability is the latest stop on the GoVAX Summer Tour

GoVax logoThe Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the availability of free COVID-19 vaccinations at Sandy Point State Park this weekend, Aug. 14-15. The event is the latest stop on the GoVAX Summer Tour, which continues to bring free mobile clinics and vaccine outreach to popular destinations across Maryland. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 11

Photo of man with son, daughter and dog, holding a bushel of blue crabs

Photo by Jim Livingston

Life on the Chesapeake is all about family and friends, a good boat, a good dog, and getting out on the water to enjoy it all. In many cases, this involves catching some blue crabs for a crab dinner together.

Throughout the summer, anglers should continue to check the striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species.

Read more…


Secretary’s Message — August 2021

Outdoors Career Training Offers a Lifetime of Growth

Photo of group of people beside a pool

Governor Hogan with Secretaries Riccio and Schulz visit Black Girls Dive Foundation, Randallstown, in May. This organization empowers and encourages young black women to be involved in recreational swimming and diving; ocean-related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) academic pursuits; and environmental stewardship.

Outdoor recreation has become more welcome than ever as we seek safe activities to do with our friends and family. Recognizing its importance even before the pandemic, Governor Hogan charged Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and me with co-chairing the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission (MOREC). Since then, Secretary Schulz and I have been traversing the state and working to implement the recommendations of the commission. Among those recommendations is naming Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors to help position Maryland as a top destination for world class outdoor recreation experiences. So far we have recognized 33 ambassadors in four counties and counting.

Several other recommendations of the MORE Commission centered around opportunities for workforce development and job creation in the outdoor recreation industry in Maryland. Three of DNR’s own programs, the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC), Conservation Jobs Corp (CJC), and Veteran’s Conservation Corps (VCC), are excellent examples of that. Each of these programs provides an opportunity to explore natural resources career paths while gaining on-the-job training and professional certifications. Read more…


Natural Resources Police Report — July 2021

Photo of police boat aat dockThe Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) recently charged several individuals throughout the state for illegal activities including impaired boating, having a concealed machete, illegally harvesting striped bass during the season closure, and other violations. Read more…


Angler Breaks Newly Set Maryland Swordfish Record

Previous Record Held About Two Weeks

Photo of anglers at a dockside weighing station with record swordfish

Jacob Bertonazzi, second from left, stands with his record swordfish. Photo by Gary Tyler, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

A New Jersey angler is now the second officially recognized state record holder for swordfish, which he caught in a tournament August 6 at Ocean City. 

Jake Bertonazzi broke the state’s nearly two-week-old record for the Atlantic Division with a 318.5-pound swordfish — Xiphias gladius — caught while participating in the White Marlin Open, roughly 60 miles offshore in Poor Man’s Canyon.  Read more…


DNR Graduates Maryland Conservation Corps Class of 2021

Group photo of Maryland Conservation Corps class

Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources honored 29 members of the 2020-2021 Maryland Conservation Corps during their graduation program on August 5. The ceremony commemorated the members’ completion of 10 months of job training, conservation work, and stewardship with the Maryland Park Service.

Members from across the country, all between the ages of 17 and 25, completed 1,700 hours of service. This year’s crews planted thousands of trees, bay grasses and native plants; treated trees against harmful insects and diseases; and taught environmental education programs to more than 7,915 students, youth, and park visitors. Read more…


Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors Named in Talbot County

‘Deputized’ Organizations Help Promote Maryland Outdoor Recreation

Logo of Maryland Department of Natural ResourcesA century-old yacht club, a historic ferry, a YMCA and senior center, and two outdoor retailers have been named Maryland Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors in Talbot County 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 this week. 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…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 4

Photo of man and his daughter each holding a white perch

Evelyn Wike spent a weekend morning fishing for white perch with her dad near Annapolis. The smiles in this selfie say it all. Photo by Christopher J. Wike

Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends and few things can be more rewarding than fishing with sons and daughters.

With striped bass fishing resuming this week, anglers should continue to check the striped bass fishing advisory forecast to help protect this iconic species during harsh conditions.

Read more…


Governor Hogan Announces Additional $3.4 Million In Relief Funds For Maryland Fishing Industry

Photo of fishing boat on the bay

Photo by Stephen Badger, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Governor Larry Hogan, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), today announced an additional $3.4 million in economic relief funds for the state’s commercial seafood industry through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.The funding will support activities previously authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are proud to continue helping Maryland’s seafood industry access much-needed assistance during these difficult times,” said Governor Hogan. “Our goal is to ensure that these relief funds provide direct aid for today, but also make Maryland’s economy more resilient by strengthening markets for the future.”
Read more…


From the Field: Shakira Johnson, Administrative Officer, Maryland NRP

Photo of Shakira Johnson in her officeMaryland 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. Read more…


Chessie the Manatee Still Making Waves

Wandering Marine Mammal Came to Maryland 27 Summers Ago

Photo of people on boat capturing manatee

The ailing Chessie is captured by the FWC Marine Mammal Rescue Team.

Not many visitors to the Chesapeake Bay garner a cult-like following like Chessie. Two books tell his tales, and he has even made a film cameo. His story began nearly two decades ago, back in the summer of 1994, when this nearly 1,100-pound Florida manatee was spotted wandering the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. Read more…


Five Easy Tips to Help Beach Wildlife

AssateagueIf you love Maryland’s Atlantic beaches, you’re not alone—eight million people visit Ocean City every year; that’s more people than the populations of Maryland and Washington, D.C. combined. But when large numbers of people visit the beaches on Assateague Island and Ocean City, it can present challenges for the wildlife that live there year-round. Here are a few easy tips to make your beach vacation as relaxing for wildlife as it is for you. Read more…


Vessel Discharge Regulations Explained

Docked for Sunset by Adrian James Testa

Docked for Sunset by Adrian James Testa

Boats come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing is universal on land or sea — “when you gotta go, you gotta go.”

Small boats that only go out for a few hours probably won’t have an installed toilet but larger boats with enclosed areas usually have an installed toilet or “head.”
What does the law say about proper disposal of sewage? Read more…


Ahoy, Maryland! A Guide to Responsible Boating

Splashing Under The Bridge by Theressia Shoup

Splashing Under The Bridge by Theressia Shoup

Anyone who lives in Maryland knows we are a water state. With 623 square miles of inland waterways plus the Chesapeake Bay, coastal bays behind barrier islands to the Atlantic Ocean, and three miles offshore of the ocean itself, it’s no wonder that 160,000-plus boats were registered in Maryland last year. Read more…


Maryland’s Most Wanted: Join the Hunt for the Spotted Lanternfly

Image of poster advising people of the threat of spotted lanternflySince August of 2020, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has conducted 64 different hunting seasons covering a variety of animals, seasons, and locations. But there’s one animal in particular that the DNR is very interested in, which has no hunting restrictions. For this species, you won’t need a spring trap or a rifle. A net to catch it with and a camera works much better. Read more…


Maximize Your Experience, Minimize Your Impact: Leave No Trace in Maryland State Parks

Photo of path with purple flowers

Photo by Avi Bender

If there is one thing that the global pandemic has shown us, it is the value of fresh air and open space. Visitors to Maryland State Parks cashed in on that value in record-breaking numbers in 2020. At the same time many businesses, attractions, and sporting events were restricted or shut down, state parks in Maryland saw a 45% increase in visitation last year, and 2021 is on track to meet or exceed these unprecedented numbers of park visitors. Read more…


Tools of the Trade: John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery

Photo of pine seedlings

Pine seedlings

The Maryland Forest Service produces millions of tree and shrub seedlings each year for reforestation and other plantings across Maryland and Delaware. The first state nursery, near College Park, was founded in 1914 primarily to grow trees for roadside planting. The state nursery later evolved and expanded to grow seedlings for conservation purposes including wildlife habitat, watershed and soil protection, and forest products. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioIn this edition of our magazine, I am proud to share with you excerpts from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Annual Report, highlighting achievements in the year 2020. Every year, we share an annual report of DNR activities from the previous calendar year. It is a great way to keep the public informed of our activities, but it is also a great testament to the dedication of our staff, our partners, and our volunteers. Read more…


Maryland Record Set with 301-Pound Swordfish off Ocean City Coast

Annapolis Resident and Team Mount 8-Hour Fight to Land Record Fish

Photo of five men with a large swordsfish

Peter Schultz, second from left, and his team stand with the new state record swordfish. Photo courtesy Big Fish Classic, used with permission.

An Anne Arundel County angler is now the first officially recognized state record holder for swordfish, which he caught in a tournament July 23 at Ocean City.

Annapolis resident Peter Schultz, 36, is the first record holder for the Atlantic division – Swordfish (Xiphias gladius). Schultz caught the 301-pound swordfish while participating in the Big Fish Classic Tournament, landing the record-breaking catch roughly 50 miles offshore at Washington Canyon. Read more…


Qualification Shoots Scheduled for 2021-22 Managed Deer Hunts

Proficiency Tests Necessary to Participate in Lottery for Hunts

Photo of man target shootingThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the 2021-2022 Shooter Qualification Schedule, which includes 20 qualification sessions at 10 locations across the state. Additional events are available upon reservation. Read more…


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 August 17, 2021

Logo of Maryland Department of Natural Resources

In late May, wildlife managers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and other states began receiving reports of sick and dying birds. Several passerine bird species have been affected.  No human health or domestic animal (pets, livestock and poultry) issues have been documented.  As of mid-August, reports have decreased in many jurisdictions and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is lifting its previous recommendation to cease feeding birds. 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…


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