Natural Resources News
UPDATED May 15
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home order, which was in effect until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. The state has now moved into the beginning of Stage One of the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery which includes a Safer at Home public health advisory.
Following the announcement of the governor’s Roadmap to Recovery, the state has expanded opportunities for outdoor exercise and recreation in the state and on Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) properties.
These are the latest guidelines, which are effective as of May 15, 2020 at 5 p.m.
Department’s 2020-2021 Proposal Includes Hunting Days for Veterans
After receiving and reviewing public input, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has selected the state’s 2020-2021 migratory game bird hunting seasons. These selections are now awaiting final approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more…
Annual Opportunity to Discover Fishing in Maryland
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers license-free fishing days on June 6, June 13, and July 4 — a free option to explore Maryland’s diverse and unique fishing experiences without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration. Read more…
Maryland is beginning to settle into something resembling summer, and anglers are out safely enjoying the outdoors.
As we continue doing our part to keep transmission of COVID-19 to a minimum, please remember to check our website to find the latest guidance on a variety of outdoor activities.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police are joining with other state law enforcement agencies to assist the American Red Cross in encouraging the public to donate blood during the coronavirus pandemic. The push to donate blood is an effort by state law enforcement employees in Maryland who want to honor the memories of those Marylanders who lost their lives to COVID-19 and honor the service of all those who help fight it. Read more…
It may be hard to believe, but Memorial Day weekend approaches. Folks are seeking rejuvenation in the outdoors, which is encouraged as long as we’re being safe and considerate in regard to social distancing.
As we all start spending more time on the water, a reminder that our biologists have instituted several volunteer angler surveys to help them understand and better manage some of the important fish species to anglers as well as blue crabs and horseshoe crabs.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is working to help the public navigate through these trying times, and our website will continue offering guidance on a variety of outdoor activities.
Annual Winter Dredge Survey Finds Normal Fluctuation
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the results of the 2020 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, a cooperative effort with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which estimates the number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay annually.
The 2020 results showed that the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population maintains a healthy number of spawning-age female crabs. Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission strive to conserve more than 70 million adult female crabs annually to ensure enough young crabs can be produced to sustain the population, which has now been achieved for the sixth consecutive year. This year’s survey estimates 141 million adult female crabs were conserved, which is above the long-term average of 126 million.
Additionally, the results showed there were 79 million adult male crabs, just above the long-term average of 77 million and similar to the estimate from 2019. The total abundance of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay in 2020 was 405 million crabs, a near-average abundance for the 30 years of survey results.
The number of juvenile crabs declined in 2020 to 185 million, from last year’s total of 323 million. Juvenile abundance is largely driven by environmental factors, such as currents, temperature, and winds, therefore year-to-year variability is expected. Read more…
Applications Must Be Submitted and Postmarked by May 31
Riparian property owners, or anyone granted permission by the owner, may license their shoreline allowing them to establish offshore stationary blinds or blind sites for hunting waterfowl, and/or prevent others from hunting the shoreline at a later date. Read more…
Public Can Help Document Spawning Sites
The horseshoe crab — Limulus polyphemus — is returning to Maryland’s coastal shores this month for one of the world’s oldest and largest wildlife migrations.
Each spring adult horseshoe crabs migrate into the coastal bays from offshore overwintering areas to spawn on sandy beaches and, to a lesser extent, subtidal habitats.
Spawning occurs on the spring high tides from May through early August, peaking on the day of or after each full and new moon of these months. The annual peak in spawning activity generally occurs around the full and new moon in mid-June. Read more…
Safety is Essential as Boating Season Ramps Up
In recognition of National Safe Boating Week, May 16-22, 2020, Maryland Natural Resources Police recommend boaters not only follow safe boating practices, but continue following updated guidance for social distancing and outdoor recreation to protect themselves against COVID-19 transmission.
Following the governor’s Roadmap to Recovery, the state has expanded opportunities for outdoor exercise and recreation in the state. With the kickoff of boating season in Maryland, the department urges boaters to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others in order to have a safe boating experience.
Last year, Maryland had 144 reportable boating accidents; 65 of those accidents caused injuries and 16 were fatal, resulting in 20 deaths. These numbers are up from the previous year, where Maryland saw 132 reportable boating accidents, 58 injury accidents and 13 fatal accidents resulting in 17 deaths. Read more…
Maryland Sets New Regulations to Conserve Species
Under the new final regulations, the 2020 summer-fall season in most areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries is open May 16 through Aug. 15, and Sept. 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers will be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. The season will be closed on all other dates. During the closure period from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31, anglers will be prohibited from targeting striped bass, which includes catch-and-release and charter boats. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption. Read more…