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Update Regarding Maryland’s Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation


COVID-19 logo

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.

Read more…

Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons Submitted for Final Approval

Department’s 2020-2021 Proposal Includes Hunting Days for Veterans

Photo of geese in river, near hunting blind

Photo by Larry Hindman

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…

Free Fishing Days Scheduled in June and July

Annual Opportunity to Discover Fishing in Maryland

Photo of man fishing along riverside

Photo by Stephen Badger

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 Fishing Report – May 27

Photo of young man holding a largemouth bass

Christian Gruber managed to spend some time fishing for largemouth bass in a local pond — and came up big with this 23-inch largemouth bass that he released after a quick picture. Photo courtesy of Kirk Groves

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.

Read more…

Maryland State Law Enforcement Agencies Partner with American Red Cross in Blood Drive Efforts

Maryland NRP logoThe 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…

Maryland Fishing Report – May 20

Photo of boy with a golden trout in his net.

Braden Walsh is all smiles with the first golden trout that he caught last weekend. Photo by Gary Soukup

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.

Read more…

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Shows Healthy Spawning Stock

Annual Winter Dredge Survey Finds Normal Fluctuation

Photo of blue crabs in a basketThe 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…

Maryland Offshore Blind and Shoreline Licensing Open

Applications Must Be Submitted and Postmarked by May 31

Photo of offshore waterfowl hunting blind

Photo by Lori R. Bramble

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

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…

Horseshoe Crabs Return to Maryland Shores for Spawning

Public Can Help Document Spawning Sites

Photo of horseshoe crab arriving on a beachThe 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…

Maryland Honors National Safe Boating Week

Safety is Essential as Boating Season Ramps Up

Photo of NRP officer assisting swimmers in the Severn RiverIn 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…

Chesapeake Bay Summer-Fall Striped Bass Season Begins May 16

Maryland Sets New Regulations to Conserve Species

Photo of striped bass caught in the water

Photo by Roy Julie

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the opening of the Chesapeake Bay summer-fall striped bass season May 16 in most of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. 

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…

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AccessDNR March 2020

The March 2020 edition of a monthly video newsletter hosted by Gregg Bortz.