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Frequently Asked Questions about Governor Hogan’s Stay at Home Order


Governor Hogan has issued a Stay at Home Order in response to the global COVID-19 public health crisis. While there are certain exceptions for essential functions, the primary intent of the order is for people to stay at home in order to limit the spread of the virus. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been getting many questions and petitions from people looking for ways to avoid the stay at home order, especially when it comes to hunting, boating, and fishing.

We have consulted with the state’s legal experts on how to interpret the governor’s executive order and the intent is simple: stay home unless you absolutely must leave. This is a serious global health crisis and the number of confirmed cases and deaths in Maryland rises everyday. Risking unnecessary exposure is not just a hazard for you — it puts law enforcement, emergency responders, seniors and vulnerable populations in danger. We will save lives by doing the right thing and simply staying home.

With that in mind, here is some additional guidance in response to questions the department has received. This is current guidance and subject to change throughout the duration of the public health emergency.  Read more…

Department of Natural Resources Issues Guidance on Governor Hogan’s Stay at Home Order

Coronavirus iconGovernor Larry Hogan has issued an executive order on March 30, 2020, which institutes a Stay at Home directive and says that no Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.

While the order does allow for outdoor exercise recreation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reaffirming the need for members of the public who engage in outdoor recreation to follow all rules and guidelines in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Hogan has stressed that safely practiced outdoor recreation time is essential to health and well-being. Most Maryland state parks and other public lands remain open, and residents may engage in safe, isolated activities.

Under the executive order, no Marylander should leave their home except for an essential reason. Therefore, recreational boating is not allowed. Subsistence hunting and fishing — limited hunting and limited recreational fishing and crabbing for sustenance — can continue, however social distancing must be adhered to strictly. No permits for fishing tournaments, including virtual tournaments, will be issued by the department until further notice. Commercial fishing is deemed essential and may continue since it is part of the food supply chain. Read more…

Regulations Proposed for 2020 Summer-Fall Striped Bass Season

Conservation Measures in Review by Legislative Committee

Photo of biologist on a boat returning tagged striped bass to the water

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists survey and tag striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay as part of the annual survey of the population. Photo by Stephen Badger

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is proposing changes for the Chesapeake Bay summer-fall striped bass season. Due to the timing of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approval process, some changes will be made by public notice. Measures that require regulatory changes have been submitted to the Maryland General Assembly Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR). The combination of the public notice and these proposed regulatory actions ensure Maryland’s compliance with the ASFMC directive to meet a coast-wide conservation target.

The proposal calls for the 2020 summer-fall season in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries to be open May 16 through Aug. 15, and Sept. 1 through Dec. 10. Anglers would be able to keep one striped bass per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. The season would 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, charter boats and commercial hook-and-line fishing. During a chartered fishing trip, the captain or mate would not be permitted to land or possess striped bass for personal consumption.
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Environmental Education Month Celebrated in April

Maryland Supports Hands-on Learning about Nature

Photo of girl observing the waterThe State of Maryland once again recognizes April as Environmental Education Month in Maryland, in recognition of public and private efforts to help children experience and learn about their natural world. This year’s proclamation also recognizes this year as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which is April 22. Read more…

Maryland Fishing Report – April 1

Photo of Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Photo by Lauren Moses

None of us has ever experienced anything like the COVID 19 pandemic, and we must focus on the safety of ourselves, our families and the safety of others. We are all in this together.

Governor Hogan has issued a Stay at Home Order in response to the global COVID-19 public health crisis. While there are certain exceptions for essential functions, the primary intent of the order is for people to stay at home in order to limit the spread of the virus. 

As we have temporarily halted our routine water monitoring due to the current health emergency, our weekly fishing report will be on hiatus.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has provided some additional guidance online as to what activities qualify as essential. Limited subsistence fishing is allowed if you are seeking food for you or your family — basically you intend to keep what you catch as long as it’s legal.

Social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed. Recreational boating is prohibited until the governor lifts the executive order or until the State of Emergency has ended.  However, you can use a boat if you’re seeking food for you or your family. 

Also remember that all season, size, and creel regulations are in place and will be enforced. 

Venturing out to go fishing in these times is a serious endeavor that should be planned carefully and thoughtfully, and done only if you need and intend to bring some fresh fish home. Otherwise, please observe the state’s directives on keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Please stay at home and limit the spread of the virus. Take care and be safe through this crisis.

Read more…

Black Bears Emerging from Dens

Marylanders Urged to Keep Bears Wild

Photo of black bear on hillsideAfter a mild winter, Maryland’s black bears are starting to leave their winter slumber to search for food. Natural food sources for bears — such as plants, berries, and insects — are in short supply until later in the spring, so bears are looking for anything that smells like food.

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

Leave Maryland’s Spring Wildlife Wild

Handling Fawns is Usually Unnecessary, Often Dangerous, and Always Illegal

Photo of young fawn in the woods

Photo by Pam Perna

Fawns are a sight to behold. Born helpless in late spring, they rely on their camouflage and virtual lack of odor to help them hide from danger. Fawns instinctively lie motionless when approached by potential predators. This behavioral adaptation has helped white-tailed deer survive for ages.

Despite this effective strategy, curious fawns will sometimes wander around new surroundings and may appear to be lost, distressed, or orphaned. In most cases, the doe is nearby feeding and will return to care for her young when it is safe.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anyone who encounters a fawn to avoid disturbing it and resist the urge to handle or feed it. For the safety of both humans and wildlife, removing deer from the wild and keeping them in captivity is against the law in Maryland. Read more…

Maryland Fishing Report – March 25

Photo of boy holding red-eared sunfish

Mason Bair went fishing with family and caught this large red-ear sunfish. Photo by Zack Stough

A lot of people find themselves with extra time on their hands. We encourage anglers to take advantage of the incredible fishing opportunities Maryland has to offer, provided everyone practices social distancing, avoids crowded areas, and minimizes social interaction. This is an especially good time to safely take youngsters out of the house to enjoy some fishing together, again being careful and thinking everything through when planning your trip.

Department 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. This information is very important to the biologists who manage the species listed in the surveys, which are available on our website. 

Anglers are reminded that all catch and release of striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay ends March 31 and will not open to striped bass fishing of any kind until May 1. A review of catch-and release-tips can be viewed on our website

In order to protect public health and safety and to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all Licensing and Registration Centers are now closed. Governor Hogan has issued an executive order related to licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations that may be expiring or up for renewal during the state of emergency. The executive order immediately grants a grace period of 30 days after the date of termination of the state of emergency — this includes fishing and boating licenses.

Our online COMPASS portal provides 24/7 self service access to our entire product catalog of recreational licenses, permits, and stamps plus many other Maryland Department of Natural Resources programs. 

Read more…

Pumpout Grants Available for Maryland Marinas for 2020 Boating Season

Applications Due April 15

Photo of a pumpout station at a marinaThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the availability of Pumpout Operations and Maintenance grants for the 2020 boating season. This program assists marinas in offering reliable pumpout service to Maryland boaters. Applications are due April 15. 

State and federal laws prohibit the discharge of raw sewage from boats. Maryland law requires marinas with more than 50 slips, as well as any new or expanding marina, to have a pumpout station.

Pumpout Operations and Maintenance grants are made available through the federal Clean Vessel Act and state Waterway Improvement Fund, which are both funded by fees and taxes paid by boaters. Read more…

Maryland Fishing Report – March 18

Photo of boy holding a crappie he caught

Michael Novak Jr. caught this beautiful crappie recently while fishing with his dad. Photo by Michael Novak

We face extraordinary times and everyone must make decisions regarding the safety of ourselves and those we love. Given Maryland’s current State of Emergency, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has made adjustments as well.

After careful consideration, the department decided to suspend spring trout stocking to protect the health and safety of our state employees and also the public and angling community. We need to avoid a situation that encourages anglers to gather near stocked locations. The department may also cancel or postpone fishing-related events this spring, including youth fishing rodeos and fishing tournaments due to the Executive Order prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. In fact, the department has already stocked 82,700 brown, golden, and rainbow trout across the state. While it is unknown at this time when trout stocking will resume, we do encourage anglers to safely take advantage of incredible fishing opportunities Maryland has to offer.

For those looking for ways to occupy children stuck at home, consider a peaceful fishing adventure — obviously taking care to keep your proper social distance from others and avoid unnecessary exposure. 

Please keep an eye on the department’s website and social media for updates, and we will resume regular operations once we are safely able.

Be safe, be responsible, be kind to each other, and we will get through these trying times together. 

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AccessDNR March 2020

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