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Natural Resources News

Maryland Environmental Trust Offers Land Steward Training Classes

Volunteer Opportunity to Protect Natural Areas and Landscapes

Photo of homestead and pond in conservation easement

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

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


First Day Hikes to Ring in the New Year for 2021

Weekend Of Self-Guided Walks on Maryland Public Lands

Photo of small group of hikers on a wooden boardwalk

Merkle Natural Resources Management Area in Prince George’s County

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

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


Maryland Natural Resources Police Cite for Deer Poaching

Charges Filed During Two-Week Deer Firearms Season

Photo of Natural Resources Police truck in a fieldMaryland Natural Resources Police charged several individuals throughout the state for illegal hunting practices during the two-week deer firearm season, Nov. 28- Dec. 12. Read more…


Deer Harvest up 16% during Maryland Firearms Season

Hunters Harvest Over 31,000 Deer during the Two-Week Season

Photo by Lori BrambleThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters harvested 31,571 deer during the two-week firearms season from Nov. 28 – Dec. 12. The harvest was 16% higher than last year’s official count of 27,121. Hunters enjoyed good weather compared to the 2019 season, which was hampered by rain, wind, and fog on key days.

Read more…


Wolf Den Run State Park Opens Additional 1,375 Acres

Expanded Recreation Includes Off-Road Vehicle Trails

Photo of off-road vehicle on a trail.The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that Wolf Den Run State Park has now opened two additional areas, adding 1,375 acres of land and 25 miles of multi-use trails, including off-road vehicle (ORV) use. Read more…


Maryland Fifth-Graders Invited to Submit Arbor Day Posters for 2021

Annual Contest Taking Submissions until Jan. 15, 2021

Image of winning Arbor Day contest poster for 2020, titled

Lola Lugard of Carroll County won first place honors for the 2020 Arbor Day Poster Contest.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Forest Conservancy District Boards invite all Maryland fifth-graders in private and public schools to participate in the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest.

The theme for 2021 is: “Trees Are Terrific…and Forest Products are Too!”

All entries must be delivered to a local Maryland Forest Service office by noon, Jan. 15, 2021. Read more…


Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest Winner Announced

Hen and Drake Redhead to Adorn 2021-2022 Hunting Stamps

Illustration of hen and drake redhead

Scott Calpino’s rendering of a hen and a drake redhead will adorn Maryland’s 2021-2022 migratory game bird hunting stamps.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce Scott Calpino has won the 47th Annual Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest with his lifelike rendering of a hen and a drake redhead, complete with a beautiful reflection in the water Read more…


Trio Charged with Illegal Deer Hunting in Garrett County

Photo of Natural Resources Police officer and truck in mountainous areaFollowing an extensive investigation, Maryland Natural Resources Police charged three men with illegally hunting multiple deer in Garrett County.

In November and December, Natural Resources Police investigated reports of deer illegally killed near the Blakeslee community. On December 3, officers learned of an additional incident where an antlerless albino deer was illegally hunted, and received information from concerned citizens. After investigating, police identified three suspects: Jeremy Hoalcraft, 18, of Oakland; David Georg, 29, of Swanton; and Jordan Dawson, 22, of Deer Park. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Dec. 9

Photo of man holding a largemouth bass

David Shaw shows us some of the rewards that can be found when fishing this time of the year as he caught and released this largemouth bass in the Sassafras River recently Photo by David Shaw

This week concludes our Maryland Fishing Report for 2020 — look for our winter update in early February, and for our weekly reports to resume in March 2021.

Despite colder temperatures there is still plenty of good fishing ahead in the winter months. Many will now shift their focus to freshwater and ocean fishing — with freshwater providing the easiest opportunities and definitely the more comfortable.

Read more…


Muzzleloader Deer Season Reopens Dec. 19

Season Runs Through Jan. 2

Photo of bounding deer

Photo by Brendan Wolf

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the muzzleloader deer hunting season will reopen Dec. 19 and run through Jan. 2, 2021. This is the second half of Maryland’s split deer muzzleloader season; the first half was held in October. Hunters may use muzzleloading firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during these dates. Read more…


Deer Hunters Enjoy Successful Firearms Opening Weekend

Excellent Weather Contributed to Strong Harvest

Photo of deer in the woods

Photo by Ranger Elena Gilroy

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters reported 11,054 deer taken on the opening weekend of the 2020 Maryland firearm season, Nov. 28-29. The harvest was 19% higher than last year’s official first weekend harvest of 9,272 deer. 

The harvest total included 4,932 antlered and 5,799 antlerless white-tailed deer, and 163 antlered and 160 antlerless sika deer. The two-week deer firearm season runs through Dec. 12. Read more…


Department Offers Online Licensing Services in Spanish

COMPASS Portal Expands Outreach

Photo of man driving a boat with fishing rods on the back

Photo by Stephen Badger

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces its online COMPASS portal is now available in Spanish.  

The new COMPASS portal will provide Spanish speakers access to the department’s catalog of recreational licenses, permits and stamps, and other products and services. 

A button at the top of each page within COMPASS allows visitors to toggle between the “English version” and the “versión en español.” Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Dec. 2

Photo of father and daughter holding a pair of yellow perch

Chloe Campbell and her dad got to enjoy some fun fishing for yellow perch at Deep Creek Lake recently. Photo by Gary Campbell

With December’s arrival it is getting chillier outside, but there is still plenty of wonderful fishing to be had from offshore of Ocean City to Deep Creek Lake.

Read more…


Individuals Honored for Lifetime Support of Maryland Sport Fishing

Nominations for Next Year’s Award Now Being Accepted

Photo of angler fly fishing on a riverbank

Photo: “Flyfishing on the Susquehanna” by Mark Rutt

The Maryland Sport Fishery Advisory Commission presented its inaugural award for lifetime achievement to two individuals: the late fishing legend Bernand “Lefty” Kreh, and Baltimore County resident Kenneth Lewis.

The Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award was established by the commission to honor individuals who have provided sustained efforts in habitat management, conservation, education, research, or other meaningful contributions that benefit recreational fishing in Maryland. Read more…


Maryland Reports Early Deer Season 2020 Results

Archery Totals See Increase; Muzzeloaders Offset by Weather

Photo of two bucks in the autumn woods

Photo by Reinhardt Sahmel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that hunters harvested 19,571 deer during the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader seasons. The harvest was a 7% decrease from last year’s official harvest of 21,098 deer for the same period. Read more…


Elk Neck Rifle and Shotgun Ranges Scheduled for Maintenance

State Forest Facility Begins Temporary Closure Dec. 7 

Photo of entrance sign at Elk Neck State ForestThe rifle and shotgun ranges at Elk Neck State Forest will be closed to the public beginning Dec. 7 for critical maintenance projects. The closure, announced by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is scheduled for 60 calendar days. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 25

Photo of girl holding string of crappie

Young angler Lucy Perez holds a string of crappie caught in the Susquehanna River. Photo by Nick Perez

From all of us at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, we wish you a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. Many will take advantage of some time off to go fishing or enjoy other outdoor activities. There are so many fishing options from the mountain streams of western Maryland to the waters off Ocean City.  

Read more…


Survey of Maryland Hunters Results Released

Respondents Share Views on Hunting Issues

Photo of hunter, dog and good decoys silhouette against the water

Photo by Larry Hindman

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources today released results of a survey of Maryland hunters’ attitudes towards a variety of topics related to hunting in Maryland. The survey was conducted on behalf of the department by Responsive Management, a leading survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues. 

The survey focused on the characteristics of Maryland’s hunters and the type of hunting they do, their use and satisfaction with hunting on Maryland’s Wildlife Management Areas, and their opinions on hunting-related issues.  Read more…


Marylanders Reminded to Hire Licensed Tree Experts

Make Sure Work is Legal, Safe, and Insured

Photo of worker climbing a treeNow that leaves are fallen, many Marylanders will prepare for winter by trimming live trees or removing dead trees. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a few important suggestions that homeowners should follow before hiring a contractor to do the work.    

Only Maryland Licensed Tree Experts should be hired to trim branches and remove trees – they are the only tree care professionals who lawfully can perform this work in Maryland.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 18

Photo of man with a nice largemouth bass

Photo by Eric Packard

The recent cold front that has descended on Maryland seems like a knock on the door for what is coming. There are still plenty of wonderful fishing opportunities to be had — always be safe and make sure to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while out on the water.

Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: November 12, 2020

Image of Maryland showing peak fall foliage in Southern Maryland and the lower Eastern ShoreWelcome to the Fall Foliage Report for November 12, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Fall colors have finally reached their peak in Southern Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore. Plan a drive or hike to get out and see the foliage this weekend! Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 11

Photo of boy holding a chain pickerel

Young Fhinn Zeender-Lawrence holds up a beautiful chain pickerel caught on the lower Eastern Shore last weekend while fishing with his dad. Photo by Nathan Zeender

On this Veterans Day, let us all take a pause to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice — to them we owe gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy. 

Marylanders have been treated to some beautiful weather recently and many enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the outdoors.

Read more…


Natural Resources Police Issue Citations in Bear Hunt

Photo of NRP officer at truck while on patrol in wooded areaMaryland Natural Resources Police worked tirelessly to combat illegal hunting during the state’s annual black bear hunt, held Oct. 26-30 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. Officers cited several hunters who, though legally permitted to participate in the hunt, were unlawfully using bait to attract and lure bears.  Read more…


Harriet Tubman State Park Reopens to the Public

Tubman Experience Available by Reservation

Photo of Harriet Tubman bust inside visitors centerThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park is once again welcoming guests with a new reservation-only process. The park and visitor center has reopened after a six-month closure due to COVID-19 restrictions, and new protocols, developed by the Maryland Park Service and Dorchester County Health Department, ensure a healthy visit for guests and staff. 

Safety features now in place include admittance by reservation and timed entry. In order to keep everyone safe, all visitors over the age of five are required to wear face masks that cover the mouth and nose, use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the center, and remain with their own party, socially distanced from others. The capacity of the visitor center has been reduced and the flow of visitor traffic inside the building has been altered to limit interaction between groups. Signs are in place to remind visitors of these precautions. Read more…


Maryland Deer Firearms Hunting Season Opens Nov. 28

Hunters Can Use Straight-Walled Cartridge Rifles, Handguns Statewide

Photo of two bucks in a field during the fall

Photo by Reinhardt Sahmel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the two-week firearms hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 12. 

New this year, deer hunters may use rifles and handguns that employ straight-walled cartridges in all counties. Rifles and handguns that use bottleneck cartridges remain limited to those counties that permitted them previously. More information on this change, along with season bag limits and other deer hunting regulations, are available in the 2020-2021 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping.

Sunday deer hunting is available in all but three counties for the deer firearms season and remains a critical component to deer population management, in addition to providing recreational opportunities for all resident and visiting hunters. Read more…


Fall Foliage Report: November 5, 2020

 

Map of Maryland showing peak foliage in central and southern Maryland

Welcome to the Fall Foliage Report for November 5, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Although recent wind and rain have sent much of Maryland past peak foliage, the southern part of the state is looking very colorful. Read more…


Waterfowl Hunting Days Set for Youth, Veterans, and Active Military

Photo of adult teaching young hunter in a fieldThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces two special waterfowl hunting days on Nov. 7, 2020 and Feb. 6, 2021 for Maryland’s youth hunters, and for the first time, for active military personnel and veterans as well.  Read more…


Input Sought for Third Year of State Lakes Fund

Virtual Public Meeting Scheduled Nov. 12

Photo of Deep Creek LakeThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host a webinar Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. to provide an update and solicit public input for year three of the State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund. The fund is providing $1 million annually for three years to protect and restore state-owned lakes. 

During the webinar, the department will report on projects underway and accept input toward developing a budget for best use of funds for the coming year, in coordination with local governments, organizations, and citizens. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 4

Photo of woman holding a blue crab

Laura Sullivan is comfortably bundled up for a fun day crabbing on the water.

As we enter November there is plenty of fun to be had in the outdoors, we just have to dress a little warmer as the month progresses. Those wishing for some fresh blue crabs are enjoying good recreational crabbing this week.

Read more…


Black Bear Hunt 2020 Concludes in Western Maryland

117 Bears Harvested in Four Counties

Photo of bear in woods

Photo by Bob Geary

Hunters harvested 117 black bears despite challenging conditions during Maryland’s 17th annual black bear hunt. Official results have been compiled and reported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources following the five-day hunt held Oct. 26-30 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. Read more…


Fall Turkey Season Open in Western Maryland

Three-County Hunt Runs Through Nov. 8

Photo of wild turkey

Photo by Andrew Gue

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that the fall turkey hunting season will open Oct. 31 and continue through Nov. 8 in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties, with a bag limit of one turkey per hunter. Read more…


Commercial Blue Crab Catch Limits Extended Through Nov. 7

Department Extends October Regulations

Photo of crabs caught in a basket

Photo by Maria Swanenburg

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is extending the October bushel limits on Chesapeake Bay mature female hard crabs that can be harvested by commercial watermen by one week, through Nov. 7. These bushel limits were originally issued by public notice effective July 1, 2020.  Read more…


Maryland Boaters Encouraged to ‘Think Before You Shrink’

Photo of powerboat in dry dock with a canvas coverThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is encouraging owners of small boats to “Think Before You Shrink” this year, and convert to reusable materials for their winter covering. The goal is to reduce plastic waste and alleviate disposal issues caused by removing shrink wrap every spring. 

Semi-custom, reusable covers are readily available for most small boats at about the same cost as two years of shrink wrap. The reusable covers last five to ten years and can be repaired or cleaned to extend their life. Read more…


Maryland State Nursery Has Trees Available for Spring Planting

The Time is Now to Think Spring

Photo of young trees growing at state nurseryOrders are now being accepted for the spring 2021 planting season for shrubs and trees from the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery, managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Trees benefit the environment as well as enhance natural habitat for birds, squirrels and other wildlife. Almost all trees and shrubs available for sale are native, and many are also pollinator-friendly. Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: October 29, 2020

Map of Maryland foliage showing Western Maryland past peak and central Maryland at peak

Welcome to the Fall Foliage Report for October 29, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. We are looking forward to a full moon Hallo-weekend with peaking foliage in parts of central Maryland! Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 28

Photo of young boy with a bluegill on the end of his fishing rod

Rory Zeender-Lawrence gives a “thumbs up” with this bluegill he caught recently. Photo by Nathan Zeender

We have some rain in the forecast, but pleasant weather is just around the corner so try not to miss a single day of it. Taking youngsters out for a little fishing fun is often at the top of the to-do list.

Read more…


Input Sought on Maryland White-tailed Deer Management Plan

Public Comments Taken on Draft Plan through Nov. 27

Photo of bucks by Tim Ray

Bucks by Tim Ray

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has produced a draft 2020-2034 White-tailed Deer Management Plan. The plan establishes long-term goals for white-tailed deer management in Maryland, and identifies specific objectives and strategies for achieving those goals.  Read more…


September 2020 Hypoxia Report

Maryland Summer Oxygen Conditions Second-best on Record

Chart of percentage of hypoxic water volume in Maryland's Chesapeake BayMaryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) monitoring data show that summer average dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were the second best on record since 1985. The average hypoxic volume — areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — of the eight 2020 summer cruises was 0.63 cubic miles, compared to a historical summer average from 1985-2019 of 0.84 cubic miles.  Before this year, 2012 was the only year that had a lower average hypoxic volume of 0.62 cubic miles.  

During 2020, every cruise except  late July had better than average oxygen conditions for its time period.  No anoxic zones — areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen — were observed in the mainstem bay in either Maryland or Virginia for the year. Read more…


Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy Graduates 27 New Officers

Governor Hogan Addresses 62nd Basic Class; Force at Near-Record 268

Photo of Natural Resources Police Academy Graduates at Sandy Point State Park

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police is proud to welcome 27 new officers to our agency. In front of supporting family, friends, and officers, the former recruits raised their right hand and took an oath to protect Maryland’s citizens and natural resources. Read more…


Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers Accepts $7,000 Donation

Conservation Nonprofit Provides Funding

Photo of people with an oversized check

Pictured left to right: Col. Adrian Baker, Maryland Natural Resources Police; state Sen. Jack Bailey, president of Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers; Barbara Allen, secretary treasurer of Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers; Maj. Dave Larsen, NRP; Stanley Samorajczyk, vice president, Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers; Lt. Col. Ernest Leatherbury Jr., NRP

Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) announced a nearly $7,000 donation from the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Enforcement Fund Inc. (WCEF) to support the Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers in its mission to enforce conservation laws in Maryland.   Read more…


Seeding the Bay’s Future: Planting Initiative Vital to Maryland’s Underwater Grass Restoration

Photo of underwater vegetationSubmerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is increasingly recognized as vital to aquatic ecosystems. Its importance is extolled during retellings of extreme weather events, e.g. how the widespread destruction of SAV following Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 affected the Chesapeake Bay. The benefits of healthy underwater grass populations are easily observed: lately, anglers and boaters have experienced firsthand how the resurgence of SAV beds on the Susquehanna Flats has led to water so clear that the bottom of the bay is often visible 10 feet deep in midsummer. Read more…


Pitch a Tent, Cast a Line: Fall into Fishing at Maryland State Parks

Photo of Deep Creek Lake in autumn

Deep Creek Lake in autumn glory

This fall, fishing adventures await at Maryland state parks! It’s a perfect time of year to plan a day trip or a weekend getaway at any of our state parks for unforgettable fishing, with a wide choice of tranquil freshwater streams, fully stocked lakes, or brackish Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Between casts, anglers can check out all that our state parks offer—amazing views, awesome history, and plenty of outdoor adventure from sunrise hikes to sunset campfires. Read more…


From the Field: Teri Batchelor

Teri BatchelorEditor’s note: As this article was being prepared for publication, Margaret Teresa “Teri” Batchelor passed away in July following a battle with cancer. Acting State Forester Kenneth Jolly completed this profile in her honor.

Forty-one years ago, none of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Foresters were women. That all changed on June 13, 1979, when the Maryland Forest Service hired Margaret Teresa “Teri” Batchelor. Read more…


‘When Everyone Locked Their Doors, We Opened Our Gates’: The Maryland Park Service Answers the Call During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo of ranger wearing mask collecting park entrance fees

Ranger Erik Ledbetter collects entrance fees at Seneca Creek State Park

We often hear we are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way we live our lives and do our jobs. For the many park rangers, maintenance staff, and administrative staff who manage and operate state parks in Maryland, it created a new challenge to our mission of providing access for Marylanders to our state’s natural spaces. Read more…


A Hunter’s Story: My First Shot

Photo of woman with deer hunted using bow

Photo courtesy of Sara Rutledge

I’ve heard that certain languages have more than 50 words to describe snow. Looking back on my first hunt, I feel like I need a whole new vocabulary to convey my thanks for the entire experience of my first crossbow hunt. Every moment was profound and life changing. Read more…


Open Water: Kayak Fishing Offers Pursuit of Sport and Serenity

Photo of kayak angler

Kayak Angler Bruce Kellman

It’s 5 a.m. The sun hasn’t yet ventured above the horizon. Just minutes ago, the last bits of waning moonlight flickered sparingly along the shoreline and gently lit the glassy calm waters that now await me. The rhythm of the waves pairs with a cooling sea breeze and my thoughts steady. Until this moment, my mind has been aflutter—intensely focused on pre-launch routines and equipment checklists.

I’m not even in the water yet—my fish box is empty—but I know already it’s going to be a spectacular day. Without question, kayak fishing has changed my life. Read more…


Restored: Sang Run Election House Gets Historic Revival

Photo of Sang Run Election House after restoration

Sang Run Election House after restoration

The community of Sang Run, Maryland has long stood as a close-knit gathering of neighbors located along the banks of Ginseng Run in western Garrett County. For more than 100 years, the Friends Store and the Sang Run Election House were at the heart of this small community. Read more…


Bird Search: Third Breeding Bird Atlas Effort is Underway

Photo of northern bobwhite

Northern bobwhite by Sharon Sexton

At some point, you’ve probably found evidence of a breeding bird. Maybe you were doing some yard work and came across a robin’s nest, or maybe you spooked a turkey and her chicks while scouting for whitetails, or maybe you were fishing and found a heron colony. Finds like these make each excursion outdoors an adventure with unpredictable rewards, but these experiences can also yield valuable data that will help manage and conserve Maryland’s ecosystems. Read more…


Tools of the Trade: Maryland’s Wildland Firefighters

Photo of back of fire truck

View of the back of the fire engine

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service has mobilized wildland firefighters for dispatch throughout the United States since 1974. Participation in this national effort is possible because the agency is able to provide fully trained, certified, and equipped personnel on short notice to any location in the country to assist with protecting lives, property, and natural resources. By participating in this program, state and fire service personnel meet an immediate national need and also gain valuable experience to advance firefighting skills used to suppress wildfires here in Maryland. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioAutumn is a time marked by cooling weather, falling leaves, and, of course, elections.

While the pandemic has initiated an important discussion on how to hold elections, historically, Marylanders gathered in election houses to cast their votes. Election houses were small, purpose-built structures constructed specifically for voting. Today only a handful of them survive. One of oldest still standing in Maryland, and perhaps even in the country, is at Sang Run State Park, in Garrett County, Maryland – a site the Lt. Governor and I visited this past winter. In this edition of Natural Resource Magazine we highlight the story of the DNR team that worked to bring this dilapidated but historically significant structure back to its original, circa-1872 appearance. Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: October 22, 2020

Map of Maryland showing fall foliage reaching peak in Washington and Frederick counties

Welcome to the Fall Foliage Report for October 22, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. This season continues to bring on the best fall color Maryland has seen in years, as Washington and Frederick counties reach peak foliage. Read more…


Nearly $20M in Rural Legacy Program Grants Approved

Expansions and New Easements Benefit 17 Maryland Counties

Aerial photo of Piney Run Rural Legacy Area in Baltimore County

Piney Run Rural Legacy Area in Baltimore County

The Board of Public Works today unanimously approved recommendations of nearly $20 million in Rural Legacy Program grants for conservation easements and expansion in 17 Maryland counties. Funding from these grants will permanently protect more than 4,500 acres of working farms, forests, marshes, open space, shorelines, and wetlands — plus cultural and historical resources — throughout the state.

The recommendations also include five Rural Legacy Area expansions, which provide the opportunity to protect more than 43,897 additional acres. Included in that amount is 30,591 acres that essentially doubles the size of the Zekiah Rural Legacy Area in Charles County, and 12,413 acres in Washington County that includes properties significant to Maryland history and to the viewshed from the C&O Canal and the Appalachian Trail. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 21

Photo of man holding up a large striped bass

Photo courtesy of Herb Floyd

The month of October is offering Maryland anglers some of the best fishing opportunities to be found at any time of the year. The fall trout stocking program is in full swing, other freshwater fish are feeding aggressively, and fishing for striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay is at its zenith.

As we all know, Maryland has taken numerous conservation measures to protect the Chesapeake Bay striped bass population. Anglers now have an opportunity to comment on striped bass closure period options for summer 2021. Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. Read about the options and comment online at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

Read more…


CARES Act Funding Available for Maryland Fishing Industry

State Approved to Provide $3 Million in Direct Assistance

Photo of fleet of commercial fishing boats in harbor

Photo by Angel Willey

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces applications will be available Nov. 4 are available through Feb. 28 for economic relief funds for the commercial seafood industry through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application will be available to eligible members of the seafood industry on the Maryland OneStop website. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28, 2021.

In May 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that Maryland would be receiving about $4 million. Maryland has dedicated $3 million of that for direct payments to commercial, for hire, aquaculture, and seafood processing operations whose 2020 revenue has suffered a loss of greater than 35% due to COVID-19. The remaining $1 million will fund seafood marketing and business support for individuals in the seafood industry. Maryland worked with NOAA to develop this spending plan based on the provisions of the CARES Act and federal guidance. Funds will be distributed through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: October 15, 2020

Map of Maryland showing Western Maryland passing through peak color
Welcome to the Fall Foliage Report for October 15, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 14

Photo of boy and father holding a yellow perch

Bergan Kline spent a day fishing with his dad on Deep Creek Lake when he caught this 14-inch yellow perch. Photo by Sean Kline

One of the most spectacular times of the year is upon us, but it will not last long — daylight hours become shorter as leaves burst in color before falling to the ground. All kinds of fishing awaits those that take the time to pursue it — the fall trout stocking program is in full swing, and other species of freshwater and saltwater fish await.

Please join us for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar Oct. 15 at noon. We will discuss the ongoing fall trout stocking season with Coldwater Program Manager Marshall Brown. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of the most recent juvenile striped bass survey, which showed a below-average spawning rate in the bay this year. Striped bass are known for highly variable annual reproduction that is often influenced by environmental factors. Maryland has implemented sound conservation measures to enhance the striped bass population in recent years, and it’s up to all of us to protect this important and iconic resource.

Read more…


Public Input for Pocomoke River Wildlands Expansion Proposal

Comments Taken Through Nov. 27; Public Meeting Oct. 28

The Maryland DeparPhoto of entrance sign for Pocomoke State Forest recreational areatment of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on a proposal for an expansion of the Pocomoke River Wildlands within Pocomoke State Forest in Worcester County. The plan would expand the wildlands by about 80 acres and adjust the Wildlands boundary to create a public access passageway. Comments can be provided in person at a public meeting Oct. 28, or online or by mail by Nov. 27. 

The proposal and survey are posted on the department website and will be online through the deadline. Read more…


Chesapeake Bay Young-of-Year Survey Results Released

Striped Bass Among Species Below Average, Others Flourish

Photo of juvenile striped bass in a survey net

Maryland DNR scientists examine juvenile striped bass for the annual index, before carefully releasing them back to the water.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of the most recent juvenile striped bass survey, which tracks the reproductive success of the state fish in Chesapeake Bay. The 2020 young-of-year striped bass index is 2.5, below the long-term average of 11.5.

Although the size of the striped bass population has decreased recently, the number of mature fish is not believed to be a limiting factor in reproduction. Striped bass are known for highly variable annual reproduction that is often influenced by environmental factors. Other species with spawning strategies similar to striped bass such as white perch, yellow perch, and river herring also experienced lower reproductive success.  Read more…


Eyes on the Bay: Wrapping Up Summer 2020

Photo of sailboat on bayHow did Tropical Storm Isaias impact the bay?

Hurricane Isaias was a destructive Category 1 hurricane that impacted the Caribbean and the United States’ east coast. How did this storm impact the Chesapeake Bay? See the dissolved oxygen section of this newsletter to find out.

In addition, be sure to check out the “Neighborhood Watch” section below to see how bay fish, crabs, oysters, and grasses responded to the late summer temperatures and patchy rain.

Climb aboard the Eyes on the Bay, toss off the dock lines, and let’s go for a virtual cruise on Maryland’s waters! Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: October 8, 2020

Map of Maryland showing western Maryland reaching peak fall foliage

Welcome to the Fall Foliage Report for October 8, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The western corner of Maryland is seeing peak foliage setting in, headlined by the vivid yellows, reds, and oranges of maple leaves. Elsewhere, Maryland forests are exhibiting scattered spots of color, with the real fall showing yet to come! Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – October 7

Photo of man in a boat holding a huge blue catfish

George Monk Jr. managed to enjoy a great day of fishing for blue catfish and is all smiles as he holds up a whopper. Photo courtesy of George Monk Jr.

There is a lot of exciting news this week for put-and-take trout anglers as the fall trout stocking program has begun. In the Chesapeake Bay, striped bass along with many other species of fish are providing wonderful fishing opportunities — don’t miss it.

Please join us for a Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar Oct. 15 at noon. We will discuss the ongoing fall trout stocking season with Coldwater Program Manager Marshall Brown. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves Funding for Green Infrastructure Projects

Funding for Resiliency in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, and St. Mary’s Counties

Photo of waves crashing onto shore at Piney Point, St. Mary's County

Photo courtesy St. Mary’s County

The Board of Public Works today approved funding for two Resiliency through Restoration projects and one Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant, to help Maryland’s communities enhance their ability to withstand the impacts of climate change, erosion, flooding and extreme weather.  Read more…


Maryland Black Bear Activity Rises as Leaves Fall

Residents Reminded to Take Common-Sense Precautions

Photo of black bear in the woods

Photo by Bob Geary

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds residents and visitors that black bears are beginning a period of increased feeding activity in preparation for winter hibernation. Black bears in Maryland are concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. Read more…


Deer Muzzleloader Season Opens Oct. 22

Season Offers Opportunity to Enjoy Fall Woods

Photo of deer in the woods

Photo by Ranger Elena Gilroy, Maryland Park Service

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the first segment of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season runs from Oct. 22-24 statewide.  Read more…


Governor Hogan Announces New Attendance Record For Maryland State Parks

Visitors Number 17.1 Million and Counting
State Officials Continue to Promote Safe Outdoor Activity During Pandemic
Parks Follow All Federal and State Health Guidelines

Photo of ranger at park entrance, wearing mask and holding out plastic container

Seneca Creek State Park’s contactless entrance fee system.

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the Maryland Park Service is reporting a total of 17.1 million visitors to date in 2020, already surpassing the previous record of 14.9 million total visitors in 2019, with three months still remaining in the year. During peak season in July, state parks attracted 3.4 million visitors, compared to 2.5 million during the same time period last year.

“As our state continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, we have consistently reminded the people of Maryland that outside activity is much safer than inside activity,” said Governor Hogan. “We are so pleased to see that Marylanders have heeded that advice by visiting our state parks in record numbers this year to exercise safely, get some fresh air, and spend time with family. I want to thank all of our park rangers and staff who have continued to provide a seamless level of service during the pandemic to ensure these valuable state resources remain accessible to Marylanders.” Read more…


Maryland Motorists Should be Alert for Deer

Fall Breeding Season Has Deer on the Move

Photo of group of deer

Photo by Freddi Weiner

Deer mating season is right around the corner and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges motorists to be on the lookout for these large animals as they increase their activity in search of partners. Other wildlife are also more active as they search for food going into the winter months. Read more…


Angler Catches Maryland Record Gray Triggerfish

Pennsylvanian Lands 6-pound Fish off Ocean City

Photo of man holding a gray triggerfishThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has recognized Logan Liddick of Carlisle, Pa. as the new Maryland state record holder for the gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus). The 34-year-old angler caught the 6.0-pound, 20-inch long fish on Sept. 25, while fishing near a shipwreck 14 miles off the coast of Ocean City.  Read more…


2020 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Fan Favorite Winner to Be Chosen on Facebook

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma

Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl by Zaphir Shamma

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the winners of the 2020 Natural Resources Photo Contest, with the grand prize going to Zaphir Shamma of Gunpowder for his striking photo of an eastern screech owl nestled in a tree cavity. Read more…


Maryland Forest Service Begins Logging Site Visits

Improved Communications to Help Bolster Resource Protection

Photo of worker splitting log in the forestThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Service will conduct forest harvest site visits on active logging operations across the state, in a joint effort with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to protect natural resources, wetlands, and waterways during forest harvest operations.   Read more…


Applications Open for 2021 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants

$312,500 Available for Community Beautification, Greening, and Environmental Initiatives

Photo of volunteers watering and planting flowers in urban area

2016 Keep Maryland Beautiful grant recipient Pigtown Main Street volunteers at the annual Bloom the Boulevard event

The State of Maryland in partnership with the Forever Maryland Foundation is now accepting applications for the annual Keep Maryland Beautiful grants program.

Four different grants are being offered to help volunteer and nonprofit groups, communities, and land trusts support environmental education projects, litter removal, citizen stewardship, and solve natural resource issues in urban and rural areas. The deadline to apply for funding is Nov. 12, 2020. Awards will be announced in spring 2021. Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: October 1, 2020

Image of Maryland map showing Western Maryland nearing peak fall colorWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for October 1, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 30

Photo of a woman holding up a Spanish mackerel

Eva Register holds up a nice Spanish mackerel caught while fishing out on the bay. Photo courtesy of Eva Register

September and early October are noted for the beautiful and mild sunny days that grace us, so make sure to take advantage of them and enjoy the Maryland outdoors with family and friends.

Please join us as we resume our Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar series Oct. 15 at noon. We will discuss the anticipated fall trout stocking season with Coldwater Program Manager Marshall Brown. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Read more…


Trout Stocking in Maryland Resumes for Fall Fishing

Hatchery-Raised Trout Bound for Select Creeks, Lakes, Rivers

Photo of brown trout in the waterThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will soon begin fall trout stocking. The department anticipates stocking thousands of brown, golden, and rainbow trout in select creeks, lakes, and rivers across the state starting in early October.  Read more…


Anne Arundel County No Discharge Zone Receives Tentative EPA Approval

Public Comments Accepted until Oct. 23

Photo of boats in the South River

View of South River, Anne Arundel County

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reviewed and tentatively approved a No Discharge Zone (NDZ) for Anne Arundel County waters. The application approval has been entered in the Federal Register and a public comment period is now underway until Oct. 23.  Read more…


2020-21 Eastern Shore Trapping Bid Packets Available

Bids for Annual Trapping Privileges Accepted Until Oct. 14

Photo of Taylor's Island Wildlife Management Area

Taylor’s Island Wildlife Management Area is among more than 20 Maryland DNR properties open for bids for trapping privileges.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is currently accepting bids for the 2020-2021 trapping season within public lands on the Eastern Shore. The individual with the highest bid will be awarded annual trapping privileges at several properties. Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report: September 24, 2020

Map of Maryland showing fall foliage starting to turn in Western Maryland

Maple tree in Deep Creek Lake State Park, photo by Roy Musselwhite

Maple tree in Deep Creek Lake State Park, photo by Roy Musselwhite

It is now officially fall with a chill in the air and the welcomed return of the Canada geese. The most obvious indicator of autumn’s arrival, the changing of the foliage, is still a few weeks away for most of the state. However, in Western Maryland, pockets here and there are starting to show splotches of brilliant color. Traditionally it’s the region where leaf color changes are seen first, with the foliage in Garrett and Allegany counties beginning to turn beginning in late September and peaking toward the middle of October. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 23

Boy holding a large carp he caught

Young Fhinn Zeender-Lawrence joined family for fishing in the upper Choptank River, and shows off a 20-pound carp he caught before releasing it. Photo by Nathan Zeender

Welcome to the first week of fall! The cooler transitional days ahead are a delight for anyone who loves the outdoors. The leaves are beginning to show a hint of color in the western region of the state, so make sure to get outside and enjoy this special time of the year.

Read more…


Early Teal Season Runs Through Sept. 30

Special Season Provides Additional Waterfowl Opportunity

Image of Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp featuring hen and drake teal

A hen and drake teal are featured in the 2020-21 Migratory Game Bird Stamp, painted by Jeffrey Klinefelter.

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


Creating Habitat for Stem-nesting Bees

Photos of plants that provide habitat for stem-nesting beesDid you know? About 30% of Maryland’s native bees nest in tubes and tunnels. Very few of these species are able to excavate their own nests too. In a previous Habichat, we covered how to make nest blocks for bees. This article will cover how to create habitat for those that nest in stems of flowers and woody plants.  Read more…


Warm Season Grasses for Wildlife

Photo of switchgrass and bluestem meadow

Switchgrass and bluestem meadow by Tom Potterfield CC by NC SA 2.0

Warm season grasses are grasses that grow best during the summer (June-August) and often form large clumps. These grasses provide excellent wildlife habitat, in addition to erosion control. Warm season grasses typically are tall plants with large root systems that help keep soil in place. Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Photo of switchgrass

By Matt Levin CC by SA 2.0

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a native, warm season grass that is an excellent replacement for invasive Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis). This large, bunching grass grows 3-7 feet high and has a 2-3 foot spread. In addition, its extensive root system grows 5-6 feet deep, making it a great plant to assist with stabilizing banks. The roots also help it to tolerate droughts and floods too!  Read more…


Native Animal Profile: Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Photo of garden spider in web

Black and yellow garden spider by Kerry Wixted

More than 250 species of spiders can be found in Maryland and one of the largest and more visible species is the black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia). Also affectionately known as the writing spider, the black and yellow garden spider fashions an intricate zig-zag pattern in the center of its web. This extra weave is known as a stabilimentum. The purpose of the stabilimentum is still not known. Its reflection helps larger animals (like ourselves) see the web to avoid walking through, but it also may help to attract smaller prey.  Read more…


Natural Resources Police Escort Sea Turtles Back to the Wild

Department, National Aquarium Release Three Rehabilitated Reptiles

Photo of Natural Resources Police officer releasing sea turtle into the water

Photo by Lauren Moses

The Maryland Natural Resources Police in Ocean City recently teamed up with the National Aquarium to release three rehabilitated sea turtles. 

On Sept. 9, officers met with aquarium representatives along with two Kemp’s ridley turtles and one green sea turtle. The turtles, Mozzarella, Stilton, and Halloumi, were rescued last year with symptoms related to cold stunning — a condition caused by a dramatic decline in water temperatures affecting the cold-blooded turtles — including pneumonia, respiratory distress, dehydration, infection, and emaciation.

After being successfully rehabilitated by the Baltimore aquarium, the turtles were ready for release back into the ocean. To provide a proper and safe send-off, NRP offered to use their patrol boats for the release.  Read more…


Maryland Fall Foliage Report Preview: September 18, 2020

Map showing color just starting in Garrett County

Welcome to the 2020 Maryland Fall Foliage Report, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Although we will mention a festival or event occasionally, that will not be a major focus this year due to numerous cancellations of many seasonal events.  However, the men and women working for Maryland’s Park Service and Forest Service will provide eyewitness accounts, as well as photographs, as the fall season unfolds. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 16

Photo of young boy holding a blue crab in a trap

Photo by Jim Livingston

CLICK HERE FOR THE SEPT. 23 MARYLAND FISHING REPORT

September always holds promise for the outdoor enthusiast, as the cooler nights and days are like a sweet whisper in the ear about wonderful things to come. Recreational crabbing is at the season’s peak as blue crabs are plentiful, large, and heavy. Do not miss venturing out to enjoy the bounty of the Chesapeake.

Read more…


Volunteer Angler Surveys Reel in Scientific Data

Any Fishing Trip Provides Valuable Information

Photo of man fishing in a creekThis fall, Maryland anglers can turn their fishing experience into important scientific data. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has developed several volunteer angler surveys designed to encourage anglers to submit basic data directly from their smartphone or computer.  Read more…


Dorchester County Angler Catches Record Florida Pompano

Species Added to Maryland Record Books in 2019

Photo of angler David Schrock holding his Maryland state record Florida pompano

Photo courtesy David Schrock

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has officially recognized 26-year-old David Schrock of Woolford as the second official state record holder for the Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus) in the Chesapeake Division. Schrock caught the record-breaking 5.05-pound fish on Tilghman Island during the Labor Day weekend. The pompano had a fork length — measured from the tip of the snout or jaw to the end of the middle caudal fin rays, or “fork” — of 18.5 inches.  Read more…


Late August 2020 Hypoxia Report

Oxygen Conditions Better than Average

Map of Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen results for late August 2020Maryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were better than average in late August 2020. The hypoxic water volume — areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 0.79 cubic miles compared to a historical late August average (1985-2019) of 1 cubic mile. Oxygen conditions continued to be better than average in 2020, with only late July results exceeding the long-term average.

Late August conditions ranked 12th best out of the 36-year monitoring record for the period. No hypoxia was observed in Virginia Chesapeake Bay mainstem waters. No anoxic zones — areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen — were observed in the Maryland or Virginia mainstem. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Sept. 9

Photo of man holding a blue catfish in the early morning hours

Bruce Strickland caught this blue catfish in the Chaptico Bay’s Bankhead Cove. It was 26.25 inches long and weighed about 10 pounds. Photo by Bruce Strickland.

With warm and dry summer weather through the Labor Day weekend, some anglers targeted the bay’s summer species such as Spanish mackerel and red drum, while others have gone back to targeting striped bass. All areas of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers have reopened for striped bass fishing until Dec. 10 with a size limit of 19 inches and a daily bag limit of one fish per angler.

Targeting invasive species such as blue catfish and northern snakehead remains popular. 

Read more…


Maryland Mentored Hunt Program Seeks Teachers and Learners

Department Initiative Connects Novices with Experienced Hunters

Photo of personal instructor guiding student aiming a shotgunThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to introduce the Maryland Mentored Hunt Program, a statewide program aimed to pair new, novice, or lapsed hunters of any age with skilled veteran hunters. The mentors will help guide new hunters throughout the process of building their skills, culminating in a hunt.

Both mentors and mentees can now submit applications for agency review and applicants will be paired based on geographic proximity, interests, and several other criteria. Once the pairing has been made, the mentor and mentee will work together at their own pace to schedule all aspects of the hunt.

“Many individuals throughout the state want to get into hunting for a variety of reasons, but just don’t know where to get started,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Hunting Specialist Chris Markin said. “We understand that people are very busy, so this opportunity allows individuals to pursue hunting with those who can share their passion and knowledge without any event constraints.”

All participants are required to follow the state guidance on preventing spread of COVID-19. The program encourages using video meetings, email, texts, and phone calls as much as possible. For in-person meetings, individuals must practice social distancing and wear masks when in close proximity. .

For more information or to apply visit the program webpage or contact Chris Markin at Christopher.markin@maryland.gov.


Resilience and Restoration Funds Available Through Grants Gateway

Department Accepting FY22 Grant Applications from Governments, Nonprofits

Photo of construction work on stream restoration projectThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the Grants Gateway application is open for local governments and organizations for Fiscal Year 2022. Through this process, funding is available for projects that restore local waterways, increase communities’ resilience to climate 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. Read more…


Maryland Conservation Corps Graduates Class of 2019-2020

‘MCC Strong’ Members Completed 1,700 Service Hours

Photo of group in a wooded area

Maryland Conservation Corps members at Tuckahoe State Park in fall 2019

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources honored 31 members of the 2019-2020 Maryland Conservation Corps during their virtual graduation program on August 5. The virtual ceremony commemorated the students’ 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 8,750 students, youth, and park visitors. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Sept. 2

Photo of man holding a large Spanish mackeral.

Angler Tim Campbell qualified for the FishMaryland expert angler award when he caught this 24-inch Spanish mackerel, his fifth unique trophy species, in the Chesapeake Bay on Aug. 25. Photo courtesy of Tim Campbell

All areas of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers have reopened for striped bass fishing until Dec. 10 with a size limit of 19 inches and a daily bag limit of one fish per angler. 

Many summer species should continue to be available for anglers the next few weeks. 

On Sept. 3 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hosts its final weekly Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on summer fishing. Biologist Chuck Stence will speak about his team’s efforts in both hickory and shad restoration. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

Read more…


Early August 2020 Hypoxia Report

Conditions Show Improvement Following Tropical Storm Isaias

Map showing Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen, Early August 2020Maryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were better than average in early August 2020. The hypoxic water volume — waters with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 0.92 cubic miles compared to a historical early August average (1985-2019) of 1.2 cubic miles.  Oxygen conditions improved from late July to early August, with the early August hypoxic volume being nearly half the volume observed in late July. Early August conditions ranked 10th best out of the 36-year monitoring record for the period. An additional 0.24 cubic miles of hypoxia was observed in Virginia Chesapeake Bay mainstem waters. No anoxic zones — areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen — were observed in the Maryland or Virginia mainstem.eyes Read more…


Six Charged with Striped Bass Violations Following Investigation

Department Cites Charter Boat Operators

Photo of NRP patrol boat in actionMaryland Natural Resources Police have charged six charter boat operators with multiple fishing violations following a lengthy investigation into the use of prohibited fishing gear. The investigation began in October 2019 in response to tips received by concerned citizens. 

During the investigation, police discovered several charter boats had violated the size and catch limit for striped bass, failed to use non-offset circle hooks while chumming or live-lining in tidal waters as required in Maryland, and committed other violations.

The Natural Resources Police has been working tirelessly to make sure that those fishing for striped bass are following the law. This investigation is in addition to the more than 800 citations written to recreational fishers this season related to striped bass violations. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 26

Photo of woman holding a dolphin fish

Melissa Schworm is all smiles with this beautiful dolphin caught on an Ocean City party boat. Photo by Monty Hawkins

Fishing opportunities abound in Maryland waters from the far western region to the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you are vacationing at Deep Creek Lake or Ocean City, be sure to make fishing part of your vacation plans — you will not regret it.

On Aug. 27 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hosts its weekly Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on summer fishing. Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission member and recreational angler Eric Packard will discuss his fishing adventures throughout southern Maryland and all points in between. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

All areas of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers are closed to striped bass fishing from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31. This closure is done to lessen catch-and-release mortality that can be caused by high water temperatures and low oxygen values.

Read more…


‘Welcome to Boating’ Clinics Available at Sandy Point

Reservations Available for Free Boating Basics 

Photo of motorboat moving through the waterThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is partnering with Marine Trades Association of Maryland (MTAM) and the Boat U.S. Foundation for Safety and Clean Water for a series of free “Welcome to Boating” clinics. These clinics will provide instruction on how to properly launch, load, retrieve, and dock a trailerable boat. 

Currently scheduled clinics are taking place at the Sandy Point State Park boat ramps from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 27, Sept. 1, and Sept. 3. Only 30 reservations available for each date. Each reservation allows a boater to bring one additional family member. Read more…


Maryland Deer Archery Season Opens Sept. 11

New Primitive Deer Hunt Days in February

Photo of large buck 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. 11, and continues through Jan. 30, 2021.

New for the upcoming deer season, archery and muzzleloader hunters may participate in Primitive Deer Hunt Days from Feb. 1-3, 2021. During this special season, hunters may use vertical longbows, vertical recurve bows, flintlock, or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders only. Telescopic and electronic aiming devices are prohibited during this hunt. More information on these special hunt days is available in the 2020-2021 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping. Read more…


2020-2021 Commercial Fishing License Renewal Extended

New Deadline for Certain Licenses Sept. 30 

Recognizing there have been unforeseen circumstances due to the pandemic, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is extending the deadline for certain 2020 -2021 Maryland commercial fishing license holders to renew their licenses and authorizations to Sept. 30, 2020. Read more…


Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons 2020-2021 Set to Begin

Mourning Dove Season Opens Sept. 1

Photo of two Canada geese taking off

Photo by Larry Hindman

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the state’s 2020-2021 migratory game bird hunting seasons. Bag limits, season dates, and shooting hours can be found in the 2020-2021 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 19

Photo of boy holding an eel

Anyone who has encountered an American eel knows there is hardly anything harder to hold onto. Young Fhinn was fishing with his dad for northern snakeheads when he caught this American eel and he seems to be doing a pretty good job of hanging onto it. Photo by Nathan Zeender

Summer fishing trips with the kids are always filled with fun — one never knows what will occur.

On Aug. 20 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hosts another Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on summer fishing. Biologist Matt Sell will discuss the unique and world-class fishing that can be found from Deep Creek Lake to some of western Maryland ‘s rivers and streams. Details for joining the webinar are on the department’s online calendar.

For anglers who also enjoy catching Maryland’s natural beauty on camera, the Department of Natural Resources 17th Annual Photo Contest is taking entries through Aug. 31. Instructions, rules, and other details are available on the DNR website.

All areas of the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers are closed to striped bass fishing from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31. This closure is done to lessen catch-and-release mortality that can be caused by high water temperatures and low oxygen values.

Read more…


Hunting Lottery Open for Chesapeake Forest Lands

Deadline for Hunt Clubs to Enter Lottery is Aug. 25

Photo of trail in Chesapeake Forest landsHunt clubs interested in obtaining a hunting lease agreement on Chesapeake Forest Lands can now enter a lottery for individual, non-leased tracts in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will accept online entries until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2020. Read more…


New State Fishing Record Set for Sheepshead

Record SheepsheadA Dorchester County resident has officially been recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for a new state fishing record, Chesapeake Bay Division, for sheepshead. 

Daniel Mastronardi, Jr. caught the 14.1-pound record-breaking fish around noon on August 9, 2020 in the lower bay, with peeler crab for bait in about 15 feet of water near the target ship USAS American Mariner. Mastronardi’s catch breaks the 13.73-pound record that was set only three years prior by Deale resident, Dave Alveberg.  

Targeting speckled trout and striped bass, 33-year-old Mastronardi said his catch came unexpectedly. “I really had no idea what I had on the line,” he said.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 12

Travis Lewis spent some time fishing in lower Dorchester County and caught this large northern snakehead. Photo courtesy of Travis Lewis.

Travis Lewis spent some time fishing in lower Dorchester County and caught this large northern snakehead. Photo courtesy of Travis Lewis.

Fishing opportunities are being found throughout Maryland during these warm days of August. From the smallest freshwater ponds to the Atlantic Ocean, all promise adventure and fun for those who take the time to seek them out.  

On Aug. 13 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hosts another Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on summer fishing. This week, DNR biologist Josh Henesy discusses Upper Potomac River fishing opportunities in Maryland. You can join the discussion through a link on the department’s online calendar.

Remember that all areas of the bay and tidal rivers will be closed to striped bass fishing from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31.

Throughout Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

 

 

Read more…


Late July 2020 Hypoxia Report

Record July temperatures drive worse than average Bay oxygen conditions

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were worse than average in late July 2020. The hypoxic water volume (areas with less than 2 mg/l oxygen) was 1.75 cubic miles compared to a historical late July average (1985-2019) of 1.36 cubic miles. Virginia did not conduct late July Chesapeake Bay mainstem sampling. No anoxic zones (areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen) were observed in the Maryland mainstem.

Oxygen map

Based on historical data, bay hypoxia volumes normally peak during the early portion of July, but with Maryland experiencing its warmest July on record (NOAA,  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/statewide/mapping/18/tavg/202007/1/rank), conditions were ideal for promoting hypoxia throughout the month. Warmer waters hold less oxygen, and warmer surface waters can create a barrier to oxygen mixing into deep waters of the bay.

Maryland’s water quality data can be further explored with a variety of online tools at the Department’s Eyes on the Bay website (eyesonthebay.dnr.maryland.gov).

In mid-June, the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, United States Geological Survey, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Michigan scientists released their prediction for slightly smaller than average 2020 hypoxic conditions based on slightly less than average water and nitrogen flows into the bay from January – May 2020.

Crabs, fish, oysters and other creatures in the Chesapeake Bay require oxygen to survive. Scientists and natural resource managers study the volume and duration of bay hypoxia to determine possible impacts to bay life. Each year (June-September), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources computes these volumes from data collected by Maryland and Virginia monitoring teams during twice-monthly monitoring cruises. Data collection is funded by these states and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. Bay hypoxia monitoring and reporting will continue through the summer.


2021-2022 Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest Now Open

Original Work Submissions Taken Until Nov. 10

Image of Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp

2020-2021 Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp designed by Jeffrey Klinefelter

Artists are invited to submit their original works for the annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp design contest from now until Nov. 10, 2020. The winning entry will appear on the 2021-2022 Migratory Game Bird Stamp hunters purchase to hunt migratory game birds in Maryland. Read more…


Waterfowl Hunting Permits Available for Deal Island, Fairmount

Lottery Open for Wildlife Management Area Impoundments

Photo of Fairmount Wildlife Management Area

Fairmount Wildlife Management Area

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced a new schedule and process for annual permit-only waterfowl hunting at Deal Island Wildlife Management Area and Fairmount Wildlife Management Area impoundments, located in Somerset County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The changes are being made to reduce crowding and improve the quality of waterfowl hunting during the regular duck season.

Applications for permits for both the Deal Island and Fairmount impoundments are now available on the Department’s website and are due Sept. 14. Permits for the regular duck season will be issued by lottery conducted in mid-September.   Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – August 5

Photo of young girl next to her father and holding a fishing rod with a white perch

Mia Spiker traveled to lower Trappe with her family to enjoy some fishing for white perch – and was delighted with the first fish she has ever caught. Photo by Herb Floyd

August seems to have arrived in the blink of an eye, and families are doing their best to fit in some outdoor summer recreation time. Be sure to stay safe and follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor recreation

On Aug. 6 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hosts another Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on summer fishing. This week, DNR biologist Mary Groves discusses blue catfish populations in Maryland, and you can learn how to fish for this invasive species from our recreational fishing experts. You can join the discussion through a link on the department’s online calendar.

Remember that all Maryland areas of the bay and tidal rivers will be closed to striped bass fishing from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31.

Throughout Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

Striped Bass Fishing Advisory Forecast showing green flag days Wednesday through Sunday, yellow flag days on Monday and Tuesday

 

Read more…


Maryland Natural Resources Police Welcomes New Cadets

Five Successful Applicants Begin Month-long Introductory Program

Collective of individual photos of five Natural Resources Police cadets

Clockwise from top left: Jodi Bentz, Jayden Carter, Hunter Darroch, Stephanie Gregor, and Ryan Whittington

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is proud to welcome five new entrants in its Cadet Program. 

Akin to an internship, this month-long program provides an opportunity for eager men and women between the ages of 18-21 to learn first-hand the job of a Natural Resources Police officer. Cadets receive training in both the field and the classroom from officers themselves. Classes include boater and hunter safety courses, self defense, specialized units, and much more.  Read more…


Qualification Shoots Scheduled for Managed Deer Hunts

Proficiency Tests Necessary to Participate

Photo of hunter on a practice shooting rangeThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the 2020-2021 Shooter Qualification Schedule which includes 20 qualification sessions at 15 locations across the state. Additional events are available upon reservation.

Hunters should note that several shooter qualification sessions are conducted by appointment only and that many charge a minimal fee to cover expenses. Additionally, hunters must adhere to all COVID-19 precautions that individual locations have in place. Read more…


From Forests to Fish: Brook Trout Resurgence is Made in the Shade

Photo of brook trout out of water

Photo by Ryan Cooper

The land and the water are connected in so many ways, and many of these connections are unseen or little known. What washes off the land surrounding waterways, from manure to fertilizer to soil particles with traces of chemicals–even at a microscopic level–can have long-lasting impacts on a variety of species inhabiting Maryland waters. Read more…


Maryland’s Ruby-throated Gems: Colorful Hummingbird Makes Annual Trek

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Loving Bee Balm by Steve Brynes

Photo by Steve Brynes

Weighing just about the same as a penny, the mighty ruby-throated hummingbird makes a 1,000-plus mile journey each year. It travels from Central America back to the eastern United States in the spring to breed. The familiar hum of its flight and the flash of green are a welcome sight in gardens. Read more…


Tools of the Trade: Telemetry

Photo of biologist using antenna to track fish with implanted tracker

Biologist uses radio antenna to track tagged sturgeon.

Here’s a tough question. How do we know where fish go or which underwater habitats they prefer when they are out of sight? Biologists have developed some special techniques to monitor fish and track their whereabouts. One method that helps biologists monitor fish populations is telemetry, which is the process of obtaining data remotely by implanting a radio or acoustic transmitter in an animal. Read more…


Outside Perspective: Fall 2020

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio

Autumn is a time marked by cooling weather, falling leaves, and, of course, elections.

While the pandemic has initiated an important discussion on how to hold elections, historically, Marylanders gathered in election houses to cast their votes. Election houses were small, purpose-built structures constructed specifically for voting. Today only a handful of them survive. One of oldest still standing in Maryland, and perhaps even in the country, is at Sang Run State Park, in Garrett County, Maryland – a site the Lt. Governor and I visited this past winter. In this edition of Natural Resource Magazine we highlight the story of the DNR team that worked to bring this dilapidated but historically significant structure back to its original, circa-1872 appearance.

Read more…


Earth Day 2020: Love Letters to Earth

Image of fern with verbiage promoting Earth Day 2020

This graphic was posted to our social media channels to encourage our followers to share their Earth Day appreciation.

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 marked the birth of the modern environmental movement. In response to the movement, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were all created and Congress authorized the Environmental Protection Agency.

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we continue to focus our concern on sustaining our planet now and for the future. Read more…


Fishing for Conservation: Rules and Commonsense Tactics Protect Striped Bass

Striped Bass

Photo of striped bass courtesy of David Redden

Here in Maryland’s section of the Chesapeake Bay, gamefish such as striped bass are under constant pressure both from fishing and large fluctuations in environmental conditions like high temperatures and low oxygen. Striped bass, known colloquially as rockfish, are Maryland’s state fish. Pursuing this fish for sport is a time-honored tradition, as is protecting them, ensuring striped bass remain in our waters for future generations to enjoy. Read more…


From the Field: Conservation Specialist Beth Schlimm

Tiger Salamander

Beth with a tiger salamander during a survey in a Delmarva Bay wetland (photo by Kevin Stahlgren)

Born and raised in the Baltimore area, Beth Schlimm has always had an appreciation for Maryland’s wildlife. As a kid and aspiring herpetologist, she loved nothing more than spending days outside on the hunt for slimy and scaly critters like salamanders and snakes. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 29

Photo of boy holding two white perch

White perch are a perfect species to target while fishing with your kids. Dylan Tawney caught these two nice white perch while fishing with his family. Photo by Andrew Tawney

Hot and dry weather continues across Maryland. These conditions put heat-related stress on the summer striped bass population, especially in the upper Chesapeake Bay. We ask anglers to focus their fishing on early morning hours, or target other species during the heat wave. Throughout Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

On July 30 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting our fourth Maryland Fishing Roundtable webinar on summer fishing. This week, the Maryland Fishing Report team — including Maryland recreational fisheries specialist Erik Zlokovitz, Tom Parham of DNR’s Eyes on the Bay, and biologist Steve Doctor — will give tips on fishing in the Ocean City area. You can join the discussion through a link on the department’s online calendar.

All anglers can feel free to send any pictures of your catches to fishingreports.dnr@maryland.gov for possible inclusion in our fishing report or the daily Angler’s Log.

Striped Bass advisory forecast showing yellow flag days on Wednesday and Sunday; red flag day on Thursday; green flag days on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday

 

Read more…


Stocked Pheasant Hunts Nov. 21-22 in Locations Across Maryland

Applications Taken Online Until Oct. 12

Photo of a pheasantThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites all junior license holders, apprentice license holders, and lapsed hunters to apply to participate in this year’s stocked pheasant hunts. These do-it-yourself hunts will take place on 12 Maryland wildlife management areas and two state forests. 

A lapsed hunter is someone who has held a Maryland hunting license in the past, but has not purchased a license in three of the past five years. A lapsed hunter can also be a new hunter (such as an apprentice hunter) who has not purchased a hunting license in any three of the past five years. Read more…


Early July 2020 Hypoxia Report

July HypoxiaMaryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were average in early July 2020. The hypoxic water volume — waters with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 1.35 cubic miles compared to a historical early July average (1985-2019) of 1.38 cubic miles. Low dissolved oxygen extended into the Virginia Chesapeake Bay mainstem for an additional 0.35 cubic miles of hypoxia, for a total baywide estimate of 1.7 cubic miles. Based on historical data, bay hypoxia volumes historically peak during the early portion of July. No anoxic zones — areas with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen — were observed in the Maryland or Virginia bay mainstem.

Maryland’s water quality data can be further explored with a variety of online tools at the Department’s Eyes on the Bay website. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 22

Photo of boy holding a fish on the end of his line

Fhinn Zeender-Lawrence caught this nice pumpkinseed, along with croaker and catfish this weekend with bloodworms off a dock in Edgewater. Photo by Nathan Zeender

The weather is putting a lot of heat-related stress on both anglers and the summer striped bass population. We ask anglers to focus their fishing on early morning hours, or switch to other species during the heat wave. Throughout Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

On July 23 at noon the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting a webinar on summer fishing conditions, giving striped bass a break, and targeting alternative and invasive species. The Maryland Fishing Report team — including Maryland recreational fisheries specialist Erik Zlokovitz, Tom Parham of DNR’s Eyes on the Bay, and moderator Eric Wilson of Fishing and Boating Services — will discuss summer fishing opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, Dr. Joe Love will tell you everything you need to know about snakeheads. You can join the discussion through Google meets or by phone at  1-443-671-4706, and use the PIN: ‪674 636 739.  Details are also found on the department’s online calendar

And don’t forget to take the kids fishing, even if it’s a short trip to a local dock. All anglers can feel free to send any pictures of your catches to fishingreports.dnr@maryland.gov for possible inclusion in our fishing report or the daily Angler’s Log.Striped Bass 7-day fishing forecast showing red flag days on Wednesday and Monday; yellow flag days Thursday through Sunday and on Tuesday

 

Read more…


Maryland Supports 120+ Local Projects for Water Quality, Resiliency

Department Awards $26.2 Million through Grants Gateway

Photo of heavy equipment doing stream restoration work in a forested area

Stream restoration

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the awarding of $26.2 million to improve water quality, increase flood resiliency, and help grow the next generation of Maryland’s environmental stewards. Read more…


DNR In-Person Safety Education and Certification Classes Will Resume

Safety Protocols Must Be Followed for Boating, Hunting, and Trapping Courses

Photo of Boating safety test being taken in 2019

Boating safety test being taken in 2019. Photo by Stephen Badger.

Beginning in August and September, the Maryland Natural Resources Police will resume in-person safety education and certification classes. For all classes, face coverings and social distancing will be required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and assure the safety of students and instructors. Online hunting and boating classes will remain a regular option. Read more…


Maryland 2020 Black Bear Hunt Lottery Now Open

Application Deadline Aug. 31; Drawing Sept. 3

Photo of bear in the woods

Photo by Bob Geary

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting applications for the 2020 black bear hunt lottery. Successful applicants will receive a permit valid for the five-day hunting season, which will take place Oct. 26-30 in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. The department will issue 950 hunting permits this year, an increase of 150 from the previous season.

The annual bear hunt is an important management tool used to slow the increase of Maryland’s black bear population and limit expansion of Maryland bears into the eastern suburbs and cities. Read more…


Deep Creek Lake Launch Stewards Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species

Boats with Zebra Mussels, Hydrilla Stopped Before Entering Water

Photo of zebra mussels on the bottom of a boat

Zebra mussel colony found on the underside of a pontoon boat at Deep Creek Lake.

Earlier this month, Deep Creek Lake Launch Stewards intercepted three boats carrying aquatic invasive species that were seeking to launch into the lake. While conducting vessel inspections, stewards noticed zebra mussels on two boats and hydrilla on a third.

The stewards informed the owners, who cooperatively agreed to properly clean and decontaminate their boats at local marinas, and be inspected again, before launching into the lake. Read more…


Maryland Fire Crew Mobilized to Combat Wildfires in the Rockies

DNR Team Makes First Interagency Deployment of 2020

Photo of wildland firefighters gathering equipment at Green Ridge Fire Station

Maryland wildland firefighters mobilize July 15 at the Maryland Forest Service Green Ridge Fire Center, preparing to deploy to Wyoming.

Maryland has dispatched a 10-person fire crew module to battle wildfires in the Rocky Mountains. Maryland State (MDS) #1 mobilized July 15 at the Green Ridge Fire Center in Allegany County. The unit arrived early Friday at Rocky Mountain Mobilization Center in Cheyenne, Wyo., and will deploy to Rawlins, Wyo., for the initial attack on a wildfire.

MDS #1 consists of representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The wildland fire crew includes eight firefighters from the Maryland Forest Service, and two from the Maryland Park Service. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 15

Photo of girl holding a northern snakehead

Lucy Perez holds up her first northern snakehead and it is a whopper! Photo by Nick Perez

Taking kids fishing during the summer is a rewarding pastime — whether helping them fish for bluegills with a worm and a bobber at a local pond, or as they become more skilled, watching them cast their own lures and land their own fish.

Don’t forget that throughout Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

Image of Striped Bass 7-day Fishing Advisory, with one green flag day on Thursday; yellow days on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and red flag days on Sunday through Tuesday.

Read more…


Department Introduces Online Process for Waterfowl Blind Site Licensing

Online Lottery, Virtual Appointments Replace In-Person Meetings

Photo of waterfowl hunting blind in a creek

Photo by Richard Miller

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is introducing a new online-only process for Maryland hunters to apply for a 2020-2021 waterfowl blind site license. The department is using this virtual process to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

From now through July 28 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 property may also enter the same lottery. Read more…


Communities Across Maryland Receive 3,450 Free Trees

DNR and Clear Ridge Nursery Partner for Distribution

Photo of trailer load of containerized trees

Clear Ridge Nursery, in partnership with the Maryland Forest Service, prepares a delivery of containerized trees for planting.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with Clear Ridge Nursery in Union Bridge, Carroll County, is distributing more than 3,450 free containerized trees to help increase tree canopy across the state. The Maryland Forest Service identified 44 conservation groups, government agencies, community groups, and nonprofit organizations to receive the free trees for planting this summer. Read more…


June 2020 Hypoxia Report

Graph of Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen as recorded late June 2020Maryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem continued to be better than average in June 2020. The hypoxic water volume — waters with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 0.56 and 0.90 cubic miles, respectively, during early and late June monitoring cruises, compared to historical (1985-2019) early and late June averages of 0.93 and 1.13 cubic miles, respectively. Both hypoxic volumes rank within the top third of best results observed in the historical record within their respective time frames. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 8

Photo of man holding a large blue crab.

Todd Clark went crabbing near Kent Island  and is all smiles with this large blue crab. Photo by Rich Watts

This is a marvelous time of year to enjoy Maryland’s outdoors, and recreational crabbing is just one way to get onto the quiet tidal creeks and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay. 

Fishing the Chesapeake Bay is a time-honored tradition. While anglers often set their sights on striped bass there are several other species which provide just as much if not more excitement. Join the Maryland Department of Natural Resources July 9 at noon for a virtual discussion on summertime fishing — including alternative fish species, how to plan fishing trips at the most appropriate times, how to properly catch and release, and how to fish with circle hooks.

Our Maryland Fishing Report team – recreational fisheries staff Keith Lockwood and Erik Zlokovitz, with Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Director Tom Parham — will discuss how to reduce striped bass mortality during the summer.

You can join the discussion through Google meets or by phone at  1-443-671-4706, and use the PIN: 674 636 739.

Don’t forget that throughout Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

Striped bass fishing advisory forecast showing yellow days Wednesday and Saturday through Tuesday, green days on Thursday and Friday

 

Read more…


Maryland’s Underwater Grasses Resilient Against Severe Rainfall

Annual Report Shows Improvement in Several Areas and Tributaries

Photo of underwater grasses just under the surface

Photo by Brooke Landry

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports a second consecutive year of underwater grass loss in certain portions of the Chesapeake Bay in 2019 due to record high rainfall and stream flows into the bay. Some areas of Maryland’s portion of the bay, however, have shown improvements. During the annual survey, 39,151 acres of underwater grasses were mapped in Maryland, representing 49% of the state’s 2025 restoration target and 34% of its ultimate restoration goal of 114,065 acres. Read more…


Maryland Waterway Improvement Fund Awards $13.5 Million

Projects Funded Statewide for Improved Boating Access, Navigation, and Safety

Photo of bayside boat ramp in Ocean CityThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is providing $13.5 million in Waterway Improvement Fund grants in Fiscal Year 2021 to enhance and improve public boating access facilities, water safety, and navigation throughout the state.

This funding will go toward 43 projects in 17 counties, along with grants for statewide projects and emergency needs. Funded projects include renovations to public boating access infrastructure such as boat ramps, piers, pilings, bulkheads; dredging of navigable waterways; icebreaking and emergency water rescue vessels and equipment for emergency and first responders. Read more…


Natural Resources Police Enforcing ‘Operation Dry Water’

National Campaign Aims to Curb Impaired Boating

Photo of Maryland Natural Resources Police Everglades boats riding in formationThe Independence Day holiday weekend means more boaters on the water, which can also bring an increase in boating incidents and fatalities. From July 3-5, the Maryland Natural Resources Police partners with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard in the Operation Dry Water campaign of awareness and enforcement to reduce boating under the influence.

During Operation Dry Water, Maryland boaters will notice an overall increase in police patrols on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The combined efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies will result in the removal of impaired operators from our waterways, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters. Read more…


Maryland’s Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Program is Operational

Public Should Report Stranded Marine Animals to 24-hour Hotline

Photo of dolphin swimming in water not far from a boat

Photo by Mark Odell

During the summer months, marine mammals and sea turtles are making their seasonal return to the Atlantic coast, the Chesapeake Bay, and its tributaries. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources requests people report any distressed or deceased marine mammals or sea turtles in Maryland waters to the Natural Resources Police hotline anytime at 1-800-628-9944.

Maryland’s most common visitors are bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead sea turtles, although more than 25 other marine mammals and four species of sea turtles have been recorded in state waters. While these ocean-dwelling creatures often enter our waterways and can survive in brackish water for several days to weeks, they may be at risk Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – July 1

Photo of girl holding a large blue crab she caught

Elizabeth Lee went crabbing with her parents and is contributing to the crab feast with this catch. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Lee

The Fourth of July holiday weekend means outdoor adventure seekers will be out in droves. Be safe and use common sense — if you’re boating, use a personal flotation device and never boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For all anglers, remember also to keep a social distance and avoid crowded areas.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers a final license-free fishing day for 2020 on July 4 — a free option to explore Maryland’s diverse and unique fishing experiences without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration.

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.

As we enter Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

 

Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 24

Photo of man with two young sons showing a fish they caught.

Bryan Brainer spent a fun day with his two young sons fishing for blue catfish in the Chester River. Photo courtesy of Bryan Brainer

Many dads, daughters, sons, and moms spent a special Father’s Day enjoying time together in that special setting that fishing provides.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers a license-free fishing day July 4 — an opportunity to explore Maryland’s diverse and unique fishing experiences without needing a fishing license, trout stamp, or registration.

As we enter Maryland’s warmest months, the department’s online striped bass fishing advisory forecast provides a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

Striped Bass forecast chart showing green fishing days Wednesday through Friday, yellow days Saturday and Sunday, and green days Monday and Tuesday.

 

Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 17

Photo of man and two boys catching with a flathead catfish they caught

Angler Brett Poffenberger took his nephews Eli and Dakota fishing in the upper Potomac and pulled an invasive flathead catfish out of the water. Photo courtesy Brett Poffenberger

A recent trip to the fishing tackle section of a large discount store showed a lot of empty space on the shelves. Everyone is excited about getting out and enjoying the outdoors safely and fishing seems to be at the top of the list. Children are perhaps the most anxious to get outside, and taking them fishing is a wonderful thing to share together.

Check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website for the latest updates on expanded opportunities for outdoor exercise and recreation in Maryland.

DNR is now offering appointments at most licensing and registration centers. Appointments can be scheduled online.

Also, our striped bass fishing advisory forecast begins this week, providing a seven-day outlook to help anglers reduce striped bass mortality during the summer fishing season.

Read more…


Maryland Conservation Corps Fall Class Now Recruiting

Program Provides Experience and Skills Training for Young Adults

Photo of Maryland Conservation Corps flagThe 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 2020. Read more…


Maryland DNR Service Centers Begin Opening by Appointment

Safety Protocols Allow Access at Most Locations

Photo of DNR Solomons Service Center building exterior

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Solomons Service Center 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will begin offering appointments at select licensing and registration centers in a phased reopening of in-person services for customers.

Appointments will be available starting June 15 at the following locations (unless otherwise noted):

  • Bel Air – 501 W. MacPhail Road #2
  • Centreville, 120 Broadway Ave.
  • Cumberland – 13300 Winchester Road (open Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  • Essex – 1338 Eastern Blvd. A (open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays)
  • Frederick – 1601A Bowmans Farm Road
  • Salisbury – 251 Tilghman Road #2
  • Solomons – 14175 Solomons Island Road S., opens June 12

UPDATE: Annapolis Service Center will open by appointment only starting June 29.

Additional locations and start dates will be posted on the department’s website as they become available. 

Customers will be able to schedule appointments online at the link for each service center location or by calling the center for assistance. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 10

Young Ian Brainer admires his mom Sarah’s snakehead catch

Young Ian Brainer admires his mom Sarah’s catch, and we’re sure it will not be long before he has a fishing rod of his own in his hands. Photo courtesy of Sarah Jane Brainer

The summer-like weather is bringing families out to enjoy the outdoors. What could be better than being out on a fishing adventure with mom, especially if you catch a strange-looking fish like a northern snakehead!

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers two more license-free fishing days on 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.

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.

Read more…


May 2020 Hypoxia Report

Map of Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen for May 3030Maryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were better than expected in May 2020. The hypoxic water volume — waters with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 0.027 cubic miles, which is well below the May 1985-2019 average of 0.25 cubic miles, and an improvement from the 1.12 cubic miles of hypoxia observed in May 2019. No anoxic zones— waters with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen — were observed. Read more…


Volunteer Angler Surveys Inform Maryland Fish Management

Help Track Species Including Invasive Snakeheads

Maryland anglers are encouraged to submit their catch information to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources volunteer angler surveys. These mobile-friendly volunteer surveys can easily help turn a fishing trip into a scientific expedition by submitting basic data directly from a smartphone.

The department has several volunteer angler surveys for various species and programs, including artificial reef initiative, freshwater fisheries and striped bass. New this year, anglers can submit a catch of the invasive northern snakehead Read more…


Spring Hunters Harvest a Record 4,303 Wild Turkeys

Record-high Harvests Reported in Nine Counties

Photo of male wild turkeys in a field

Photo by Stephen Badger

Maryland hunters reported harvesting 4,303 wild turkeys during the 2020 regular spring and junior hunt turkey seasons, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced. This year’s harvest surpassed the previous high of 4,175, set in 2017, and was 8% higher than the 2019 harvest of 4,002 turkeys. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – June 3, 2020

Photo of a boy holding a crappie

Eight-year-old James Ricasa proudly holds up a crappie he caught while fishing with his family. Photo by Czarlite S. Ricasa

The weather forecast for the next week predicts summer temperatures and offers a wonderful time to bring our younger anglers outdoors for some family fishing fun.

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.

Finally, a reminder that the Department is encouraging all anglers to target and harvest invasive fish species such as northern snakeheads, blue catfish, and flathead catfish. DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are supporting an invasive fish tournament from now through Dec. 5 in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland.

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…


Maryland Fishing Report – May 13

Photo of two boys in a truck holding trout

Brothers Cole and Isaac Marble got to enjoy some trout fishing recently with their dad and take some trout home for dinner. Photo by Tom Marble

What strange and difficult times the past two months have been for all — if it has been inconvenient for some, remember that it has been devastating to others. With the allowance of additional outdoor recreation under the governor’s stay at home order, we can enjoy fishing as long as we follow social distancing guidelines and stay safe. Answers to some frequently asked questions about outdoor activities are on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.

Starting on May 16, the size and bag limit for striped bass in the bay and tributaries (excluding the Susquehanna Flats) will be one fish per person, per day, with a minimum size of 19 inches. On the Susquehanna Flats, the limit will be one fish between 19-26 inches. 

Charter boats participating in a pilot program of the E-reporting with FACTS system will be allowed to keep 2 striped bass per guest per trip. Only one of those two fish may be greater than 28 inches. 

Also, remember that all conservation efforts implemented by the department last year, including the required use of circle hooks, remain in effect. More information on how to properly catch and release can be found on our website.

The department has posted a new map with color-coding which shows areas open to fishing (green), catch-and-release only (yellow), and closed areas (red).

Read more…


Hunter Education Field Day Grace Period Extended

Extra Six Months Granted for Completing Course

Continuing Governor Larry Hogan’s emergency actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Natural Resources Police is adjusting requirements for the state’s hunter education course, effective May 11, 2020 and until further notice.

Any Maryland hunter education student that has completed an online field of study course since March 1 will have 18 months from their completion date to participate in the required field day workshop.

Read more…


Department Offers Guidance for Striped Bass Season

UPDATED May 7

Marylanders are reminded that the governor’s Stay at Home directive to reduce COVID-19 transmission remains in place, and recreational fishing and boating are currently prohibited. Fishing for sustenance is allowed, which means anglers must catch and keep any legal fish and should return home as quickly as possible after doing so.

Effective Thursday, May 7, at 7 a.m, recreational fishing activities, including catch-and-release, are allowed, however:

  • When fishing from a boat, one must be with immediate family members or people with which they reside.
  • No more than 10 people may be on a boat at one time, including captain and crew.
  • When fishing from onshore or at a pier, social distancing guidelines must be followed.
  • Fishing tournaments remain prohibited at this time.

Under those guidelines, trophy-sized striped bass may be targeted in the Chesapeake Bay from May 1 through May 15 with a limit of one fish per person, with a 35-inch minimum size limit. All conservation regulations for this season can be viewed on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website. Read more…


Maryland State Parks Plant 10,000 Trees for Earth Day 50th Anniversary

Marylanders Encouraged to Grow Native Trees and Other Plants

Photo of ranger planting seedling at Sandy Point State ParkThe Maryland Park Service is planting more than 10,000 trees in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020. From the shores of Assateague Island to the mountains of Western Maryland, rangers will plant native trees on public lands to mark the occasion.

A special Wye Oak seedling — a descendant of a white oak that lived for centuries in Talbot County — was planted at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis by Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. 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 most areas of 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.
Read more…


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…


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. Updated guidance has been issued effective May 7, 2020. 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. 

Read more…


DNR Activities During State of Emergency

Information for our Patrons, Customers, and Friends

Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are taking proactive steps to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland.

Following Governor Hogan’s emergency actions to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will remain operational, but we are implementing changes to certain department activities, customer service functions, and scheduled events to minimize the spread of the virus. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 11

Photo of girl holding a fish she caught

Julia Kennedy got to spend a fun afternoon fishing with her mom and sister on a sunny afternoon and caught her first bluegill sunfish. Photo by Carrie Kennedy

The signs of spring are everywhere and the warm sunny weather has families outside, enjoying the outdoors together. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is busy stocking local waters with trout and all are preparing for the grand event — the traditional opening day of trout season at 5:30 a.m. on March 28. Local community ponds are an ideal place to enjoy family fun and get our younger anglers started. Bluegill sunfish have been the most common fish youngsters start out with, they are feisty and usually a sucker for a garden worm and bobber.

The Chesapeake Bay striped bass catch-and-release season is underway and will be open through March 31. Regulations can be found on the department’s website.

When using fish, crabs, worms, or processed bait, recreational anglers in the Susquehanna Flats and Northeast River may only use a circle hook, or “J” hook with a gap of less than or equal to 1/2 inch between the point and the shank. Eels may not be used as bait.

For trollers, stinger hooks are prohibited, barbless hooks are required, and no more than six lines are allowed while trolling.

The proposed summer-fall Chesapeake Bay striped bass regulations are in the scoping stage and comments are being solicited at this time. The comment period is open now and will close at 11:59 pm on March 18, 2020. Send your comments to the department by email to  fisheriespubliccomment.dnr@maryland.gov  or submit online.

And finally, 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. This information is very important to the biologists who manage the species listed in the volunteer angler surveys. 

Read more…


Maryland’s Endangered Tiger Salamanders Stage a Comeback

Rare Amphibians Rally in Newly Restored Habitat

Photo of a tiger salamander seeks love and parenthood in a restored Delmarva bay habitat

A tiger salamander seeks a mate in a restored Delmarva bay habitat. Photo by Kevin Stohlgren

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists are reporting a dramatic increase in the reproducing population of the tiger salamander — the largest American terrestrial salamander — in the department’s spring 2020 surveys.

“They are having a great year and it’s great to see them concentrated in the areas where we have restored the natural wetlands they need to survive,” department biologist Scott Smith said.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore provides a unique type of depression wetlands called Delmarva bays. In their natural state, Delmarva bays have few trees, are seasonally flooded, and usually dry out in late summer. However, most of these singular wetlands have been altered and no longer provide habitat for the many rare plant and animal species they once supported.  Read more…


Wildfire Risk Heightens as Spring Approaches

Maryland on Alert for Dangerous Conditions

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

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


Spring Trout Stocking Season Begins in Maryland

Hatcheries Providing 300,000 Fish Across State

Photo of trout in streamWith spring right around the corner, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is set to release hundreds of thousands of brown, golden, and rainbow trout across the state for its annual spring trout stocking. Crews will stock more than 300,000 trout in lakes, rivers, and streams in 18 Maryland counties and more than 130 locations from March through early June. 

The department raises the majority of these trout in the state’s hatcheries, including the Albert M. Powell Hatchery and Bear Creek Hatchery, and through a partnership with the privately owned Mettiki Hatchery.
Read more…


Annual Photo Contest Now Taking Submissions

2020 Contest Runs Through Aug. 31

Photo of female red-winged black bird gathering branches in springtime

This photo of a female red-winged black bird by Larry Helms earned second place in the Spring category of the 2019 Photo Contest..

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

Winning entries will be posted online, featured in an issue of the seasonal Maryland Natural Resource magazine, and placed in the 2021 wall calendar. Read more…


Maryland Hunter Safety Education Class Offered in Garrett County

Three-Session Class Begins March 31

Photo of hunters being shown firearms safety tipsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering a Hunter Safety Education class on March 31, April 2, and April 4, 2020 at Herrington Manor State Park in Oakland, Garrett County.

Classes on March 31 and April 2 will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and class on April 4 will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants must attend all three sessions and the class is limited to 30 students. Any student under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 4

Photo by Eric Packard of a nice yellow perch

Photo by Eric Packard

There are many different signs of spring that we notice — for some, it might be the first blooming daffodil or spotting the first osprey. One of the most popular harbingers of spring in Maryland for anglers is the much anticipated yellow perch spawning runs that occur in many of the Chesapeake Bay’s tributaries this month. Those spawning runs are underway and should peak within the next week.

This should be a very good year for Maryland anglers based on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources survey results. Fisheries biologist Paul Piavis reports that the 2011 year class of yellow perch was a strong one, and those perch will measure 13 inches or more this year. He also reports a strong 2015 year class, and those perch will measure 10 inches or better, followed by a strong 2014 year class.

Yellow perch fillets are a real treat and are often fried. If you have a pre-spawn yellow perch, try and find a home for the roe, which many people enjoy eating.

There are a few different ways to fish for yellow perch based on where they are holding. In the more open waters, they tend to hold in deep channels before they get the urge to spawn and ascend the tidal rivers. Fishing with enough weight to hold bottom and a two-hook bottom rig baited with small minnows, grass shrimp, or perhaps small jigs is a good way to catch them.

As the yellow perch move far up the rivers and into small and more confined waters, fishing with ultra-light tackle is the name of the game. Casting small shad darts, beetle spins, and small grub-type jigs is a fun way to catch them. Fishing small minnows and grass shrimp on a small shad dart or a bait hook is also very effective. Thin, low-poundage braid line with a 4- to 6-pound fluorocarbon leader is a real asset for casting light jigs — some can be as light as a 1/32 ounce. It also pays to have a lightweight fluorocarbon leader to break off from snags. There usually are a lot of hidden submerged branches and tree limbs in the more confined waters that tend to gobble up anglers’ lures.

When fishing with lightweight jigs, it pays to cast slightly upstream and walk the jig along the bottom in a sweeping motion, keeping a slight belly in your line to detect twitches that indicate a strike. Placing a little piece of red felt that has few dabs of anise or your favorite fish attractant can also provide an advantage. A small section of fresh minnow placed on the shad dart hook is one of my favorites, especially when the action is hot and heavy and you’re watching your bait supply evaporate.

Keep an eye on fishing conditions. Check the tide tables listed on the department website for where you want to fish – a low flood tide is best. Generally, 46 degrees is when yellow perch feel the urge to move into the spawning areas, and once the water hits 48 degrees it is on. The run can happen fairly quickly, often at night, and once it is over the post-spawn yellow perch depart quickly. Anglers who arrive late are often greeted with, “you should have been here yesterday, you really missed it.”

Read more…


Dorchester County Angler Catches Record Longnose Gar

Prehistoric Fish Tips Scales at 18.3 Pounds

Photo of Samson Matthews with his record longnose gar

Samson Matthews with his record longnose gar. Photo courtesy of Doug Ruth.

A Hurlock fisherman is the new Maryland state Chesapeake Division record holder for longnose gar, with a catch that weighed 18.3 pounds.

Samson Matthews, 22, was fishing for blue catfish with a friend March 2 near El Dorado Bridge along Marshyhope Creek. After about 10 minutes of fishing  in 20 feet of water with small chunks of gizzard shad as bait, Matthews felt a strong pull, a tight line, and lots of thrashing. Read more…


Secretary’s Message — March 2020

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioIn Maryland, Fishing Springs Eternal!

Each March I look forward to the return of the osprey. While this generally happens before spring’s official arrival on the equinox, it makes me feel that spring – and fishing season – have arrived.  

March is also when the Department of Natural Resources resumes our weekly Maryland Fishing Report, available on our website, through our email newsletter, and also via your Amazon Echo device by saying “Alexa: open the Maryland Fishing Report.”  

Regularly scheduled stocking of trout in Maryland’s streams, rivers, and ponds occurs across the state. And anglers are awaiting the beginning of the yellow perch run which will start as soon as water temperatures start rising in Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland creeks and rivers. Read more…


Backyard Birding Tips

There is no better time to connect with wildlife in your backyard than now. With spring underway, many bird species are increasing their activity. Winter birds like dark-eyed juncos are heading north while migrants like ruby-throated hummingbirds are returning to Maryland. 

Photo of woman using binoculars

Birdwatching by Aniket S CC by 2.0

Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Maple-leaved Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

Photo of maple-leaved viburnum

By Uli Lorimer CC by NC SA 2.0

Maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) is one of our native, short shrubs in the moschatel family (Adoxaceae). It has medium growth that maxes out at heights of 3-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. It often will form a short colony, making it a great plant to use as a low hedge or border. The leaves are deciduous and, as its name suggests, they resemble maple leaves with three main lobes.The leaves are oppositely arranged and grow up to five inches in length.   Read more…


Maryland Native Wildlife: Mining Bees

Photo of bee covered in pollen

Andrena bee covered in pollen by Judy Gallagher CC by 2.0

With spring underway, many species are emerging from their winter rest, including our local bees. By far, the most well known bee is the non-native European honey bee (Apis mellifera). However, Maryland is home to over 430 species of bees, many of which are native and all of which provide important roles in pollination. Read more…


Estuaries by the Sea: Maryland Coastal Bays Program Builds on Partnerships

Photo of sunset

Sunset at Sinepuxent Bay by Mary Miller

Dedicated to protecting the five coastal bays behind Ocean City and Assateague Island, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) conducts research, restoration, monitoring, and education and outreach opportunities thanks to powerful partnerships.

Maryland’s coastal bays make up one of the richest, most diverse estuaries on the eastern seaboard. For more than a century, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and more recently tourism have sustained ways of life built on the land and water resources in this coastal community. Read more…


Tools of the Trade: Electrofishing

Scientists with electrofishing backpacks and rods in the Patapsco River

Electrofishing in the Patapsco River by Stephen Badger

It’s electric!
Electrofishing is a technique used by fish biologists to collect fish in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes.

This tool uses an electric field, emitted from a pulser, to temporarily stun fish. The fish can then be collected via dip net for identification. Data collected from electrofishing can be used to determine abundance, density, species composition, and health of fish populations. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioAs we conclude the 50th anniversary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, we head into commemorating more important milestones. This April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Throughout this edition of The Natural Resource, we highlight the important work our staff, volunteers, and partners are doing on behalf of our mission to conserve our land, water, fish, and wildlife. Read more…


The Nature of Change

Photo of Larry HoganThis year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day; a time to renew our commitment to the responsible stewardship of our environment. Maryland is fortunate to be home to countless natural assets, and our administration has made it a top priority to protect them. Read more…


Flow of Information: Surveying the Health of Maryland Streams

Photo of river running through forest

Gunpowder River by Tim Ray

Maryland has more than 10,000 miles of freshwater streams—an extensive system of waterways flowing downstream where (depending on their geography) they ultimately contribute freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Coastal Bays, the Ohio River, or the Delaware River. The condition of these streams is vitally important to downstream waters. But these streams also possess significant inherent value. Read more…


Clear Sailing: Twenty Years of Maryland Clean Marinas

Photo of boats docked at marina

Somers Cove Marina by Stephen Badger

For more than 20 years, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Clean Marina Initiative has offered marina and boatyard operators an awards-based approach to protecting Maryland’s natural resources and the technical assistance needed to do so. Read more…


Creating Backyard Wildlife Habitat While Sheltering in Place

Photo of clay pot

Toad abode by Brenda Davis

Did you know? You probably have a lot of materials around the house and yard that can be repurposed to create backyard wildlife habitat. Don’t let quarantine hold you back from creating habitat! The following list contains some ideas on how to create habitat with limited supplies.  Read more…


From the Field: Curatorship Program Manager Peter Morrill

Photo of Peter MorrillFrom an early age, Peter Morrill has had a love for old buildings. Growing up in an 1870s-era Victorian house in Delaware City, Delaware, he developed this love as his parents restored the house throughout his childhood. His appreciation for cultural resources management and interpretation grew during years of seasonal work at Fort Delaware State Park until he headed south to the College of Charleston, where he obtained a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning. After graduation, he worked as a maintenance mechanic and carpenter with the National Park Service before making his way to Maryland to start a new job with the Maryland Historical Trust’s Preservation Easement Program. Read more…


Investing in Resilience: Trust Fund Shores Up a Successful Decade

Photo of Assateague planting project site

Assateague shoreline site after restoration

For decades, environmental advocates have been working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Recognizing the detrimental impact of impervious surface and forest loss on the watershed, this group of passionate scientists, engineers, fishermen, and others pulled together shoestring budgets and devoted hours to lay the groundwork for a restoration economy in Maryland. They worked to improve water quality and create better habitat for brookies. They worked to ensure future watermen and recreational anglers have a sustainable resource. They worked to save the largest and most productive estuary in the nation. Read more…


A Hunter’s Story: Novice Nabs Her First Turkey

Photo of hunter with turkey

The author after a successful hunt. Photo courtesy of Ann Marie Foster.

Oh, how I love to turkey hunt! Now I love to guide as well, having run my first paid guided turkey hunt. I’d been asked in the past and was always too busy with my own hunting, or scheduling other shooting and hunting events for my business. I decided I’d try it; after all, nothing pleases most hunters—myself included—more than turning others on to hunting and enjoying the great outdoors. I had no idea about the fantastic first hunt I would experience. Read more…


Restoration Update: Status Report on the Chesapeake’s Essential Bivalve

Photo of oysters ready for planting

Spat-on-shell ready for planting

The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement committed Maryland and Virginia to restore native oyster habitat and populations in 10 bay tributaries by 2025—five in each state. The five Maryland tributaries containing these sanctuaries are:

• Harris Creek, a tributary of the Choptank River, Talbot County
• Little Choptank River, Dorchester County
• Tred Avon River, Talbot County
• Upper St. Mary’s River, St. Mary’s County
• Manokin River, Somerset County Read more…


Restoring a Treasure: Maryland Makes Progress on Chesapeake Goals

Photo of Thomas Point Lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay

Thomas Point Lighthouse by Stephanie Brown

The Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, has been at the core of Maryland’s culture and economy since the dawn of history. Unfortunately, by the 1960s it became apparent that the health of our bay had fallen on difficult times. At first, there was little agreement on what the problems were, and much disagreement on what to do about them. But as science was brought to bear on the issue, it became clear that the primary problem was far too many nutrients and sediment running off of the land and into our waterways as a result of a growing and impactful human population. Still, how to solve the problem remained far less clear. Read more…


Planting for Success: Forest Service Helps Marylanders Get Trees in the Ground

Photo of two people standing in forest looking at vegetation

Maryland Forest Service’s Francis Smith consults with landowner. By James Mackey, Jr.

Ah, springtime. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and foresters across Maryland are planting trees! Whether it’s through the Maryland Forest Service’s seedling giveaway program Backyard Buffers, or getting students and schools planting through Tree-Mendous, the Forest Service’s mission of getting trees in the ground never stops. With at least 72% of forests in Maryland owned by private landowners, our citizen woodland stewards are yet another valuable partner in tree-planting efforts. Here we take a closer look at several programs that help people plant trees. Read more…


Sailing into History: Department’s Largest Vessel Ready for Retirement

Photo of Tawes ship

The J/M Tawes

For more than four decades, the waters of the lower Eastern Shore have had a large protector.

The J. Millard Tawes is the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ largest vessel at 100 feet long and 167 tons. The boat was originally commissioned by the United States Coast Guard in 1942 under the name Barberry; the federal government surplussed the vessel and it was brought into the department’s service in 1972. Read more…


Department Accepting Submissions for ‘Wild Maryland’ Recipes

Anglers, Hunters Sought for Cookbook Contributions

Photo of soups made with duck meat

Photo by Stephen Badger

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is putting out a call to all wildlife and cooking enthusiasts to submit their favorite recipes featuring Maryland species for possible inclusion in a cookbook.  Read more…


Gov. Hogan Urges Congressional Leaders to Protect and Increase Funding for Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Governor Larry Hogan, chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, wrote to congressional leaders today calling for a reversal of proposed cuts to federal funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration. Maryland is urging an increase in funding to $90.5 million, while the Trump administration’s proposed FY21 budget cuts funding for these programs by more than 90 percent, to $7.3 million. Read more.


Department Urges Congress to Address Rules Hindering Market for Invasive Blue Catfish

Photo of biologists in a boat placing large blue catfish into containers

Maryland DNR biologists catch blue catfish — a highly invasive species that ferociously consume native fish and crab species — to gain understanding of their impact on Maryland waterways.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is supporting a joint resolution proposed by the Maryland General Assembly that will move the state closer to controlling the invasive blue catfish population by commercial harvest. 

A native of the Mississippi River basin, blue catfish were introduced to the mid-Atlantic in the 1970s. Since then it has exploded in population and range, and can now be found throughout Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River watersheds. Blue catfish are a significant threat to the ecosystem because of their rapidly increasing populations and capacity to consume significant amounts of native species, like crabs and striped bass. 

House Joint Resolution 3 and Senate Joint Resolution 3 – Natural Resources – Fishing – Wild-Caught Blue Catfish urges the United States Congress to oppose certain inspection rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has drastically impeded the harvest and sale of blue catfish. Because of this, Maryland has been unable to adequately use the commercial harvest as a form of control over the invasive blue catfish.  Read more…


Harriet Tubman Day Celebrated in March

Music, Games, and Learning Honor a Maryland Legend

Photo of Harriet Tubman bust in park Visitors CenterThe Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center invites everyone to participate in free, family-friendly programs March 7 to celebrate Harriet Tubman Day. This national observance has special significance in Maryland where the famed abolitionist and suffragette was born and raised; leading dozens to freedom from the Choptank River Region where the park is located.

The actual date of Harriet Tubman Day is March 10 — also the third anniversary of the state park’s opening — but since it falls during the week, events are held on the weekend to allow more people attend.

Visitors can enjoy live music, educational programs, and self-guided activities as the park honors the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, and the Year of the Woman in Maryland. Read more…


Golden Anniversary for Cunningham Falls Maple Syrup Festival

Due to ongoing efforts by the state of Maryland to contain the effects of the COVID-19 virus, both weekends of the annual Maple Syrup Festival at Cunningham Falls State Park have been cancelled.​

Annual Event Takes Place March 14-15 and March 21-22

Turning sap into syrup

The public is invited to celebrate the 50th annual Maple Syrup Festival at Cunningham Falls State Park this March. This popular event takes place during two weekends, March 14-15 and March 21-22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day at the park’s William Houck Area. 

Sugarmakers will demonstrate the traditional way of simmering sap to syrup starting every half hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. For an additional cost, guests can enjoy Maryland-made maple syrup served over a hot pancake and sausage breakfast. Live bluegrass music will fill the heated tent with familiar tunes while kids can join in nature-based crafting. 

Every hour of the festival, guests can take a hayride through the park’s Maple Grove to see exactly how rangers collect sap for the syrup. And as part of the festival’s 50th anniversary, the park will have an antique tractor display. Read more…


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