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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…


2020 Maryland Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced

Carroll County Youth Awarded Grand Prize

Photo of Tree-Mendous Maryland Coordinator Anne Gilbert; Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio,  Acting State Forester Kenneth Jolly; First Lady Yumi Hogan; and Urban and Community Forestry Supervisor Marian Honeczy stand with the winning entry in the 2020 Arbor Day poster contest.

Standing with the winning 2020 Arbor Day poster art, from left to right: Tree-Mendous Maryland Coordinator Anne Gilbert; Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Acting State Forester Kenneth Jolly; First Lady Yumi Hogan; and Urban and Community Forestry Supervisor Marian Honeczy. Photo by Joe Andrucyk, Office of the Governor

The judging is complete for the annual fifth-grade Arbor Day poster contest sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Three schools in Maryland that are home to the top winners will benefit with tree plantings this spring. The poster contest is judged annually by a panel of forestry experts and special guest judge, Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan.

Lola Lugard of Sykesville, Carroll County was awarded First Place, and her school will receive 15 trees for planting.

Second Place, with a prize of 10 trees, was awarded to Angela Webb of Easton, Talbot County. Third Place honors went to Annelie Kolbe of Hancock, Washington County. Her school will receive five trees. Read more…


Free Seedlings for Kent, Queen Anne’s County

‘Backyard Buffers’ Available to Riparian Homeowners

Photo of loblolly pine seedlings being grown at a nursery

Loblolly pine seedlings growing at John S. Ayton State Forest Tree Nursery

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to help improve water quality in targeted Eastern Shore communities.

Landowners in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream, or other waterway on or near their property are eligible for free tree seedlings through the department’s Backyard Buffer program. Read more…


Youth Fishing Rodeos Scheduled for 2020

Program Rounds Up Next Generation of Anglers

Photo of father and daughter fishing at a rodeoMore than 4,000 children and young adults will have the opportunity to catch their first taste of fishing thanks to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and partner organizations throughout the state. From early spring to fall, the state will host 41 youth fishing rodeos in 14 counties. Read more…


Maryland Hunters Harvest nearly 80,000 Deer during 2019-2020 Season

Final Harvest Numbers Higher than the Previous Season

Photo of buck

Photo by Steve Edwards

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that deer hunters harvested 79,457 deer during the combined archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons, from Sept. 6, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2020.

The statewide harvest included 29,233 antlered and 46,777 antlerless white-tailed deer, plus 1,552 antlered and 1,895 antlerless sika deer. The harvest was 3% higher than the 2018-2019 total of 77,382 deer.

Hunters harvested more than 5,000 deer on Sundays. Hunting deer on Sunday is only permitted during certain weeks in 20 of Maryland’s 23 counties. Read more…


Department Builds Fish Habitat at Cunningham Falls

Reused Materials Restore Spawning and Feeding Areas

Photo of staff deploying fish habitat made from recycled materials

Staff deploy fish habitat made from recycled materials into Hunting Creek Lake.

Crews from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources this winter helped expand fish habitat in Cunningham Falls State Park’s Hunting Creek Lake.

Staff joined with the Maryland Conservation Corps to help construct the artificial habitat using upcycling debris and recycled materials found around the park, including PVC tubing, rubber garden hoses, wooden pallets, and five-gallon buckets filled with cement. 

“These habitat structures attract baitfish, which in turn attract larger fish,” Ranger Travis Watts said. “They can be very productive locations for anglers.” Read more…


Striped Bass Conservation Regulations Set for Spring 2020

Maryland Spring Trophy Season Begins May 1

Photo of striped bass

Photo courtesy of David Redden

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced new striped bass conservation measures for the Spring 2020 fishing season to meet a coast-wide conservation target. 

The 2018 benchmark stock assessment for striped bass indicated declines, so the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has determined that conservation measures are needed for the 2020 fishing season. ASMFC is a management entity comprising 15 member states on the East Coast, including Maryland. Read more…


New Clean Marinas Certified in Kent County

Facilities in Rock Hall Meet Award Standards

Logo of Maryland Clean Marina programTwo marinas in Rock Hall recently passed inspection by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to earn the Maryland Clean Marina Award. Gratitude Marina and Osprey Point Marina met the award criteria, bringing the total number of Clean Marinas and Clean Marina Partners to 151 — about a quarter of the marinas in Maryland. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: February 2020

Black History Month Offers Lessons From Maryland’s Past

Photo of Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, and Deputy Secretary Charles Glass visiting Patuxent River State Park with Ranger Shea Neimann

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, and Deputy Secretary Charles Glass visited Patuxent River State Park with Ranger Shea Neimann

In my home county, we are very proud of the legacy that Talbot County native Frederick Douglass left for our region, our state, and our nation. We are equally proud of the fact that we are the home of “The Hill,” which dates to 1790 and is the oldest known community of freed African Americans in the entire country.

In our neighboring county of Dorchester, there are many tributes to one of their natives, Harriet Tubman, including the Harriet Tubman State Park and Visitor Center and the Harriet Tubman mural just outside of Cambridge. And while the Eastern Shore is rich with African American history, so is the rest of our state. Read more…


Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Shows Rise in Bird Count

Annual Survey Estimates Number of Wintering Duck, Geese, and Swans

Photo of Canada Geese in Flight

Photo by Orietta Estrada

In early January, aerial survey teams of pilots and biologists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources made visual estimates of the ducks, geese, and swans along most of the state’s Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River, and Atlantic coast shorelines. This year, the teams counted about 627,000 waterfowl, which was higher than the 566,300 birds observed during 2019, but lower than the five-year average of 738,440 birds. Read more…


Suspect Charged with Illegal Hunting in State Park

K-9 Ruckus Helps Track Down Clues

Photo of dog finding weapon in leaves

Maryland Department of Natural Resources K-9 Ruckus locates a loaded weapon on the ground.

Following an investigation of illegal hunting and baiting in Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland Natural Resources Police charged a Glen Burnie man with 17 infractions, including several weapons-related violations.

On Nov. 25, officers responded to a report of deer stands and bait within the park. With the help of a tip, they located three subjects, including Richard Brown Sr., 38, near an ATV at the hunting site.  Read more…


State Forest Work Plans Open for Public Comment

Input on 2021 Plans Accepted Through Feb. 28

Photo of Potomac-Garrett State ForestThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the proposed fiscal year 2021 work plans for the following state forests: Chesapeake/Pocomoke, Green Ridge, Potomac-Garrett, and Savage River. The comment period concludes Feb. 28.

Annual work plans help the department identify priorities within the scope of the forests’ long-range management. They address composition, establishment, growth, health, and quality along with construction and maintenance projects. Read more…


Upgrades Coming to Maryland Park Service Reservation Site

Brief Interruption to Service While Work is Done

The Maryland Park Service is upgrading its online reservation system with new features that will make it easier for customers and park staff to use. The new version of the online reservation system will be available to customers Feb. 13.

The online reservation system will be unavailable Feb. 6-12 while the upgrade is completed. The work is scheduled during the least busy time of year for the system. Also, the updates will not affect customers’ existing reservations, account information, or history.

The online reservation system on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website is used by customers to reserve campsites, cabins, pavilions, and other amenities at dozens of parks around the state.  Read more…


Tree-Mendous Offerings Ready for Spring Planting

Native Trees and Shrubs Available for Public Spaces

Potted Young TreesThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources aims to expand tree cover on public lands across the state, offering affordable and attractive trees for planting on community lands and open space through its Tree-Mendous Maryland program.

Offerings through Tree-Mendous are high-quality, native shrubs and trees, which are grown and provided by American Native Plants in Baltimore County. Church, civic, community and school groups, homeowners associations, local governments, nonprofits, and others are eligible to purchase plantings from the program, as long as the shrubs and trees are planted on community and public land with prior approval from the landowner.

“Now is the time to prepare for spring planting,” acting Maryland State Forester Kenneth Jolly said. “The state is proud to provide affordable, attractive, and beneficial greenery suitable for every public property and space.” Read more…


Winter Turkey Season Sees Harvest Increase

Maryland Hunters Bagged Birds in 22 Counties

Photo of two male turkeys

Photo by Lori Bramble

Hunters reported taking 82 wild turkeys during Maryland’s 2020 winter turkey season, which was open statewide Jan. 23-25.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports turkeys were harvested in 22 of the state’s 23 counties, with St. Mary’s and Garrett counties reporting the highest numbers. 

The harvest was higher than the 73 turkeys taken last year. Adult males, or gobblers, comprised 42% of the harvest with the remainder being adult females and juveniles. Seventy-three percent were taken with a shotgun, but some hunters harvested their bird with a crossbow or vertical bow. Read more…


Winter Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day Feb. 8

Great Opportunity to Mentor Young Hunters

Photo of young hunter with adult behind themThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters of all ages that Feb. 8 is a Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day. This is a great chance for qualified mentors to take a young or aspiring waterfowler into the field to teach hunting skills, reinforce the safety lessons of hunter education classes, and to create memories that will last a lifetime.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Jan. 29

Photo of boy holding trout

Photo by Gregg Salsi

Even though it’s winter, periodic warm spells and days when there is little wind and plenty of sunshine afford fishermen a chance to wet a line. The pre-season trout stocking program is well underway and trout management waters are being stocked every week.

January through March is the time of the year when many attend outdoor shows to view or purchase new fishing tackle, or even book that fishing trip to a dream destination. The department’s Fishing and Boating Services will have staff present at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg from Feb. 1-9 at Maryland FishHunt booth 2521 in Fishing Hall. We hope you’ll come see us!

Many anglers have questions about what is going to happen in regards to management decisions and new regulations concerning striped bass. The entire striped bass fishery of the East Coast is impacted by the need to meet conservation targets established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. In Maryland, commercial quotas are being cut 1.8 percent and there are several proposals concerning the recreational fishery. You can follow the most recent regulation changes and proposals and find up-to-date questions and answers on the Department of Natural Resources website. 

Read more…


Department Honors Maryland’s First Class of Climate Change Professionals

State Developing Leaders to Address Climate Challenges

Photo of Maryland Climate Leadership Academy graduates receiving  governor's citations at the Board of Public Works meeting on Jan 29, 2020

Photo by Joe Andrucyk

The Hogan administration today recognized 40 professionals as Maryland’s first class of Climate Change Professionals, an international credential administered by the Association of Climate Change Officers, during the meeting of the Board of Public Works.

These professionals earned their certifications by participating in six days of training provided through the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy, the nation’s first state-sponsored climate change training institution. The academy was established to specifically offer training and continuing education for state and local government officials on the matter of climate change.  Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves 200-Acre Land Acquisition in Central Maryland

Property Adjacent to Rosaryville State Park will Expand Recreation

Photo of entrance sign at Rosaryville State ParkThe Board of Public Works today approved the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ acquisition of nearly 200 acres in Prince George’s County. The property is adjacent to Rosaryville State Park and its acquisition will expand the park’s offerings including equestrian opportunities and an expanded trail network.

Without the department’s acquisition, the property might otherwise have been slated for extensive development. Read more…


Public Comment Sought for Hunting and Trapping Seasons

Input Taken Beginning Feb. 3; Public Meetings Scheduled

Photo of man hunting with his retrieverThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources in February will accept public comment on proposed changes to the 2020-2022 hunting and trapping seasons. Included in the proposals are concepts related to the 2020-2021 Migratory Game Bird Seasons. 

Through the past several months, the department has presented a variety of management concepts to internal and external stakeholders representing a diverse group of staff, citizens, and advisers. Read more…


Natural Resources Careers Camp Accepting Applicants for July 2020

Annual Weeklong Program Offered for Grades 9-12

Photo of Natural Resources Careers Camp student using ropes to climb a treeThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites high school students with an interest in forestry, fisheries, wildlife, or parks management to participate in a Natural Resources Careers Camp, July 19-25 at the Hickory Environmental Education Center in Garrett County. 

A partnership with Allegany College of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers high school students an opportunity to learn from industry professionals and develop contacts that could lead to future employment and a career in natural resources.  Read more…


Department Begins New Survey of Mason-Dixon Line

Effort To Document Remaining Original Markers

Photo of Maryland Geological Survey signThe Maryland Geological Survey, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will lead professional surveying societies of Maryland and Pennsylvania in a new survey of monuments along the Mason-Dixon Line. This will be the first complete survey in 40 years of the line, which was marked in a 1760s survey that defined the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. 

Surveyors will document and photograph the remaining monuments to create a thorough collection, with the intent of entering the markers into the National Registry of Historic Places. The project is slated to begin in February and continue through August 2021.  Read more…


Celebrate Black History Month at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Weekends in February Offer Inspiring Programs

Photo of display at Harriet Tubman State Park Visitor CenterIn celebration of Black History Month, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center invites everyone to free, family-friendly programs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in February.

The park, located near Harriet Tubman’s birthplace in Dorchester County, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and houses an exhibit hall, immersive displays, a gift store, and an information desk. Throughout the month, the park’s expert staff known as “Team Tubman” will lead special programs to honor the life and legacy of the abolitionist and suffragette. Read more…


Programs and Funding Bolster Maryland Forest Products Sector

State, Partners Working on New Market Strategies

Photo of sawmill in operationThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Commerce, and other state agencies are working with partners across the state to direct grants, programs, and strategies for building new markets for Maryland’s forest products industry.  

Overall market decline and sudden losses such as the closure of the Verso paper mill in Luke have prompted action by the state to bolster markets for this important sector of Maryland’s natural resource economy.  Read more…


Maryland Climate Leadership Academy Offered in Annapolis

Anne Arundel County Classes Start in February

Satellite photo of part of Maryland shorelineThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces open enrollment for Maryland Climate Leadership Academy courses in Annapolis, which will be starting in February. Registration is open until Jan. 31, but classes are capped at 75 participants. 

The free class will be taught in three segments: Feb. 20-21; March 23-24; and May 14-15. This series is designed to prepare anyone interested in seeking Certified Climate Change Professional credentials. The specific location of the class will be announced after registration is complete. Read more…


Firewood Permits for Sale at Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks

Gathering Low-Cost Wood Helps Remove Hazards from Public Lands

Photo of fallen trees at state park in winterThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering firewood cutting permits at Cunningham Falls and Gambrill state parks in Frederick County, providing a great opportunity for the public to pick up some easily accessible firewood. The $20 permit allows citizens to remove downed trees from the park in designated wood-cutting areas.

In addition to getting an economical source of winter heat for their homes, firewood cutters are also helping our state parks remove the hazard of downed trees. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: January 2020

2020 is the Year of the Woman

Photo of secretary at Chestertown MarinaAs we begin a New Year, it is a good time to sit back and reflect on the successes we had in 2019. While there are too many to name in one article, a few rise to the top, including the designation of Mallows Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary (the first one in nearly a decade), the opening of Wolf Den Run (our newest state park), celebrating 20 years of the Rural Legacy program with more than 100,000 acres protected, and celebrating our 50th anniversary as a department. We also honored the 90 veterans employed at DNR in keeping with Governor Hogan’s proclamation that 2019 was the Year of the Veteran.

With the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment approaching, Governor Hogan has proclaimed 2020 the Year of the Woman in Maryland. I was honored to join the governor, my fellow female cabinet members, and other prominent women leaders to kick off this initiative in December. Read more…


Winter Turkey Season Opens Jan. 23

Another Chance to Bag a Hen or Gobbler

Photo of two wild turkeysThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the opening of the winter turkey season, which runs statewide from January 23-25 for hunters who did not harvest a turkey during the 2019 fall season.

Hunting hours are from one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset. The bag limit is one turkey of either sex.  Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $18.8 Million in Rural Legacy Program Grants

Funding Will Protect 4,500 Acres Statewide

Aeriel 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 more than $18.8 million in Rural Legacy Program grants for conservation easements in 18 counties. Funding from these grants will permanently protect more than 4,500 acres of working farms, forests, open space, shorelines, and wetlands — plus cultural and historical resources — throughout the state. The recommendations also include six Rural Legacy Area expansions, which provide the opportunity to protect more than 172,039 expansion acres.

The projects were recommended by the Rural Legacy Board, which consists of the Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Planning. The Board of Public Works includes Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp. Read more…


Department Offers Free Environmental Seminars for Marinas

Clean Marina Program Explained in February Meetings

Photo of marinaOwners and managers of marinas, boatyards, and yacht clubs are invited to attend a free seminar to learn about becoming certified Maryland Clean Marinas. The program will provide details on commonly needed permits and plans, and an informative session on the impacts of plastic marine debris on Maryland’s waterways. Read more…


Monkton Angler Sets Record with Big-scale Pomfret

First-time Entry for Species in Maryland’s Atlantic Division

Photo of man holding state record big-scale pomfretThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has officially recognized Jeff Rosenkilde of Monkton as holding the first official state fishing record for big-scale pomfret. Rosenkilde caught the 22.1-pound fish Dec. 28 in the Atlantic Ocean canyons off the coast of the Delmarva peninsula.

Rosenkilde and four friends were deep-drop fishing for swordfish and tuna out of Ocean City, about 75 miles offshore, when he knew something took his whole squid bait nearly 1,000 feet below the surface. 
Read more…


Record Participants Hike in New Year Across Maryland

First Day Hikes Kick Off 2020

Photo of hikers led by Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford

Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford joins a First Day Hike at Patuxent River State Park, Jan. 1, 2020. Photo by Joe Andrucyk

About 5,000 hikers took advantage of sunny and mild weather New Year’s Day, joining the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in the state’s annual First Day Hikes initiative. Hikers logged more than 10,000 miles on trails in parks and public lands all across Maryland.

Park rangers, staff, and volunteers guided hikers of all experience levels ringing in the new year on the trail. With 43 hikes at more than 30 locations, the Maryland Park Service registered 3,834 hikers participating in guided hikes, while 1,152 people hiked 1,516 miles on their own — a grand total of 4,986 hikers, not counting many who didn’t check in with a ranger. Even more people hiked in Maryland’s state forests, wildlife management areas, and other public lands.  Read more…


Firearms Hunting for Deer Reopens Jan. 10

Hunters in Most Counties Have Another Opportunity

Photo of deer in Dorchester County woods during winter

Photo by Lori Bramble

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the winter portion of the firearm deer hunting season opens Jan. 10, 2020, in Deer Management Region B, which includes all of the state except the westernmost counties. Hunters with a valid hunting license may use firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season.

The season is open Jan. 10-11 in all Region B counties. The season is open Sunday, Jan. 12, as follows:

On private and designated public lands – Cecil and St. Mary’s counties.

On private lands only – Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Washington (Zone 1), and Worcester counties. Shooting hours end at 10:30 a.m. in Kent and Montgomery counties. Read more…


Native Animal Profile: Cedar Waxwing

Photo of cedar waxwing

Cedar Waxwing by Jacob McGinnis, Flickr CC by NC 2.0

Often heard and not seen, the lovely Cedar Waxwing can be found year-round throughout Maryland. Cedar Waxwings sport a pale brown, crested head with a sleek black mask that runs from their bill and around their eyes. The mask has white outlines which help accentuate it. Waxwings have a brown chest that fades into a gray on the wings and light yellow on the belly. Most waxwings have bright red tips on the end of their wings and a bright yellow swatch at the tip of their tail. Male and female Cedar Waxwings look the same. Juveniles look similar to adults but have a heavily brown-streaked breast. Read more…


Calling all Bird Enthusiasts! Join the Maryland-DC Breeding Bird Atlas

Image of Breeding Bird Atlas logo of two birds on Maryland state mapIf you have seen the recent news, you may have heard that the number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by three billion, or almost 29%, over the last 50 years. Unfortunately, Maryland is not exempt from this decline. 

With changes in habitat and climate over the years, it is crucial to know what species are still utilizing Maryland to breed. One important population survey method is a breeding bird atlas which covers a large geographic area. By tracking bird populations, distributions and the timing of their breeding, researchers can understand how an ecosystem’s health is changing over time.  Maryland is fortunate to have breeding bird atlas data from 1983-1987 and 2002-2006. The majority of the data collected during these efforts was from volunteers.  Beginning this year, the third Maryland – District of Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas (MD-DC BBA3) project and will run through 2024, and you can join in the effort! Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Photo of inkberry flowers

Inkberry by Siddarth Machado CC by NC 2.0

Inkberry (Ilex glabra) is one of our native, compact shrubs in the holly family (Aquifoliaceae) that keeps its leaves year-round. It is a relatively slow growing species that maxes out at heights of 5- 8 feet tall. It sometimes will form clumps with numerous sprouts, making it a great plant to use as a low hedge or border. The leaves are evergreen, finely toothed and can get up to 2.5 inches long. They appear dark green and shiny above with a lighter, duller appearance below. 
Read more…


Winter Greens for Wildlife

Photo of inkberries

Inkberry by Philip Bouchard CC by NC ND 2.0

Woody plants are essential for wildlife. In the winter, evergreen plants can provide much-needed shelter and food for local animals. Consider adding one or more of these native plants to your backyard landscape to provide for local wildlife.  Read more…


Habitat Project: Eastern Screech-owl Boxes

Photo of screech owl

Screech owl by Roy Niswanger CC by NC 2.0

Did you know? Maryland is home to eight species of owls, several of which are year-round residents while others visit during migration. The smallest resident owl in Maryland is the Eastern Screech-owl, which is often under 10 inches in length. Eastern Screech-owls are formidable hunters and are adapted to survive in both suburban and rural areas where the owls quietly pick off rodents and other small mammals with ease. Unlike larger owls, Eastern Screech-owls will readily take to nesting in boxes if the conditions are right. Read more…


Hunters Harvest 27,000 Deer During Firearms Season

Weather a Factor in Final Numbers

Photo of deer in a field

Photo by John Gambriel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters reported taking 27,088 deer during the state’s most popular hunt, the two-week firearms season. The total harvest was 14%  lower than last year’s official count of 31,631. Bad weather on key weekends contributed to the decline in many parts of the state.

More than 2,000 deer were taken on the two Sundays during the season, representing 8% the total harvest. Sunday hunting is currently permitted on select Sundays in 20 of 23 counties. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Will Return in 2020

Maryland Fishing Report is on break for the winter, and will resume in early 2020. For the latest information on fishing and water conditions in Maryland please sign up for our email newsletters at dnr.maryland.gov Read more…


First Day Hikes Offer a Fresh Start to 2020

Maryland Public Lands Hosting 40 Hikes Across State

Photo of hikers on trail New Year's Day 2019

New Year’s Day 2019 saw attendance triple for First Day Hikes in Maryland’s state parks.

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

On Jan. 1, 2020, the Maryland Park Service will offer 40 guided hikes on 33 state lands and parks, as part of a nationwide event sponsored by America’s State Parks. The earliest of the hikes starts at 8 a.m. while the latest has been planned to take advantage of year’s first sunset.

Among the new hikes planned are a “Year of the Woman” hike at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Dorchester County, and a First Day Birding Hike at Chapman State Park in Charles County.  Read more…


Muzzleloader Season for Deer Reopens Dec. 21

Second Half of Season Runs Until Jan. 4

Photo of herd of deer on snow-covered field

Photo: Deer Herd at Monocacy Battlefield by Jan Branscome

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the second segment of the muzzleloader deer hunting season will open Dec. 21 and run through Jan. 4, 2020. Hunters may use muzzleloading firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season. Read more…


2019 ‘Conservationist of the Year’ Awarded to Thomas DiGregorio of Dorchester County

Photo of Wildlife and Heritage Service staff standing with Conservationist of the Year Thomas DiGregorio, displaying his framed award.=

From left to right: Jacob Peregrim, Paul Peditto, Thomas DiGregorio;, Lou Compton, and Greg Schenk

On behalf of the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that Thomas DiGregorio has been recognized as the 2019 Conservationist of the Year. The award was presented at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Wildlife Advisory Commission at the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis.

“Tom DiGregorio’s dedication to the ideals of conservation and habitat management for the betterment of wildlife is apparent to all who meet him,” Wildlife Advisory Commission Chairman Lou Compton said. “For this continued perseverance of conservation and appreciation for the results he has produced, we are proud to honor Tom DiGregorio with the 2019 Maryland Conservationist of the Year award.” Read more…


Police Deer Decoy Struck by Suspect

Natural Resources Police Target Hunting Violations

Photo of Natural Resources Police officer and vehicle in fieldMaryland Natural Resources Police charged a Carroll County woman for driving while intoxicated after she struck a deer decoy and led officers on a chase. Police on Nov. 30 were patrolling for illegal spotlighting and using a decoy deer along Flag Marsh Road in Mt. Airy. Officers reportedly saw a vehicle stop in the road, turn on its headlights, drive off the road into the field, and strike the decoy deer. 

When officers approached the vehicle, it sped away through several fields before finally stopping. Police say the driver, Melinda Marie Platt, 46, was intoxicated and admitted to drinking several beers. A passenger, James Platt, 55, was also intoxicated, according to police.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Dec. 11

Photo of sunset over the Chesapeake Bay, from the back of a fishing boat.

Photo by Keith Lockwood

This is the final weekly Maryland Fishing Report of 2019 — we will return in 2020.

While everyone is caught up in the pre-holiday rush, those looking for a little respite will find plenty of fun fishing opportunities this month. The pre-season stocking of trout has begun and walleye, chain pickerel, yellow perch and catfish are all eager to entertain those who fish for them. The Chesapeake Bay striped bass season will come to a close on December 15, and the past couple weeks have been like the grand finale at a fireworks display. As the sun sets on the 2019 season, we look ahead to 2020.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has produced a fact sheet, available online, to address the many questions recreational anglers may have concerning future striped bass regulations and management. 

The Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission recently created an annual recreational fisheries achievement award, to be given once a year. This is a great opportunity to recognize someone you know who goes that extra distance in volunteering their services to aid in promoting and conserving our recreational fisheries resources in Maryland. For more information and to nominate someone, find everything you need on the department’s website.

Read more…


Save the Bay: Eat Invasive!

Blue Catfish

Biologist holds blue catfish caught by electrofishing, courtesy of Branson D. Williams

Maryland’s infamous invasive fishes — blue catfish, northern snakehead, and flathead catfish — were introduced to bay waters without Maryland Department of Natural Resources authorization. These species now pose an array of potential problems for the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Even with increased fishing pressure, controlling the abundance of invasives after they’ve become established can be difficult. While the department is investigating other ways of controlling the spread and abundance of these fish, we encourage the method that has been tried and true for centuries – eating them! And the good news is that the illegally introduced invasive fishes in Maryland are not only edible but delicious! Read more…


The Nature of Change

Photo of Governor Larry HoganMaryland is abundant with natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources that contribute significantly to our economy and quality of life. I have long held that conservation and economic growth need not be at odds with one another, and we are making great strides to that end. Read more…


Home on the Fringe: White-tailed Deer Thrive in Suburbs

Photo of deer crossing the road

Photo by Ken Mullinix

Suburban deer sightings are so common that few of us pay much attention anymore. White-tailed deer are everywhere – along the roadways, throughout our parks, and in our very own backyards. 

Many people incorrectly presume that these animals belong in the deep woods, and the ones wandering into our neighborhoods are refugees displaced by residential, commercial, or agricultural development. In fact, development actually creates better habitat for deer. White-tailed deer are a fringe species, exploiting the benefits of forested land for cover and open areas for food, requiring a substantial portion of each to survive. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioFall is one of my favorite seasons, a time to enjoy the cooler weather and changing leaves. One thing never changes, though —  the stewardship that Maryland citizens show in support of our natural resources. In this edition of our magazine, we feature the work of our 2019 Natural Resources Photo Contest winners, which captures that spirit — along with the variety and beauty of Maryland’s landscapes, waterways and wildlife — in a remarkable way. Read more…


Ask an Expert: Moon Names

Photo of full moon

Photo by Christopher Brown

I’ve heard full moons referred to as Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, and others – where do these names come from and what do they signify?
Jack in Frostburg

Nicknames for full moons have an ancient history, and it is closely tied to the cycle of natural resources. In North America, native tribes and later early European settlers identified full moons by important happenings or activities related to hunting, fishing and agriculture. This was obviously important knowledge to societies that quite literally lived and died by knowing how to work with nature. Read more…


Atlantic Population Canada Goose Season Begins Dec. 20

Hunters Can Bag One Goose Per Day

Photo of Canada goose huntingThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the state’s migratory Atlantic Population (AP) Canada goose hunting season will take place in two segments, Dec. 20, 2019 through Jan. 4, 2020 and Jan. 14, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2020. Hunters can bag one goose per day in Maryland’s AP Canada Goose Hunting Zone Read more…


Recipe: Venison Steaks with Chimichurri

Photo of venison chimichurri

Photo by James R. Mackey

Herby and colorful, chimichurri is a traditional Argentinian sauce. It’s great on venison but can also nicely complement grilled fish, chicken, and beef. Alternatively, use this chimichurri as a marinade and let the venison marinate for a few hours or overnight. Read more…


Way Cool: Cranesville Swamp Offers a Glimpse into a Different Time and Climate

Photo of boardwalk through forested swamp

Photo by Ashley Stimpson

Most people come to western Maryland for the mountains — but Garrett County visitors who venture off the beaten path will find a remarkable and rare treasure tucked between the hills.

Cranesville Swamp Preserve is one of the last boreal bogs in the southeastern United States. In this small, bowlshaped bog, a phenomenon known as a “frost pocket” creates a habitat more reminiscent of Alaska than Maryland. As weather patterns move east across the region, the hills surrounding Cranesville Swamp channel precipitation and chilled air into the valley, making the preserve one of the coolest locations in our state. Thanks to this unique climate, visitors can find lots of unusual plant and animal species in this out-of-place ecosystem and see what the landscape looked like 15,000 years ago as the last ice age receded. Read more…


From the Field: Natural Resources Police Captain Tracy Campbell

Photo of Tracy Campbell standing near boatsWhen Captain Tracy Campbell first joined the Maryland Natural Resources Police in 1995, newly minted officers were assigned to a boat, to which they reported for patrol or response duties.With her assignment in St. Michaels, the Baltimore native quickly felt at home on the Eastern Shore.

Those days, officers didn’t have their own state vehicles—or cell phones. “You would get a call on your home phone in the middle of the night, get in your personal car, drive down the road to the boat and then turn the boat radio on to find out the status of the call,” Campbell remembers. Read more…


A Voice in the Wilderness: After 75 Years, Smokey’s Message Still Looms Large

Image of Smokey Bear "Only You" poster

Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service Smokey Bear collection, U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library

One presence has stood tall spreading the word to prevent human-caused wildfires throughout the nation — Smokey Bear. For generations of Americans Smokey Bear and his message of “only you can prevent wildfires” has reminded us of the consequences of being careless with fire outdoors.  Read more…


A Hunter’s Story: Maryland’s Mentored Hunt Rejuvenates Childhood Dream

Photo of woman wearing camouflage carrying hunting rifle

Hunting turkey. Photo by Maribeth Kulynycz.

My passion for hunting began when I was a young girl, listening raptly to my dad’s bedtime stories about his childhood spent stalking birds with only a slingshot and a pouch of pebbles on his family’s farm. Read more…


Maryland Deer Firearms Opening Day Harvest Up 29%

Wind, Rain Hamper Overall Weekend

Photo of doe in the woodsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters reported 8,061 deer taken on opening day of the 2019 Maryland firearm season, Nov. 30. This represents a 29% increase over last year’s Saturday opener. The overall weekend harvest of 9,201 was down 9% from 2018 due to nearly non-stop rain and wind across the state on Sunday.

The harvest total includes 4,248 antlered and 4,953 antlerless deer, including 147 antlered and 126 antlerless sika deer. The two-week deer firearm season runs through Dec. 14. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: December 2019

Winter is Coming – Perfect for Maryland Outdoors Fun!

Secretary Riccio at Chestertown Marina

Celebrating Downrigging Weekend at the Port of Chestertown Marina

As we rake up the last of the fall leaves and the weather turns colder, some may think that winter’s arrival means less time spent outside, but Maryland has many cold-weather outdoor recreation opportunities.

Western Maryland – or Mountain Maryland as some call it – is a true winter wonderland. We have 23 state parks and three state forests in the westernmost counties, plus access to the national Appalachian Trail, all of which provide wonderful wintry vistas. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Dec. 4

Photo of man holding a chain pickerel

Mike Crocetti made the trip to Tuckahoe Lake to enjoy a beautiful day and a chance to catch and release a nice chain pickerel. Photo courtesy of Mike Crocetti

There is no doubt the hand of winter is passing over Maryland. Despite colder weather, there is plenty of fun fishing to be had from the sheltered shores of the many ponds, lakes, reservoirs, creeks, and rivers throughout Maryland. The preseason stocking of trout has begun, and other fish such as chain pickerel are active and waiting for you.

The Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission recently created an annual recreational fisheries achievement award, to be given once a year. This is a great opportunity to recognize someone you know who goes that extra distance to volunteer their services to help with the promotion and conservation of our recreational fisheries resources in Maryland. For more information and to nominate someone, find everything you need on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Read more…


Department Launches New Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award

 Nominations Accepted Through Jan. 31, 2020

Photo of Native Brook Trout being caught by fisherman

Photo: “Native Brook Trout” by Michael Eversmier

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission announce the creation of the Maryland Sport Fisheries Achievement Award, a celebration of conservation, education, and sportsmanship. This prestigious honor will recognize an individual who has provided sustained efforts in habitat management, conservation, education, research, or other meaningful contributions that benefit fish and recreational fishing in Maryland.  Read more…


‘Gift of Trees’ Can Last for Generations

Orders Taken Now for the Holidays

Photo of White oak seedlings at John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery

White oak seedlings at John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers holiday shoppers the opportunity to give a lasting legacy. The Gift of Trees is a program where Marylanders purchase native trees — either a single tree or a grove of 10 trees — for planting in honor of a celebration, commemoration, or observation.

A Gift of Trees certificate suitable for framing will be issued and mailed out within a week or two of an order. All trees will be planted in the next growing season – either spring or fall – to promote optimal growth and survival. Orders must be placed by Dec. 17 to ensure certificate delivery in time for the holidays.

For orders received through Dec. 6, additional savings apply. Read more…


Forever Maryland Foundation Launched

New Nonprofit Created to Advance Land Conservation 

Logo of Forever Maryland Foundation

Forever Maryland Foundation and Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, jointly announce the launch of a new statewide venture in land conservation. Forever Maryland has been created to undertake a bold agenda to meet the need for a nongovernmental organization with a Maryland-specific focus on land conservation.

Forever Maryland will work closely with the 40 local land trusts in Maryland and state and federal government agencies to find new ways for people to better connect with Maryland’s beautiful landscapes, scenic vistas, farmlands, and natural resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 27

Photo of young man holding up a beautiful fall striped bass

Nick Long spent a quiet evening on the bay fishing with his dad and holds up a beautiful fall striped bass as the sun sets. Photo by Travis Long

Although the mornings can be a bit nippy, good fishing opportunities exist from the mountains of western Maryland to the waters of the Atlantic. The Chesapeake Bay striped bass season has a little more than two weeks to go before it closes, and anglers are bundling up and enjoying the fun.  

Read more…


Maryland Fifth-Graders Invited to Submit Arbor Day Posters for 2020

Annual Contest Taking Submissions until Jan. 17, 2020

Winning entry of the 2019 Arbor Day Poster Contest, by Lydia Secrist of Garrett County

Winning entry of the 2019 Arbor Day Poster Contest, by Lydia Secrist of Garrett County

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

The theme for 2020 is: “Trees Are Terrific…in All Four Seasons!”

All entries must be delivered to a local Maryland Forest Service office by noon, Jan. 17, 2020. Read more…


2020-2021 Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest Winner Announced

Indiana Artist’s Blue-Winged Teal to Adorn Hunting Stamps

Image of Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp with illustration of two tealThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind. won the 46th Annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest. Judges selected his stunning depiction of a hen and a drake blue-winged teal, complete with leg band and mirror-like reflection in the water, aptly named “Quiet Waters.”

The artwork will be featured on the stamps that hunters purchase to hunt all migratory game birds in the state, with the proceeds funding migratory game bird research and habitat enhancement on public lands.

The winner was chosen by a panel of judges on Nov. 10 at the 49th Annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton in front of art enthusiasts, as well as some of the entrants and their families.
Read more…


Natural Resources Police Put Spotlight on Illegal Hunting Practices

Photo of Natural Resource Police truck in fieldMaryland Natural Resources Police recently charged individuals throughout the state for illegally using spotlights for hunting — known as “jacklighting” — along with bear-baiting and other outlawed practices.  Read more…


Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals At Risk From Low Temperatures

Anglers, Boaters, and Beachcombers Should Report ‘Cold-Stunning’

Photo of sea turtle that is cold-stunned in the water

Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries

When water temperatures decline, sea turtles and some marine animals can be caught off guard. Since sea turtles are cold-blooded animals, a dramatic decline in water temperatures can cause hypothermia or cold-stunning. The immediate impacts can cause some species to become slow and unresponsive, making them dangerous to themselves and boaters. 

Cold-stunning can also be lethal to marine mammals such as the Florida manatees. While rare, some manatees will trek northward into the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months and stay until fall. As with sea turtles, cold snaps can cause severe hypothermia in manatees and could even be fatal. Last year alone, marine animal rescue organizations responded to nearly 1,000 cold-stunned animals along the east coast.  

“Cold-stunning to sea turtles and marine mammals can occur from late October to early winter,” said Amanda Weschler, coordinator of Maryland’s Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Response Program. “While cold-stunning is a natural occurrence, it’s very important to report any sightings to the department.”  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 20

Photo of man holding a nice striped bass

Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

The chill of late November is beginning to lay its hand upon the Maryland landscape. Freshwater species such as trout, walleye, and chain pickerel seem to love the cold. Our blue crabs are seeking the perfect mix of deep water sand and mud to take a winter’s nap.

White perch and resident striped bass are moving into the deep waters of the Chesapeake to snooze out the cold winter months. The late fall offers plenty of good fishing as fish feed heavily to build up winter stores, so don’t miss it.

Read more…


Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Hosts ‘Greeting of the Geese’

Department, Tribal Leaders Welcome Winter Migration

Photo of Canada geeseThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe present the annual Greeting of the Geese at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. This event celebrates the return of Canada geese to Maryland as part of their winter migration, and the role the Prince George’s County sanctuary plays in it.

The event features demonstrations of traditional Native American dances and crafts, and a presentation of ancient oyster roasting techniques. Activities will also include a guided hike through the sanctuary, hayrides, and a visit from Scales & Tales.  Read more…


Grants Gateway Open for Community Resiliency and Environmental Restoration

Department Accepting Grant Applications from Governments, Nonprofits

Aeriel photo of stream entering Chesapeake Bay at Franklin Point State ParkThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources today announced that up to $30 million is available for local governments and organizations seeking to restore local waterways, increase their resilience to climate and storm impacts, strengthen local economies, and develop the next generation of environmental stewards. 

The department’s Grants Gateway provides a streamlined, single point of entry to several state and federal programs, maximizing the resources available to restore the Chesapeake Bay and help coastal communities. The system, now in its second year, enables communities better access to financial resources and a more intuitive reporting and management process.  Read more…


Maryland Reports Early Season Deer, Turkey Hunt Results

Favorable Weather Improves Deer Harvest

Photo of deer staring down photographer

Photo by George Hook

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that hunters harvested 21,073 deer during the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader seasons.

The harvest was a 12% increase from last year’s official harvest of 18,839 deer for the same period. More favorable hunting conditions this year contributed to the increased harvest. Read more…


‘Boatload of Toys’ Getting Underway for 2019

Natural Resources Police Starts Annual Toy Drive

Photo of officers with patrol boat collecting toysThe Maryland Natural Resources Police invites everyone aboard for its annual “Boatload of Toys” drive, collecting donations of new and unopened items for children in need. As part of the drive, a Natural Resources Police patrol boat will be set up outside several retailers in Maryland beginning Nov. 23, with the goal of filling the entire boat.

Officers and other staff manage this program each year as part of the national Marine Toys for Tots program, which was created at the behest of the U.S. Marine Corps to collect and distribute toys to less fortunate children during the holiday season. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Nov. 16-17, 2019

Map of fall foliage changes in MarylandWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for November 16 and 17 brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 13

Photo of boy holding up a crappie

This fine looking crappie is held up by a proud Henry Gessford who was fishing in a lower Dorchester County river recently. Photo by Jody Gessford

The colder weather has descended upon the Maryland landscape and few know it better than our furry, finned, and feathered friends who call the outdoors their home. All are on a bit of a feeding binge to prepare for the cold winter months ahead.

Read more…


Deer Firearms Hunting Season Opens Nov. 30

Maryland’s Most Popular Hunt Runs Through Dec. 14

Photo of two bucks in the woods

Photo by Reinhardt Sahmel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the two-week firearm hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 14. 

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


‘One Fort, Three Wars’ at Fort Frederick State Park Nov. 9-10

Explore the Life of America’s Soldiers Through History

Photo of Civil War re-enactors firing riflesHistoric Fort Frederick State Park offers visitors a look at life in the fort this Veterans Day weekend as volunteers exhibit the varied roles the fort played during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. Events run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The program takes a deeper look at the uses of the fort and the roles of the people serving in the wars that shaped our nation. Highlights of the weekend will include live firing of vintage 18th and 19th century weapons, demonstrations of percussion vs. flintlock firing, volunteer company drills, and demonstrations of life of the soldier at Fort Frederick from 1756-1865, including a look at 18th century medicine, soldiers’ rations of the two centuries, and more. Read more…


Maryland Department of Natural Resources Offers Resources to Veterans

Benefits, Discounts Provided for Those Who Serve

Photo of the Maryland Veterans of Foreign Wars State Honor Guard, led by Major Calvin Mitchell.

Members of the Maryland Veterans of Foreign Wars State Honor Guard present the colors Nov. 6 at a Veterans Day commemoration in Tawes Garden.

In recognition of Veterans Day, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces its numerous resources available to veterans.

In February 2019, joined by more than 100 veterans, Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland. This yearlong observance honors United States veterans and military families and celebrates their contributions to Maryland and our country.

“We can never do enough to raise awareness of the brave service and sacrifice our United States veterans and families have made for Maryland for our nation,” said Governor Hogan. “Our state is proud to be home to 380,000 veterans, including 8,000 World War II veterans and an additional 30,000 active military, 19,000 reservists, and more than 6,000 members of our National Guard. These heroes serve as a reminder every single day of the immeasurable cost of war and the immense price of freedom.” Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Nov. 9-10, 2019

Map of fall foliage in MarylandWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for November 9 and 10 brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Nov. 6

Photo of man holding state record gray triggerfish

Photo courtesy of Mike Glyphis

November has started off with lots of exciting fishing opportunities. Maryland Department of Natural Resources crews have stocked generous amounts of trout in waters throughout the state, as our fall stocking program comes to an end. Chesapeake anglers are enjoying fishing for striped bass and coastal anglers are experiencing excellent fishing for sea bass. Mike Glyphis was fishing 16 miles off Ocean City when he hooked up with a 5.6-pound gray triggerfish, which is now recognized as a new state record inching out the previous record of 5.2 pounds set in 2014.

Read more…


Secretary’s Message: November 2019

A Natural Expression of Gratitude to Our Veterans

Veterans Day 2019Governor Larry Hogan declared 2019 the Year of the Veteran, a yearlong observance to raise awareness of the brave service and sacrifice our United States veterans and families have made for Maryland and our country. While our nation will celebrate on Veterans Day, the governor’s declaration is an important reminder that we should appreciate our veterans every day. It also inspired us at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to reaffirm our commitment to Maryland’s 380,000 veterans.

At DNR we directly benefit from the dedication of approximately 90 individuals that served our country and have chosen to continue their public service through full-time careers at our department. I was proud to host a special ceremony on Nov. 6 with Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings at our Annapolis headquarters to honor these distinguished individuals and all who have served. Read more…


Ocean City Angler Catches Record Gray Triggerfish

Maryland State Record Stood for Five Years

Photo of man holding state record gray triggerfishOcean City resident Mike Glyphis set a new Maryland state record for gray triggerfish. Glyphis caught the 5.6-pound fish Oct. 30 while fishing 16 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more…


Prescribed Burn Planned for Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Action to Improve Wildlife Habitat, Protect Trees

Photo of staff conducting a prescribed burn of dead underbrushThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to conduct a prescribed burn on Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area between Nov. 4 and Nov. 21, weather permitting. 

Access to the east side of the wildlife management area — at the primitive camping area and at Middle Ridge Road — will be limited during the burn, but will reopen as soon as the project is complete. The burn will involve a low, controlled flame targeting underbrush and ground cover debris, and smoke is expected to be minimal. 

The purpose of the burn is to improve habitat for wildlife and to restore a stand of pitch pine and table mountain pine that is more than 90 years old.  Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Nov. 2-3, 2019

Map of changing fall foliage in MarylandWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for November 2 and 3, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 30

 Photo of striped bass being carefully released to fight another day

Herb Floyd takes one last look at this Choptank River striped bass being carefully released to fight another day. Photo by Herb Floyd

As October comes to a close, Maryland anglers will find there are plenty of treats and no tricks awaiting them. The fall stocking program has released a very generous amount of trout across Maryland; Chesapeake Bay anglers are enjoying some of the season’s finest light-tackle action; and sea bass fishing off Ocean City has been excellent.

Read more…


Black Bear Hunt Concludes in Western Maryland

145 Bears Harvested in Four Counties

Painting of black bear in the woods, by Rebecca Latham

Painting by Rebecca Latham

Favorable weather conditions helped bear hunters enjoy success during Maryland’s 16th annual black bear hunt.

Official results reported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources show that 145 hunters harvested a bear during the five-day hunt held in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties.

The largest bear taken weighed 539 pounds and was harvested in Garrett County by Carl Lee of Swanton. Other notable bears included a 529-pound bear, also taken in Garrett County, by Tyler Minnick of Grantsville, and a 422-pound bruin taken in Washington County by Robert Droneburg of Rohrersville. Read more…


Maryland Introduces Tool for Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials

Department Initiative Boosts Restoration and Resilience

Aerial photo of boat dredging a riverThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has developed a new conservation tool to identify opportunities for the beneficial use of clean dredged sediments. Beneficial Use – Identifying Locations for Dredge (BUILD) is a mapping tool that will support the state’s Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, protect infrastructure and investment, and enhance coastal resiliency.  Read more…


Junior Deer Hunting Days Set for November

Young Hunters Can Learn Sporting Skills and Traditions

Photo of father and son huntingThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources encourages experienced deer hunters to introduce youth to the time-honored cultural and sporting tradition of deer hunting during two Junior Deer Hunting Days in November.

The hunts will be held Nov. 16, on private and designated public land in all counties, and Nov. 17 on private land in all counties except Baltimore, Howard, and Prince George’s. In Allegany, Cecil, Garrett, St. Mary’s, and Washington counties, the hunt is also open on designated public lands Nov. 17. Read more…


Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Announced

Opportunities for Young Hunters to Hone Skills

Photo of man helping young hunterYoung Marylanders can hone their hunting skills with the help of an experienced adult during two Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days Nov. 2, 2019 and Feb. 8, 2020. 
Read more…


Maryland Renews Partnership with ‘Every Kid Outdoors’

Federal, State Parks Offer Free Admission for Fourth Graders

Photo of kids at park learning about snakesLt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford today joined Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio in announcing that for the fifth consecutive year, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will provide free admission to national public lands and state parks to fourth-grade children and their families. The program, called Every Kid Outdoors, is a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
All 75 state parks in the Maryland Park Service system will honor the federal passes, valid through Aug. 31, 2020. The passes also grant access to 18 national parks, six national natural landmarks, and two federal heritage areas in Maryland.
 
“Maryland’s state parks are family-friendly destinations that provide an unlimited number of learning opportunities for children of all ages,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “We are pleased to yet again partner with the Department of the Interior for this program in the hopes that even more families can take advantage of our beautiful state parks and other public lands.” Read more…


Invasion Lands at Point Lookout This Weekend

Stand With Maryland’s Defenders Oct. 26-27

Photo of flagpole at Point Lookout, overlooking Chesapeake BayVisitors are invited to Point Lookout State Park the weekend of Oct. 26-27 to witness “Invasion,” a living history reenactment of American forces during the War of 1812.

Volunteers in period costumes and uniforms will interpret the life of soldiers and other Marylanders during the War of 1812, along with small arms demonstrations, drills, and other events throughout the weekend. Camps at the historic fort area and on the beach at Point Lookout are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 27. There will also be a Saturday evening program beginning at 7 p.m. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Oct. 26-27, 2019

Map of changing fall foliage across MarylandWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Oct. 26 and 27, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Fall Turkey Season Opens in Western Maryland

Higher Turkey Population Anticipated This Year

Photo of wild turkeys in a fieldThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the fall turkey hunting season will open Oct. 26 and continue through Nov. 3 in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties with a bag limit of one turkey per hunter.

“Although many hunters are focused on deer this time of year, the fall turkey season can provide an equally exciting and enjoyable opportunity for those who give it a try,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Wild turkeys are abundant in the western region, so hunters should have ample opportunity to find a fall bird.” Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 23

Photo of State record Atlantic Tripletail

Photo by Steve Doctor

The stormy weather during September and October often bring fishy friends from southern waters to the coast of Ocean City. Don Whittington of Bivalve, Wicomico County, was fishing near some offshore lobster pot buoys recently when he caught an 11-pound tripletail, a new addition to our state record species list.
Read more…


State Record Set with Tripletail Caught in Atlantic Ocean

Wicomico County Angler Holds First Record for Species

Photo of man holding the state record triple tailAngler Don Whittington of Bivalve reeled in the state’s first-ever record tripletail off the coast of Ocean City. The 11-pound, 25.25-inch long fish was caught Oct.19 near Baltimore Canyon in the Atlantic Ocean. Read more…


Department Certifies Two New Maryland Clean Marinas

Facilities in Calvert and Queen Anne’s Counties Meet Standards

Photo of Kent Narrows Boatel

Boatel on Kent Narrows, Queen Anne’s County

Two facilities recently passed inspection by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ voluntary Clean Marina program, earning the Maryland Clean Marina Award. Solomons Landing Marina and Kent Narrows Boatel met the award criteria, bringing the total number of Clean Marinas and Clean Marina Partners to 147. This is roughly a quarter of the marinas in Maryland.

Department staff evaluate participating marinas or yacht clubs on areas such as emergency preparedness, waste containment/disposal, and stormwater management. To pass, the marina must score from 75 – 85% in each area of the award checklist by implementing practices from the Maryland Clean Marina Guidebook. Read more…


State Nursery has Trees to Order for Spring Planting

The Time is Now to Think Spring!

Photo of loblolly pine seedlings growing at state tree nurseryOrders are being accepted for the spring 2020 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 habitats for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife. Almost all trees and shrubs available for sale are native, and many are also pollinator-friendly. Read more…


The Cultivar Question

While searching for the best plants to include with a garden, you have likely come across cultivars for sale. The use of native cultivars (aka nativars) has been growing as the popularity of native plants surges. 

Photo of purple monarda flowers

In Mt. Cuba trials, Monarda fistulosa ‘Claire Grace’ was favored by butterflies. Photo by cultivar413 CC by 2.0

Read more…


Native Animal Profile: Sweat Bees (aka Halictid Bees)

Photo of sweat bee

Sweat bee pollinating rare single-headed pussytoes in Maryland by Kerry Wixted

Maryland is home to 437 species of bees, just over a quarter of which are members of the family Halictidae: sweat bees. Unlike other bee families, like the Andrenids (mining bees), sweat bees are often generalists, visiting whatever flowers pique their interest. While this may seem like an advantage, sweat bees have to navigate different flowers to extract pollen and nectar, while also possessing the ability to metabolize pollen from multiple plant species. Both techniques are no easy feat for small and short-lived insects! Despite their generalist nature, sweat bees are important pollinators for many wildflowers and crops including sunflowers, stone fruits, apples and alfalfa. Read more…


Native Plant Profile: New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

Photo of New England aster

New England aster by Dan Mullen NC ND 2.0

With lilac purple rays and a bright yellow center, New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) brings a pop of color to fall gardens. This tall, branching aster can reach heights up to six feet if allowed to grow to its full potential. Each stalk can have over a dozen composite flowers at its tips that bloom from August through October in Maryland. Each composite flower is actually made up of multiple flowers, from yellow disk flowers in the center to purple ray flowers on the edges.  Read more…


Seek and Destroy: the Spotted Lanternfly

Photo of spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org CC by 3.0

Despite its name, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) isn’t a fly, rather it is a plant hopper, which is native to China, India and Vietnam. The first infestation in the United States was reported in Pennsylvania in 2014; this insect has now been detected in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York. The first Maryland record was found in 2018 in Cecil County and subsequent records have been found in northeast Maryland this year. Read more…


Department Graduates Class of New Forest Wardens

Thirty Employees Trained for Education and Enforcement

Photo of graduates of Forest Warden training school. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently graduated a class of 30 new Forest Wardens, a special commission that authorizes employees to perform educational and enforcement activities. The warden training school was held at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury and attendees included current Maryland Forest Service employees ranging in years of service from four months to nine years. A graduation ceremony was held Oct. 3. Read more…


Striped Bass Index Documents Below-Average Year

Spawning Down Among Several Species

Photo of scientists conducting a seine net survey on a small beach.

Scientists carefully conduct a seine net survey along the Chesapeake Bay during the summer.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the results of the young-of-year striped bass survey, which tracks reproduction of the species in Chesapeake Bay. The 2019 juvenile striped bass index is 3.4, below the 66-year average of 11.6.

The young-of-year striped bass survey measures the annual spawning success of the state fish, commonly known as rockfish. The index represents the average number of recently hatched striped bass captured in samples taken during the survey.

During this year’s survey, biologists collected more than 51,000 fish of 54 different species, including 445 young-of-year striped bass. While the abundance of some important forage species like silversides, spot, and menhaden increased in Maryland waters, the survey showed that white perch and yellow perch experienced below-average reproduction.  Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Oct. 19-20, 2019

Fall Foliage MapWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Oct. 19 and 20, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 16

Photo of three people holding a basket full of blue crabs

Photo courtesy of Jim Livingston

Without a doubt we are now in a fall weather pattern, and those sunny days will become less and less frequent. Some are taking advantage of these remaining warm days and catching the last of the Chesapeake Bay’s summer bounty of blue crab. Read more…


Department Names First FishMaryland Master Angler

Nottingham Resident Catches Ten Species to Earn Award

Photo of man holding carp

Gary Simpson caught this carp on his way being named a FishMaryland Master Angler.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has recognized its first FishMaryland Master Angler Award recipient. Gary Simpson of Nottingham, Baltimore County, caught a total of 10 different species meeting all the minimum set requirements of the department’s new recreational fishing award program. 

Simpson’s award-sized catches include: chain pickerel, largemouth bass, white perch, walleye, striped bass, crappie, smallmouth bass, blue crab, red drum, and the common carp. Read more…


Deer Muzzleloader Season Set to Begin

Traditional Firearms Hunt Remains Popular

Photo of large buck in a field

Photo by Jan Branscome

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the first segment of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season opens statewide Oct. 17. This is one of many deer hunting opportunities offered in the state and typically coincides with pleasant fall weather.

The early muzzleloader season runs from Oct. 17-19 statewide. Hunters in Region B (the state’s central, southern, and eastern regions) can also use muzzleloaders from Oct. 21-26 for antlerless deer only. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Oct. 12-13, 2019

Fall Foliage Report

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Oct. 12 and 13, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 9

Photo of girl holding a northern snakehead

Sarah Chlebnikow is all smiles after catching her first northern snakehead. Photo by Barry Browning

Pleasant daytime temperatures make ideal conditions for taking our younger fishermen out for some family fun close to home. Community ponds usually offer plenty of freshwater species such as bluegill sunfish. The fall trout stocking program is underway and community ponds are one of the many places fish will be stocked near your home. Northern snakeheads offer some exciting fishing this time of the year as they have moved out into more open waters, and a simple bobber with a minnow offer plenty of fishing fun for our younger anglers.

Read more…


Fort Frederick State Park to Host “For the Defence of this Province” Program 

Everyone Can Join the Action Oct 12-13

Photo of Battle ReenactmentFort Frederick State Park welcomes visitors this weekend to experience military life during the French and Indian War with the men and women of the Maryland Provincial Companies of Foot.

Highlights of the event include cannon firing demonstrations, musket firing presentations, hearth cooking, military drills, and a special children’s drill demonstrating an 18th century military exercise. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.   Read more…


Maryland Reminds Motorists to Stay Alert for Deer

Wildlife Activity Ramps up for Fall

Photo of two young bucks sparring in a field

Photo by Penny Ingles

Fall means cool weather and colorful foliage. It can also mean unpredictable wildlife. Deer mating season is right around the corner, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges motorists to stay alert for deer and other wildlife as these animals seek food supplies and mates before winter. Read more…


Managed Goose and Waterfowl Hunts Held in Garrett County

 Hunters Can Apply for Opportunities in Late November

Photo of Canada gees in flightThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources presents opportunities for Canada goose hunting on Deep Creek Lake and waterfowl hunting at Broadford Lake, both in Garrett County, on Nov. 25, 26, and 27.

Hunters can participate in these hunts by permit and reservation only, during select days of the season. Applications are available for individuals to hunt one of three blind sites on Deep Creek Lake and one of four blind sites on Broadford Lake.  Read more…


Secretary’s Message: October 2019

Taking The Lead on Protecting Our Natural Resources

Photo of Superintendent Col. Adrian Baker and Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio at Col. Baker's swearing-in ceremonyI recently had the honor of swearing in Colonel G. Adrian Baker as the new Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Colonel Baker has an impressive track record and a wealth of relevant experience – both of which will serve the department and Maryland well.

The Natural Resources Police unit has an important and unique mission – patrolling our state lands and waterways, enforcing hunting, boating, fishing, and outdoor recreation regulations, maritime security and educating the public about outdoor and boating safety.  Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report Oct. 5-6, 2019

Fall Foliage and Festivals

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Oct. 5 and 6, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

True fall weather is on the way! Garrett County is anticipating nighttime temperatures dipping into the 3os this weekend, reports Melissa Nash, forester and project manager. With the change in temperature comes the beginning of peak season in parts of Maryland.

“Cool nights and sunny days typically bring out the best color,“ Nash explains. “Some areas of Garrett County, especially around Meadow Mountain (near the Eastern Continental Divide), are expected to peak within the next couple of days.” She reports vibrant yellows to oranges and reds on maple, and yellow color on birch and hickory as most notable. Oaks should begin to change soon with white oak producing deep reds to purplish tones and red oaks golden brown.
Read more…


September Hypoxia Report

Map of Chesapeake Bay dissolved oxygen results from September 2019Maryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were higher than average in September. The hypoxic water volume — waters with less than 2 mg/l oxygen — was 0.73 cubic miles in September, down from the 1.06 cubic miles seen in late August, but greater than the historical 0.41 cubic mile average for September. No anoxia — waters with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen — was detected. This ranked as the fifth-largest Maryland September hypoxia volume since monitoring began in 1985.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Oct. 2

Photo of man with large red drum he caught and released

The catch-and release fishery for red drum is particularly exciting as evidenced by that big smile on Tim Campbell’s face before he slips this beautiful fish back into the Bay. Photo courtesy of Tim Campbell

As we transition to October, summer-type weather has continued to hold on and everyone would agree we could use some rain. Fishing conditions are very good in most areas and the Chesapeake Bay could hardly be better with an abundance of Spanish mackerel, and red drum to please any angler.

Read more…


Tree-Mendous Maryland Orders Being Accepted

New High-Quality, Native Shrubs and Trees Available

Potted Young TreesThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources aims to expand tree cover on public lands across the state, offering affordable and attractive trees for planting on community lands and open space through its Tree-Mendous Maryland program. New this year, the department is offering high quality, native shrubs and trees, which are grown and provided by American Native Plants in Baltimore County.

“Autumn is a great time to plant native species because shrubbery and trees can survive and thrive over the winter months,” Maryland Forest Service Director Don VanHassent said. “There is certainly affordable, attractive, and beneficial greenery for every public property and space among our diverse and robust offerings.”

Church, civic, community, and school groups; homeowners associations; local governments; nonprofits; and others are eligible to purchase plantings from the Tree-Mendous program, as long as the shrubs and trees are planted on community and public land with prior approval from the landowner. Order today! Read more…


Applications Open for 2020 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants

$200,000 Available for Community Beautification, Greening, and Environmental Initiatives

Photo of group planting trees

Volunteers gather to plant trees, during a Healthy Harbor Initiative event organized by Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, a 2018 Clean Up & Green Up grant recipient.

The Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is now accepting applications for the 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. 14, 2019. Awards will be announced in spring 2020.
Read more…


Input Sought for Second Year of State Lakes Fund

Public Meetings Held in October

Photo of lake at New Germany State ParkThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host four open house events to solicit public input regarding the development of a work plan for the second phase 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.

At the open house events in October, the department will report on projects underway in year one and accept input toward developing a budget for best use of funds in coordination with local governments, organizations, and citizens.

The funds can be used for removing sediment, treating contaminated sediment, preventing the spread of invasive species, improving the ecological and recreational value, and any other action the department deems necessary at any or all of 16 lakes throughout Maryland.
Read more…


Soldiers Timeline Weekend at Point Lookout

Living History Program Oct. 5-6

Photo of living historians in Civil War era uniformsPoint Lookout State Park invites visitors to its annual “Soldiers Timeline Weekend” event Oct. 5-6, highlighting the site’s long history of defending Maryland and the entire country during wartime. Read more…


Drought Conditions Bring Heightened Risk of Wildfire

Marylanders Urged to Take Extra Precautions

Photo of forest fire in MarylandThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources warns residents and visitors that potential for wildfires has steadily increased in the past several weeks due to a lack of rain and unseasonably high temperatures. 

While open-air burning is legal in parts of Maryland, the department strongly encourages homeowners to refrain from outdoor burning until the state receives significant steady rainfall of one inch or more. Open-air burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Maryland.  Read more…


Maryland Forest Service Seeks Black Walnuts

Collection Sites in Frederick and Washington Counties Open Until Oct. 26

Photo of entrance to Gambrill State ParkMarylanders with black walnut trees on their property are asked to donate extra walnuts to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The Maryland Forest Service will use the walnuts to grow and plant trees along creeks, rivers, and streams as part of state’s tree planting program, aimed at enhancing habitat and water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Citizens can drop off walnuts – in bags, boxes, or containers – at either Gambrill State Park in Frederick County or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Washington County. Anyone with questions should contact those locations directly. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Sept. 28-29, 2019

Fall Foliage and Festivals - Sept 28-29, 2019

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Sept. 28 and 29, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

“As we officially welcome fall this week, the cool nights and sunny days are making for a beautiful start to a colorful display in Garrett County,” reports Melissa Nash, Garrett County forest project manager.  “Some areas, especially the ridge tops, are reaching the mid-point this week. Peak should be expected in 1-2 weeks for most of the county.” Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Sept. 25

Photo of two men as they hold up a pair of red drum.

Travis Long and Justin Beam quickly hold up a pair of huge red drum before slipping them back into the bay. Photo courtesy of Travis Long

As summer slips into history and we step into fall, there is a lot of exciting fishing in Maryland. Trout fishermen are getting ready for the fall stocking program that begins in October. The Chesapeake Bay is teeming with Spanish mackerel and behemoth red drum, providing some amazing catch-and-release fishing.

Read more…


Unique Urban Farm Property in Montgomery County Protected

Conservation Easement Preserves Green Space

Photo of herb garden in downtown Silver SpringMaryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, partnered with the Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming Inc. to complete a conservation easement protecting green space in downtown Silver Spring. The one-acre property is home to Koiner Farm, an urban agricultural and educational enterprise. 

Maryland Environmental Trust holds the property along with the land trust CKC Farming, conceived by Lynn Koiner, whose father Charles owned and operated the property for 40 years until his death in January. The active farm grows and sells produce, and also provides agricultural education opportunities for the next generation of sustainable food innovators. Read more…


Monarchs and Milkweed at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary

Monarch Butterfly Festival in Prince George’s County

Photo of Monarch ButterflyThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary to celebrate the fall migration of the monarch butterfly on Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults and kids of all ages are encouraged to take part in a variety of activities, including tagging and releasing monarchs, a Scales & Tales display, hayrides, guided hikes, face painting, and crafts.  Read more…


Point Lookout Offers View to Civil War History

‘Artillery Weekend’ Highlights Wartime Roles

Aerial Photo of Point Lookout History buffs of all ages are invited to the annual Civil War Artillery Weekend event Sept. 28-29 at Point Lookout State Park. Programs run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Point Lookout is a peninsula in St. Mary’s County where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and the viewpoint from this strategic location made it a pivotal place during the Civil War. In the early 1860s, the site housed a Union military fort, Hammond General Hospital, and Camp Hoffman, where Confederate prisoners of war were held. Read more…


Maryland Hunter Safety Education Class Offered

Three-Day Course Held in Garrett County                                                

Teaching Hunter Safety

Skilled hunter teaches hunter safety to young boy.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will offer a Hunter Safety Education Class on Oct. 1, 2, and 5 at Herrington Manor State Park, Oakland. Classes on Oct. 1-2 will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Oct. 5 class runs from  9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each class is limited to 30 students.  Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Sept. 21-22, 2019

Fall Foliage

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the last weekend of summer, Sept. 21 and 22, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Having melted down almost daily through a typically hot and humid — and exceptionally wet — Maryland summer, you just might be looking forward to the official astronomical start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere: the autumnal, or fall, equinox (also called the September equinox). Early Monday morning — 3:50 a.m. in Annapolis — the sun will rise precisely due east and later will set precisely due west with the length of day and night almost equal. This is also the best time to view Mars as the planet will be at its brightest. Join the Westminster Astronomy Club at Cunningham Falls State Park Saturday night to see the stars

Sign up to receive weekly reports showcasing the Old Line State’s vibrant fall foliage and the best autumn festivals at dnr.maryland.gov.

Read more…


Mentored Pheasant Hunts Offered Nov. 23-24 in Garrett County

Opportunity for New and Lapsed Hunters

Photo of group at mentored hunt in Garrett CountyThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites all junior license holders, apprentice license holders, and lapsed hunters to apply to participate in a mentored pheasant hunt Nov. 23-24 at Wild Wings Hunting Preserve, located in Friendsville. 

Participants will enjoy a day at Wild Wings that will include a hunter safety review, sporting clays, ammunition, a mentor with a hunting dog, and lunch.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Sept. 18

Photo of Two boys with their crab traps

Photo by Jim Livingston

The change of seasons is always a push-and-pull affair – recently it seemed that summer was just not ready to let go. This is a wonderful time of the year to still enjoy the outdoor activities Maryland’s warm weather affords, and is perhaps the best time of the year to enjoy large and heavy crabs as they fatten up for a winter’s rest — don’t miss it.

Read more…


Stocked Pheasant Hunts Held in Six Counties Across Maryland

Eligible Hunters Can Apply Until Oct. 18

Photo of pheasantThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites junior, apprentice, and lapsed hunters to apply to participate in this year’s stocked pheasant hunts, which take place November 23-24.

These do-it-yourself hunts will take place on nine wildlife management areas across the state and two state forests in western Maryland. This is the second year the department is stocking pheasants. Read more…


Maryland Oyster Season Dates, Limits Set for 2019-2020

DNR Begins Implementation of the Maryland Oyster Management Plan

Photo of oysters on iceThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has issued season limits for the 2019-2020 oyster harvesting season. Effective immediately, the 2019-20 season will begin October 1, 2019 with no commercial harvesting on Wednesdays, and temporary closures to wild harvesting in certain areas where there is a low abundance of oysters, low natural spat set or where spat-on-shell plantings are being protected, including some areas north of the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge. Additionally, the recreational harvest will be limited to three days a week (Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only) with no harvesting after noon and a 50 percent reduction in harvest limits. Details are issued by public notice and are available on the department’s website under “Shellfish Closures/Openings.” Read more…


Revised Chesapeake Lands Hunting Lease Plan Open for Comment

Public Meeting Scheduled in Salisbury Sept. 24

Aerial photo of Chesapeake Forest LandsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has developed a new, revised proposal for administering hunting leases on Chesapeake Forest Lands. A copy of the new revised proposal and place for comment is available on the department’s website.

Additionally the department is hosting a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 24, in Salisbury at Wor-Wic Community College, Guerrieri Hall, Room 101. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions and accept written comments.  Read more…


Additional Wildlife Management Areas Now Open for Hunting

New Public Opportunities in Charles and Queen Anne’s Counties 

Photo hunting sign at wildlife management areaThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce two new public hunting opportunities in state wildlife management areas. Browns Branch Wildlife Management Area in Queen Anne’s County and Popes Creek Wildlife Management area in Charles County are now open to regulated hunting and trapping.  Read more…


2019 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Fan Favorite Winner to be Chosen on Facebook

Papilio glaucus, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Head by David Illig

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the winners of the 2019 Natural Resources Photo Contest, with the grand prize going to David Illig of Gambrills for his stunning close-up shot of an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly. Read more…


Late August 2019 Hypoxia Report

Image of Late August 2019 Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen monitoring mapMaryland Department of Natural Resources monitoring data show that dissolved oxygen conditions in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay mainstem were near average in late August. This is a significant improvement from hypoxia results observed earlier this summer. The hypoxic water volume (waters with less than 2 mg/l oxygen) was 1.06 cubic miles in late August, down from the 1.77 cubic miles seen in early August. A small volume (0.006 cubic miles) of anoxia (waters with less than 0.2 mg/l oxygen) was detected. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report – Sept. 14-15, 2019

Fall Foliage and Festival Report

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for Sept. 14 and 15, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Soon the landscape will explode with vibrant colors of orange, red and yellow. Kids will be jumping into newly raked piles of leaves and we’ll all “fall” back to Eastern Standard Time and grab that extra bit of sleep. Although Autumn 2019 will not officially arrive until the early morning of Sept. 23, the full moon that falls nearest to the Fall Equinox, the Harvest Moon, is scheduled for its annual appearance on Saturday evening. Sometimes called the Full Corn Moon, it is so bright farmers could work by the light of it. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 11

Photo of Man holding a large Spanish Mackerel

Photo by Captain “walleye” Pete Dahlberg

September is an exciting month for those who love the outdoors and fishing is usually at the top of the list. Mild late summer weather is providing exciting fishing opportunities across the Maryland landscape from the western mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. In the Chesapeake Bay, we have relatively warm water, higher salinities, and a very strong run of Spanish mackerel which is delighting those who are able to get out and fish for them.

Read more…


2019-20 Trapping Bid Packets Available for the Lower Eastern Shore

Annual Privileges at State-Owned Properties

Photo of Muskrat den at Taylors Island Wildlife Management Area

Muskrat den at Taylors Island Wildlife Management Area

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting bids for the 2019-2020 trapping season at several Eastern Shore public lands. Individuals with the highest bid for each area will be awarded annual trapping privileges. Locations and bidding dates are as follows:

For Cedar Island, Deal Island, E. A. Vaughn, Fairmount, Isle of Wight, Johnson, Maryland Marine Properties, Pocomoke River, Pocomoke Sound, South Marsh Island, and Wellington wildlife management areas, along with Janes Island State Park, bid packages must be picked up and submitted by noon on Oct. 15 at the Wellington Wildlife Management Area, 32733 Dublin Road, Princess Anne. Sealed bids will be opened at 1 p.m. on Oct. 15. More information for these locations is available by calling 410-543-8223 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Read more…


Fall Trout Stocking Begins in October

Anglers Can Sign Up For Notifications 

Photo of rainbow trout in the waterThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will stock thousands of brown, golden, and rainbow trout in several creeks, lakes, and rivers starting in early October. The majority of this year’s trout stocking come from the department’s Albert Powell Hatchery near Hagerstown. 

Throughout the summer, staff have been looking after thousands of trout ranging in size from one-half pound to one pound. However, several trophy-sized spring “holdovers” in the three-pound range will also be stocked.  Read more…


Early Teal Season Opens Sept. 16

Special Season Provides Additional Waterfowl Opportunity

Green-Winged Teal

Photo by Alan D. Wilson

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the September teal-only hunting season will be open from Sept. 16 through Sept. 30. Shooting hours are one half-hour before sunrise to 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.

Seasons and bag limits for all other migratory game birds can be found in the 2019-20 Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping. Read more…


Maryland Wildfire Crew Deployed to Northern California

First Out-of-State Deployment of the Season

Photo of wildlands firefighting crew at Madonna Ranger StationMaryland has assembled and mobilized a crew of wildland firefighters to help battle ongoing wildfires in northern California as part of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. It’s the first out-of-state deployment for a Maryland crew this season.

The 20-person crew assembled this weekend at the Madonna Ranger Station in Harford County and is departing from Harrisburg, Pa. today along with four other crews from the Mid-Atlantic region. The crews will receive their assignments upon arrival at a staging area in Redding, Calif. Read more…


Elk Neck State Forest Shooting Range Reopens

Critical Maintenance Completed for Sept. 6 Opening

Photo of renovated shooting pavilion at Elk Neck State ForestThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce the rifle and shotgun ranges at Elk Neck State Forest in Cecil County reopens at 9 a.m. Sept. 6, following completion of a critical maintenance project this summer. 

During the six-week project, the department’s contractor enhanced numerous safety and comfort features. Upgrades include a new concrete slab with new pavilion posts aligned with the shooting range baffles. The contractor also constructed and installed new shooting stations, lane partitions, and pavilion back rests.  Read more…


Various Events Commemorate Battle of South Mountain

The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Lives Again This Weekend

Visitors to South Mountain State Battlefield can help commemorate the 157th anniversary of the Civil War battle that occurred there, with a series of battlefield hikes, tours, and living-history events Sept. 7-8. 

On both days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests can experience “Fury at Fox’s Gap,” where interpreters, representing both Union and Confederate regiments who fought in the Battle of South Mountain at Fox’s Gap, will be onsite near the Reno Monument. They will conduct infantry drill and firing demonstrations and highlight soldiers accounts of the battle. 
Read more…


Department Receives Federal Funding for Atlantic Sturgeon Research

Prehistoric Fish Once Thought Gone from Maryland

Photo of Atlantic sturgeon

Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been awarded more than $700,000 in federal funding to study and monitor the endangered Atlantic sturgeon. The money will be used over three years to continue the department’s tagging and tracking of fall spawning Atlantic sturgeon in the Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek.

Until recently, Maryland’s Atlantic sturgeon population was believed to have been decimated. In 2014, biologists discovered a fall spawning adult sturgeon population in the Nanticoke River, making an appearance for the first time in 40 years. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: September 2019

September is a Great Time to Enjoy Nature and to Give Back

Photo of Secretary Haddaway-Riccio at Wolf Den Run State ParkFall is one of my favorite seasons, so while I am sad to see summer coming to an end, I am also looking forward to cooler weather and changing leaves. Autumn is a great time of year to experience outdoor recreation in Maryland; and there are many great events planned for the month of September that are the perfect excuse to get outside and assist us with our mission, starting with Day to Serve.

Governor Larry Hogan recently issued a proclamation declaring September 11 through October 10, 2019 as “Day to Serve” month in Maryland. As part of the announcement, Governor Hogan is encouraging all Maryland citizens and state employees to choose a day to participate in a volunteer activity. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – September 4

Photo of Spanish mackeral

Marty Zupancic decided to show us the toothy face of a Spanish mackerel he caught recently. Photo by Marty Zupancic

Now that Labor Day activities are behind us, anglers can focus on fishing more with family and friends. Cooler weather will begin to show its face and Maryland waters will begin to shake off the summer heat. Fishing for Spanish mackerel has been very popular in the bay.

Read more…


Take a Tour of “America in Miniature”

Photo of Lieutenant Governor Rutherford and park ranger in front of rock formation

Admiring the geology of Cunningham Falls State Park; by Joe Andrucyk

If you look at a map of the United States, Maryland appears small—so small that depending on the map, you may hardly be able to see it at all.

But when you’re here, the land of the Free State is actually quite expansive and diverse. In the 1970s, National Geographic dubbed Maryland, “America in Miniature,” due to the fact that nearly every kind of terrain can be found here – from the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the expansive marshes of the Chesapeake Bay, to vast acres of farmland and the rocky Appalachian mountains. In between, you’ll find the beautiful rolling hills of Maryland’s horse country, the spectacular sight of massive sunflower fields, and miles upon miles of water trails to travel by kayak or canoe, just like those who came before us. Read more…


Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future: Program Open Space Continues Maryland’s Tradition of Conservation

Aerial photo of agricultural landscape

Aerial photo of Piney Run Rural Legacy Area; department photo

Four centuries ago, Captain John Smith discovered the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding region of thick forests, fertile valleys, serene rivers, rolling mountains, lush marshes and sandy beaches. Smith’s view of this “delightsome land” has since been transformed by four centuries of growth and development. Read more…


Timeline: Our Story Begins

The units that make up today’s Department of Natural Resources mostly date back farther than 1969, many having gone through numerous names and structural changes before and even after becoming part of the department.

50th anniversary iconThe earliest version of what is now a Department of Natural Resources function is the Maryland Geological Survey, which originated with a brief tenure from 1834-41 and resumed activity in 1896.

The oldest continuing unit is the Maryland Natural Resources Police, which was organized as the State Oyster Police force in 1868. Read more…


Back from the Brink: Once Almost Extinct in Maryland, Three Species Survive!

Photo of otter

River otter, by Maureen Lemire

In terms of wildlife, with many species predating the time humans arrived on the scene, 50 years may not seem like a long time.

But as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources celebrates our 50th anniversary this year, we can look back on the Maryland of 1969 and see that significant changes took place.

The year of our founding was a simpler time, but also a challenging time for wildlife species – one in which there were no river otters in western Maryland, wild turkeys were reduced to a fraction of their original numbers statewide and Maryland black bears were merely a tall tale. But through a lot of hard work and dedication, we’re happy to report that these species now star in some of Maryland’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories. Read more…


From the Field: Biologist Brooke Landry

Brooke Landry

Brooke Landry’s passion for biology started early. “I was a little science geek,” she laughs.

Her interest in underwater grasses really picked up as she snorkeled around coral reefs and beds of seagrass on a middle school class trip to Belize. A few undergrad summers spent studying salt marshes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore immersed her in the wonders of bay life, and she went on to specialize in coastal habitats for her University of Virginia environmental science degree. Landry then worked on a long-term habitat assessment project off the southern tip of Florida during her graduate studies.

Now, having returned to her Chesapeake Bay roots as an underwater grasses biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, she focuses on the health of the bay’s submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and chairs the Chesapeake Bay Program’s SAV Workgroup. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioFifty years ago, Governor Marvin Mandel replaced the former Board of Natural Resources with the cabinet-level Department of Natural Resources and our operations began. As we celebrate this milestone, DNR is proud of the fact that our work is making a difference in every county and community across Maryland. Read more…


Ask an Expert: Earthquakes in Maryland

McHenry Seismometer

Maryland Geological Survey staff members install a seismometer on the McHenry campus in Garrett County in June 2018. The state-of -the-art sensor uses a suspended weight to detect vibrations in the Earth and feeds the signal into a nationwide monitoring system. Photo by Rebecca Adams.

It seems like a lot of earthquakes have been in the news in recent years. How often does Maryland have earthquakes and why do they happen here?
(Lourdes in Baltimore City)
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The Nature of Change

Governor Larry Hogan

Maryland has changed quite a bit in the past 50 years, but one thing has remained the same: the dedication and hard work of the employees of the Department of Natural Resources.

Since its official founding on July 1, 1969, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has conserved, protected and restored the critical areas of our state, including our forests, fish, parks, waters and wildlife. Read more…


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