Skip to Main Content

Natural Resources News

Art and Science to Support the Chesapeake Bay: The New Bay License Plate Design

Photo of bay license plate

Chesapeake Bay license plate; by Chesapeake Bay Trust

Marylanders and visitors to our state have many ways to support the natural resources they enjoy. One of the most well-known recently went through a change—the Chesapeake Bay license plate. Read more…


Hugging the Shore: A Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Bay’s State Parks

Photo of river from kayak

Kayak view; by Melissa Boyle Acuti

Warmer weather is on the way, and it’s a great time to get out and explore Maryland by kayak, canoe or paddleboard. Maryland’s public lands and waters provide some of the best paddling opportunities on the eastern seaboard. Here are some of the top spots in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Read more…


From the Field: Fisheries Biologist Beth Versak

photo of fisheries biologist

Beth Versak

Growing up around water in Anne Arundel County, Beth Versak got hooked on aquatic life early.

“When I was six, I said to my dad I wanted to go fishing, and so he took me,” Versak says. She never looked back, developing an interest in biology, and she has now spent most of her career studying the state’s iconic finfish —striped bass. Read more…


2019 Arbor Day Poster Contest: Trees are Terrific… and Forests Are Too!

Photo of Arbor Day artwork

First place winner: Lydia Secrist, Garrett County

Every year the Maryland Forest Service, in partnership with the Maryland Forest Conservancy District Boards, sponsors a Poster Contest for fifth grade classes throughout Maryland. The theme this year was “Trees Are Terrific…and Forests Are Too!” Read more…


Mr. Evart’s Mountain: Retracing the Steps of Allegany County’s Loneliest Settler

Photo of Evitt's Mountain and Lake Habeeb

Evitt’s Mountain; by Richard Dos Santos

There’s not a lot left at Evart’s homesite, at the top of the mountain that bears the same name: scattered bits of foundation, a cluster of apple trees, an old stone well choked with blueberry bushes. But the things that drew Jacob Evart to the wilderness in the first place—the quiet, the solitude—endure. Up here, with only the birds and the clouds as companions, Evart lived a hermit’s life, removed from society and far from the woman who broke his heart. Read more…


Transforming with Trees: 15 Years of Monitoring Streamside Buffers

Photo of riparian buffer planting

Riparian buffer planting; staff photo

All over Maryland, streams have been transformed by trees and other plants that have grown up around their channels. Trees are the natural building blocks of healthy streams, gradually forming more sheltered environments in channels previously open to trampling from cattle and muddied by fields cropped up to banks. The benefits of forest buffers continue to grow over time, making buffers a cost-effective practice that supports sustainable agriculture over the long term.

For more than 15 years, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service has studied the effects of planting and maintaining forests alongside Maryland’s streams and rivers. Also known as riparian forest buffers, these forested areas are considered the last defense for water-ways against the harmful effects of pollution and erosion. Read more…


Recipe: Grilled Duck Breasts with Red Currant Sauce

Photo of grilled duck breasts

Grilled duck breasts; by Stephen Badger

This recipe comes to us from Vicky Mullaney, author of “The Lodge at Black Pearl Cookbook.” Mullaney is a celebrated collaborator with the department’s Becoming An Outdoors-Woman program—eagerly sharing her passion for the sporting life and her field and stream to table sensibilities. Read more…


Ask an Expert: Spring 2019

Distinguishing between invasive and non-native species; keeping our Eyes on the Bay. Read more…


Outside Perspective

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-RiccioAs a native of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, stewardship of our natural resources has always been of personal importance to me. That is why it is such an honor and privilege to address you as Maryland’s 11th secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. I am very grateful for Governor Hogan’s confidence in me and I am very appreciative of the warm welcome I have received from stakeholders across the state. Read more…


Forest Action Plan Public Listening Sessions Scheduled in May

Six Events Held in Every Region of State

Photo of Green Ridge State ForestThe Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology of the University of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host six public listening sessions in May to aid in the development of Maryland Forest Service’s 2020 Forest Action Plan.

The plan assesses the current state of the forest resources and lays out the strategy for addressing forestry priorities in the state. These listening sessions will allow stakeholders to provide feedback on how the plan should be structured and what it should include.

Sessions are held in every region of the state, with identical information presented at each event. Read more…


Maryland Battles Northern Snakehead with Information

Expanded Outreach to Help Anglers Target Invasive Predator

Photo of man holding a huge northern snakehead he caught.

Andy Fox holds the Maryland state record with a 19.9-pound northern snakehead caught in Charles County in May 2018.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is increasing its efforts to educate the public about the northern snakehead, an invasive fish found throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The department has introduced several informational videos, supplemental fact sheets and an updated webpage.

Northern snakeheads were first observed in Maryland waters in 2002, and the species gained a foothold in tidal waters. Since then it has spread to every major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay — as have stories about the species that aren’t always accurate.

The department relies heavily on conservation-minded anglers, armed with correct information,  to help address the problem. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 24

Three-year-old Benjamin Hudak proudly holds up his first fish

Three-year-old Benjamin Hudak proudly holds up his first fish, caught it at the youth-only fishing area at Carroll Creek in Frederick. Photo by Brandon Hudak

There are a lot of exciting fishing opportunities in Maryland and perhaps one most dear to any parent is helping a son or daughter catch their first fish. Our hatchery and trout stocking crews work hard to provide wonderful trout fishing for everyone. There are special areas spread around the state that are stocked with trout and set aside just for our younger anglers.

The much anticipated opening day of the 2019 spring trophy striped bass season has come and gone without much fanfare, and now fishermen can settle down and wait for the post-spawn striped bass to exit the spawning rivers in the next couple of weeks.

If you’re catching and releasing your striped bass, be sure to follow measures for helping protect the population.

Read more…


Rural Legacy Program Reaches Milestone

100,000 Acres Conserved Over 20 Years

Photo of Board of Public Works meeting in Governor's officeWith the Board of Public Works’ approval of five new conservation easements, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has now conserved more than 100,000 acres of land throughout the state.

In presenting the properties for approval, Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio observed that this year marks the 20th Anniversary of Maryland’s first Rural Legacy Program acquisition.

“We have successfully worked with local partners, farmers and other landowners to conserve and maintain the rural character of our state for future generations,” Secretary Riccio said. “And with your approval of the items on our real property agenda today, which includes five Rural Legacy projects totaling 795 acres, we will exceed 100,000 acres protected under this incredible state program.” Read more…


State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund Projects Identified

First Year of $3 Million Fund Will Address All State-Owned Lakes

Photo of Deep Creek Lake, with Maryland Department of Natural Resources research boat taking biological samples

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists conduct sampling at Deep Creek Lake, Garrett County.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will undertake restoration projects at lakes throughout Maryland under the new State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund, which provides $1 million for each of the next three years to improve state-owned lakes.

Governor Hogan approved the total $3 million fund in May 2018, and the department was tasked with determining priorities and a work plan for the funding. Five public open houses were held around the state in the fall of 2018 to solicit project ideas, and the department’s lake managers also helped identify the most pressing needs to protect and restore the water bodies under their care.

“The input we received from local governments, organizations and citizens was very valuable to the department as we made decisions about  the first year of funding,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “We are pleased to announce maintenance and restoration projects at all 16 state-owned lakes.”

Each of the lakes will benefit from at least one project. Deep Creek Lake, the largest state-owned lake and the economic driver for Garrett County, will receive approximately $420,000 divided between three projects. At least 41 projects will be funded statewide.

The funds will be used to remove sediment, treat contaminated sediment, prevent the spread of invasive species, improve ecological and recreational value and any other action the department deems necessary.


Native Animal Profile: Baltimore Oriole

Photo of a male Baltimore oriole

A male Baltimore Oriole inspects a tent caterpillar web; by Bonnie Ott

With striking orange and black plumage, it is no wonder why the Baltimore Oriole was selected as Maryland’s state bird. The male’s colors resemble the coat of arms for Sir George Calvert, First Lord of Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized birds. Male Baltimore Orioles are flame orange and black with a solid black head and orange sides, with orange in the tail. Females and immature Baltimore Orioles are brown above and burnt orange below with two white wing bars. Many adult females have traces of black on their head, suggesting the hood of a male. Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Photo of spicebush

Spicebush; by Bill Hubick

I vividly remember my first experience with spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in undergrad. My professor broke one of the twigs and had us breathe in the lemony aroma. I was amazed at the spicy, citrus smell that emanated from the broken twig. I later learned this aromatic scent was a deterrent for potential herbivores.

Spicebush is a medium-sized, native shrub in the laurel family (Lauraceae). It has a rounded habit and grows up to 15 feet. Spicebush can tolerate dry to wet soils and prefers to grow in part to full shade. It can be found in every county in Maryland, but it grows best in basic soils. Read more…


Books for Backyard Wildlife Habitat Gardeners

Image of books about gardeningHere is a confession: I love books! I’ve always been a bookworm and I often bring books as reference materials to my presentations for fellow book lovers. So, if you are like me and are interested in adding to your backyard book collection, below are a few of my recommendations. Read more…


Rethinking Spring with Native Plants

Photo of spring beauty and ant

Spring beauty; by Kerry Wixted

This winter felt like it was almost endless. When the crocuses finally popped in my yard, I was ecstatic. For me, crocuses and daffodils have always been harbingers of spring, but these non-native plants in our landscapes offer little benefit for our native wildlife. There are many native plants, however, which co-evolved with our local wildlife. Below is a list of some early blooming plants that can be used to provide spring nectar and pollen resources.

Read more…


Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons Proposed

Public Input Complete, Federal Approval is Final Step

Photo of Canada geese landing in waterAfter receiving and reviewing public input, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has selected the 2019 – 2020 migratory game bird hunting seasons. These recommendations are now awaiting final approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In addition to close consultation with Governor Hogan’s Wildlife Advisory Commission and the Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee, the department conducted an extensive public outreach effort to develop and propose the 2019-20 migratory game bird hunting season package. Read more…


Patapsco Valley State Park Hosts Family Fun Day

Annual Event Highlights Volunteerism and Stewardship

Flyer for Patapsco Valley State Park Family Fun DayThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to Patapsco Valley State Park for Family Fun Day on April 28, a free annual event that encourages a love for the outdoors, along with volunteering and stewardship of our state’s public lands. The event takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the park’s Hilton Area.

Guest can enjoy games, horses, hikes, ice cream, live music, nature programs and other fun-filled activities as they learn about volunteer activities at Maryland state parks and partner organizations. Read more…


Somerset County Celebrating Arbor Day

Students to Join State, County Officials for Tree-Planting

Photo of youth planting treesSomerset County government, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold its first Arbor Day celebration with a tree planting event on April 24. The event begins at 10 a.m. next to the Board of Education Building, 7982A Tawes Campus Drive, Westover.

Local and state officials will join school students to plant more than 10 container-sized trees on the grounds. Trees are being supplied by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ TreeMendous Maryland and Gift of Trees programs. A second planting will also take place later in spring on the property, with the county planting 12.6 acres of seedlings for forest conservation mitigation.                Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 17

Photo of man holding up a striped bass he caught.

Matt Beam holds up a striped bass caught this past weekend during the catch-and-release season. Photo by Travis Long

Saturday, April 20, marks the much-anticipated opening day of the 2019 trophy striped bass season. Captains and crews have been working overtime getting their boats ready for this weekend, from the largest charter boats to private boats parked on trailers in driveways. Good luck to all but be patient — many post-spawn striped bass are still making the journey downriver from their spawning sites.

Read more…


Fort Frederick State Park Hosts Annual Market Fair

Eighteenth Century Comes Alive April 25-28

Photo of sutler and customers at Fort Frederick Market FairHistory buffs of all ages are invited to experience an authentic colonial market fair at Fort Frederick State Park April 25-28. The annual Fort Frederick Market Fair features top artisans, craftspeople, entertainers and sutlers together with an 18th century military encampment alongside the park’s historic 1756 stone fort. Read more…


Maryland Striped Bass Trophy Season Opens April 20

Annual Rite of Spring Lasts Through May 15 in Most Areas

Photo of striped bass being caught

Photo: “Rockfishing” by Roy Julie

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the state’s trophy striped bass season will begin April 20 and last through May 15.  

Anglers may catch one striped bass per day, with a minimum size of 35 inches, in the Chesapeake Bay from Brewerton Channel to the Virginia state line.   Read more…


Queen Anne’s County Residents Can Get Free Trees

Partners to Provide Free Seedlings April 23-26

Photo of White oak seedlings at the state nursery

White oak seedlings at the state nursery

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Queen Anne’s County Forestry Board will hold their annual tree seedling giveaway program the week of April 22. These seedlings are available to the citizens of Queen Anne’s County as an educational effort promoting the planting of trees, in celebration of national Arbor Day on April 25. Read more…


Maryland Releases Draft Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan

Public invited to comment on draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan

Photo of Chesapeake Bay at sunrise

Photo by James Phelps

A draft plan for continued progress in restoring Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay is now available for public review and comment.

The draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan represents the next step in Maryland meeting its commitments as part of a multi-state bay restoration effort. Maryland developed the draft plan to meet targets by 2025 using a locally driven, stakeholder process to identify achievable pollution reduction strategies that balance responsibilities across wastewater treatment plants, urban stormwater runoff, septic systems and farms. Read more…


Kent County Arbor Day Celebration Set for April 23

Partners to Name Poster Contest Winners, Provide Free Seedlings

Photo of budding red bud trees.

Photo: “Budding Red Bud” by Ashley Stubbs

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is partnering with Kent County Commissioners and the Kent County Forest Board for the annual Arbor Day celebration, at 1:15 p.m. April 23 in the Kent County Courthouse Courtyard, 103 N. Cross St., Chestertown.

As part of the event, partners will celebrate Chestertown’s 38th anniversary as a Tree City USA participant and announce the winners of the county’s 2019 Arbor Day Poster Contest. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 10

Photo of boy holding trout

Five year old Emmett Jackson got to go trout fishing on the Patapsco River with his older brother Hunter and dad recently. Emmitt proudly holds up some of the trout he caught. Photo by John Jackson

The generous stocking of trout by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hatchery program has brought countless smiles to the faces of trout fishermen, young and old. These fish are being stocked in waters near you.

Read more…


Maryland Environmental Trust Hosts Annual Conference and Symposium

Regular Registration Ends April 22

Logo for Annual MET ConferenceThe  2019 Maryland Land Conservation Conference will be held May 16-17 at the Maritime Conference Center, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum. This annual event brings together land trusts, conservancies, local and state government agencies, heritage organizations, members of the agricultural community and other partners for a comprehensive discussion about the future of land conservation in our region. Read more…


Statewide Spring Turkey Season Set to Open

Youth Hunters Get First Opportunity This Weekend

Photo of two male turkeys by Maureen Koncen

Photo by Maureen Koncen

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the statewide spring turkey season will kick off Saturday, April 13 with Junior Turkey Hunt Day. All hunters can try to bag a bird during the regular statewide spring turkey season, April 18-May 23.

For the first part of the regular hunting season, April 18-May 9, hunting is allowed from one half-hour before sunrise until noon. Throughout the rest of the season, May 10-23, hunting hours are one half-hour before sunrise until sunset. Read more…


Free Trees for Somerset and Worcester County Backyard Buffers

Order Deadline is April 26

Photo of colorful trees in Pocomoke RiverThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners in Somerset and Worcester counties who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks.

Each bag contains approximately 25 native bare-root tree and shrub seedlings, including bald cypress, river birch, serviceberry, spicebush and winterberry. Read more…


Spring Wildfire Season in Maryland Calls for Precautions

Maryland Forest Service Prepared for Wildfire Activity

Photo of woodlands wildfireSpring wildfire season has begun in Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents across Maryland to prepare and help prevent wildfires.

“Wildfire occurrence is highest in the spring when forest fuels are the driest and weather conditions are at the optimum for fire spread,” Maryland Forest Service State Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell said. “Wildfires are more likely on warm days with dry forest fuels, low relative humidity and gusty winds.” Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – April 3

Photo of girls with Trout

Photo by Shawn Campbell

Put-and-take trout fishermen had a successful opening day of the 2019 trout season. Beautiful weather prevailed, the trout hatchery program provided generous stocking of healthy trout and a great time was had by all!

Fishing for a variety of catfish species is very good right now. Channel catfish are spread throughout the upper Chesapeake Bay and most all of the tidal rivers flowing into the bay. Blue catfish can be found in the Potomac River from the St. Georges Island area north to the Wilson Bridge. They can also be found in the Patuxent and Nanticoke rivers and are starting to show up in the Choptank River. Flathead catfish can be caught in the Conowingo Dam pool and the lower Susquehanna River. Fresh cut bait is standard fare for successful fishing for catfish.

Read more…


Maryland Arbor Day 2019 Celebrated

Day to Highlight Trees and Those Who Help Them Grow

Photo of Maryland Forest Service staff delivering seedlings to the State House for Arbor Day 2019Following an annual tradition, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources honored Maryland Arbor Day by delivering tree seedlings to state leadership.

The department celebrates the first Wednesday of April every year by giving away trees for planting and honoring the achievements of individuals who have contributed to the state’s tree farming industry.
Read more…


Secretary’s Message: April 2019

Honor the Past by Investing in the Future

Photo of secretary presenting award to Governor Harry Hughes

This past month marked the passing of a friend and mentor — former Governor Harry Hughes. 

I feel privileged to have known Governor Hughes, a fellow Eastern Shore resident, who was a man of integrity. He was also a leader who greatly influenced the mission of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, especially with regard to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

One of Governor Hughes’ lasting legacies is the Chesapeake Bay Program, a partnership in which we still participate today alongside the other states and jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The significance of this program is that it encourages coordination on restoration activities under an important federal framework and ensures that all stakeholders are doing their part. The success of this program is evidenced by key environmental indicators such as record growth of underwater grasses, rebounds of iconic aquatic species, and an increase in overall water quality.

Unfortunately, the future of the Chesapeake Bay Program is threatened, as funding is nearly zeroed out in the president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget. These proposed cuts are potentially devastating to our restoration efforts at a time when we are making good progress. I applaud and support Governor Hogan’s leadership in trying to get that funding restored. Read more…


Black Bears Emerging from Winter Dens

Marylanders Urged to Keep Bears Wild 

Photo of black bear on hillsideAfter a long winter slumber, black bears are now emerging from their dens, and human residents of Maryland’s bear country should take steps to keep both species separate and safe.

Adult and newborn bears will emerge hungry and seeking natural food sources, but many of their preferred foods — acorns, berries, insects and plants — are still in short supply this time of year. Until these natural foods are more seasonally abundant, bears may become more easily attracted to artificial and human-generated food sources.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents to remove all potential bear attractants to prevent conflicts. Read more…


Point Lookout State Park Hosts Cleanup at Historic Civil War Site

Annual Event Offers Insight Into Park’s Significant Past

Photo of volunteers painting and landscaping at Point Lookout State ParkVolunteers are invited to Point Lookout State Park April 6 help maintain and restore the park’s historic Civil War Fort #3 and prison pen, as part of the annual Park Day preservation event sponsored by the American Battlefield Trust.

Hosted by The Friends of Point Lookout Inc., Saturday’s cleanup takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to helping with the upkeep of this valuable site, volunteers will learn more about the park’s significance and its role during the American Revolution, Civil War and the War of 1812. Weather permitting, tours of the site will be available to participants upon conclusion of the day’s activities.
Read more…


Angler Sets Record with Fallfish Caught in Upper Potomac

First Time Species Officially Recognized by Maryland

Photo of angler with record fallfish he caughtA Baltimore County man has established a record by catching a 2.07 pound fallfish, marking the first time this freshwater species has been recognized by the state.

Adam Aghion of Pikesville caught this impressive fallfish March 20 on the Maryland side of the upper Potomac River, using a drop shot rig with a #12 hook. Aghion said he made the trip to that location specifically to catch walleye. Read more…


Maryland’s Recreational Crabbing Season Begins April 1

Maryland Tradition Springs to Life

Photo of blue crab taken by Katie Macdonald

Photo by Katie Macdonald

The recreational crabbing season in Maryland officially opens April 1 for the Chesapeake Bay and tidal tributaries as well as in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries.

Recreational crabbing in Maryland can be done a variety of ways, with or without a license depending on the equipment and location. Licenses are required for anyone who uses a trotline, collapsible crab traps, net rings, seines or eel pots.

A license is not required for anyone using handlines or dip nets. In addition, waterfront property owners, lessee, or tenant of a private shoreline property can register to crab license-free using up to two crab pots.   

A recreational crabbing license is not required in the Atlantic Ocean, coastal bays and their tributaries. Additionally, any passenger of a boat with a valid crabbing license doesn’t need an individual license to crab. Read more…


Offshore Blind and Shoreline Licensing Now Open

Applications Must Be Submitted by May 31

Photo of offshore hunting blind at sunset

Photo by Matt Stevens

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

A license allows the shoreline owner, or anyone who has the owner’s permission, to hunt waterfowl from their own blind in state waters or to prevent other waterfowl hunters from licensing the shoreline at a later date. Read more…


Park Quest 2019 Registration Kicks Off April 3

“Off the Beaten Path” Adventures Begin May 1

Logo for ParkQuest 2019The Maryland Department of Natural Resources opens registration April 3 for Park Quest, the beloved family-based outdoor adventure program in state parks throughout Maryland. This year’s theme is “Off the Beaten Path — Arts, Activities and Adventures in Maryland State Parks.”

Park Quest aims to engage families in outdoor activities to experience Maryland’s vast cultural, historical and natural resources on public lands and parks.

Through this annual program, 1,000 qualifying teams — usually families — will get an opportunity to complete outdoor excursions in at least 20 different sites from May 1 through Oct. 31. Read more…


Anglers Can Provide Scientific Data from Smartphone

Volunteer Surveys Engage Citizen Scientists

Photo of golden troutAs spring fishing season begins in earnest, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources asks anglers to help track scientific data by using the mobile-friendly Volunteer Angler Survey.  

Anglers of all ages can become citizen scientists by recording some basic information from their catch such as species, location and size directly to survey on their smartphone.   Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 27

Photo of Fishermen enjoying some trout fishing.

Photo by Joe Evans

The traditional opening day of trout season is this coming Saturday, March 30. Anticipation is always high for any opening day, and Maryland’s put-and-take trout fishermen will be out all across the state.

Read more…


Easement Protects Anne Arundel County Forested Land

Partners Preserve Scenic Land on Little Patuxent

Photo of forested land on Egolf property in Anne Arundel CountyMaryland Environmental Trust and Scenic Rivers Land Trust have permanently protected 111 acres of forestland, wetlands and meadow along the Little Patuxent River from development. 

Owner Linda Egolf granted a conservation easement on the property, which has been in her family for more than 100 years, forever protecting this ecologically important habitat. Read more…


Free Seedlings for St. Mary’s County Backyard Buffers

Order Deadline is April 12

Photo of Northern red oak seedlings growing at state nursery

Northern red oak

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to St. Mary’s County landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks.

Plantings can be ordered in small bundles of 9 seedlings and large bundles of 15 seedlings, with species including chestnut oak, gray dogwood, northern red oak, red bud and white oak. Read more…


2019-2020 Black Bear and Migratory Game Bird Stamp Winners Named

Annual Contests Draw Attention to Wildlife Management

Illustration of black bear, "Explorer" by Rebecca Latham of Hastings, Minn., winner of the 23rd Annual Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design Contest

Rebecca Latham of Hastings, Minn. won the 23rd Annual Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design Contest with her painting, “Explorer.”

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce the winners of the annual Black Bear Conservation and Migratory Game Bird stamp design contests.

A panel of judges chose the winners on March 16 at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in front of an enthusiastic crowd of contestants and fans. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 20

Father and son with Walleye.

Matt Sell and his son Lucas recently enjoyed fishing for walleye together on the upper Potomac River. Photo by John Mullican

It’s the first full day of spring — winter is losing its grip on the Maryland landscape and warmer weather is tangible. The honking of migrant Canada Geese has been replaced by the chirping of ospreys, heralding a changing of the guard. Although the Western Maryland counties may be the last to give up to winter’s grip, those living there are using it to the last to enjoy family fun while enjoying the outdoors.

Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $2.14 Million for New Park in Gaithersburg

Program Open Space Provides Funds to Convert Former Office Site

Photo of future site of park in GaithersburgThe Board of Public Works today unanimously approved a Maryland Department of Natural Resources item to commit $2.14 million in Program Open Space funds toward developing a local park at the former Consumer Product Safety Commission site in Gaithersburg.

The city plans to improve the 9.54-acre property to meet the demands of a growing, diverse population. The park will include open space plus a community garden, covered picnic pavilions, a nature play space, outdoor fitness equipment, a paved walking trail and a tot lot. Read more…


2019 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants Total $215,505

Grants Supports Communities, Projects and Schools

Photo of students at University of Maryland Baltimore County

University of Maryland Baltimore County was a recipient of a 2019 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grant.

Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), a unit of the Maryland Department of Resources, has awarded 71 grants totaling $215,505 toward environmental education, community cleanup and beautification projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program.

These annual grants are funded by Maryland Environmental Trust, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD) and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Read more…


Hunter Education Course Offered in Western Maryland

Class Size Limited, Register Now

Photo of shooting instructionThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will offer a Hunter Safety Education Class March 26, 28 and 30 at Herrington Manor State Park in Oakland.

Classes will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 26 and 28, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 30. The class is limited to 30 students. Interested participants can register online. Read more…


Free Tree Seedlings for Wicomico County Property Owners

Orders Taken Until April 26

Photo of tree growth in wetlands of Wicomico County

Photo by Ed Newton

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to Wicomico County landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program. Read more…


Natural Resources Police File Sexual Assault Charges

Investigation Completed for Incident on Choptank River

Logo of Maryland Natural Resources PoliceMaryland Natural Resources have charged a Caroline County sheriff’s deputy with rape and other charges stemming from a July 2018 incident on a boat in the Choptank River.

Kevin John Nagyiski was charged March 13 with second degree rape, third degree sex offense, fourth degree sexual contact and second degree assault. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – March 13

Yellow Perch

Photo by Alan Klotz

March is a time of fluctuating weather, a sort of back-and-forth pull between seasons. Spring is beginning to win out and signs are seen everywhere. Daffodils are opening up, spring peepers are calling out on warmer nights and anglers are fishing for stocked trout and other freshwater fish and even trying their luck on the spring spawning runs of yellow and white perch.

Yellow perch are being caught and may hit their peak towards the end of the week. The peak of the spawning runs is governed by warming water temperatures and increased daylight periods.

Read more…


Governor Hogan Statement on Trump Administration’s Cuts To Chesapeake Bay Program

Governor Larry Hogan today issued the following statement on the Trump Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, which would drastically cut funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration:

“As Governor of Maryland and Chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, protecting the Chesapeake Bay remains one of my top priorities. The EPA Administrator himself called the Chesapeake Bay Program a ‘high priority,’ making this week’s cut in the budget a total betrayal. These cuts are potentially devastating to restoration efforts at such a critical time. Read more…


Spring Trout Stocking Season Begins

Crews to Stock 133 Locations in 18 Counties

Photo of staff stocking creek with troutThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is gearing up to release more than 300,000 brown, golden and rainbow trout throughout the state during its annual spring trout stocking.  

Regular spring stocking is done by department crews in lakes, rivers and streams from early March through June. In 2019, the department will stock trout in 133 locations in 18 counties.   Read more…


Free Tree Seedlings Available for Calvert County

Seedlings Available for Large or Small Trees

Photo of blooming red bud

Photo: “Budding Red Bud” by Ashley Stubbs

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, along with Calvert Master Gardeners and the American Chestnut Land Trust, is offering free tree seedlings to landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks. Read more…


Muskrat Trapping Extended in Select Maryland Counties

Additional Time for Weather-Dampened Regions

Photo of muskrat

Photo by Martha Johnston

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has added a week to the state’s muskrat trapping season in Eastern, Southern and portions of Central Maryland. The revised season will now close March 22 in the affected counties to make up for unfavorable weather conditions — an extremely cold winter and recent tide fluctuations — that had limited trapper access to many waterways and wetlands.

The season remains closed in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard and Washington counties, where the season started early enough to provide ample trapping opportunities. No other hunting or trapping seasons have been extended. Read more…


Boating Safety Education Classes Offered in March

Required Courses for Maryland Boaters

Photo of Natural Resource Police boat patrol holding up life jacketsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host two free Boating Safety Education classes on March 16 and March 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops, 7000 Arundel Mills Circle in Hanover. Attendees need only attend one class to get their certification.

Courses will be taught by Natural Resources Police and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members and will be accessible for both English and Spanish speakers. Free life jackets will be awarded to all who pass the final exam. Read more…


Funding Available for Resilience, Restoration and Stewardship

Innovative Projects Can Access Funding Through New ‘Grants Gateway’

Photo of Chesapeake Bay from shorelineThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that $24.75 million in funding is available for local governments and nonprofit organizations seeking to restore local waterways, increase climate resilience and develop the next generation of environmental stewards.

To streamline the grant application and management process, the department has created a new “Grants Gateway” that provides a single entry point for prospective grantees, and assures access to funding for innovative, local projects. Read more…


Harriet Tubman Day Events Set for March 10

Stories, Events and Art Honor Tubman at Her Namesake Park

Harriet Tubman mural at te Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park & Visitors CenterIn celebration of Harriet Tubman Day on Sunday, March 10, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center invites everyone to free, family-friendly programs. The park, located in Dorchester County, marks its second anniversary on this Harriet Tubman Day, a national observance with special significance in Maryland.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the park’s expert staff and special guests will lead hourly programs to honor the life and legacy of Maryland native Harriet Tubman and the struggle for freedom that she embodied.

Read more…


Free Tree Seedlings for Allegany, Garrett County Landowners

Orders for Backyard Buffer Program Due March 29

Photo of white oak seedlingsThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks.

Each bag contains approximately 25 native bare-root tree and shrub seedlings, which are suited for streamside conditions. This year, the species for Allegany and Garrett counties will include a mix of: swamp white oak, winterberry, American plum, river birch, and white pine. Read more…


Free Tree Seedlings Available in Washington County

Orders for Backyard Buffer Program Due March 31

Photo of seedlings growing at state nurseryThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks.

Each “buffer in a bag” contains about 30 native bare-root tree and shrub seedlings suitable for planting in moist soil conditions. This year, seedlings for  Washington County properties will include a mix of: buttonbush, black chokeberry, Washington hawthorn, eastern redbud, swamp white oak, and loblolly-pitch pine hybrid. Read more…


Public Comment on Deer Management Extended

Public Meeting March 13; New Deadline March 15

Photo of deer herd at fence

Photo by Dechun Feng

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has rescheduled the last of its public meetings regarding white-tailed deer management, and also extended the deadline for accepting public comment on the state’s deer management plan. The meeting in Wye Mills, which had been previously postponed due to weather,  will now be held at 7 p.m. March 13 at Chesapeake College, 1000 College Drive, in Room 127 in the Health Professions and Athletics Center.

Due to the meeting date change, the new deadline for public comment is March 15. The public can provide comments online; by phone at 410-260-8540; by fax at 410-260-8596; or in writing to: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, E-1, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401.

 


2019 Maryland Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced

Garrett County Youth Awarded Grand Prize

Acting Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Maryland State Forester Donald VanHassent, Supervisor Urban & Community Forestry Marian Honeczy, Tree-Mendous Maryland Coordinator Anne Gilbert, and Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan. standing with first-place winner of Arbor Day Poster Contest

Standing with the first place entry, from left to right: Acting Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Maryland State Forester Donald VanHassent, Urban and Community Forestry Supervisor Marian Honeczy, Tree-Mendous Maryland Coordinator Anne Gilbert, and Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan.

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 contest is judged annually by a panel of forestry experts and special guest judge, Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan.

Lydia Secrist of Accident, Garrett 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 three students from Mechanicsville, St. Mary’s County — Jakiara Baker, Erica Daymude and Autumn Edwards. Third Place honors went to Hailey Ciccarelli and Molly Richards of Eldersburg, Carroll County. Their school will receive five trees.
Read more…


Input Sought on Proposed 2019-20 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons

Public Meeting on March 6; Comment Accepted Until March 15

Illustration

Illustration: “Blackwater Visitors” by Paul Makuchal, 2017 Migratory Game Bird Stamp contest winner

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting public comment on the proposed 2019-2020 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons. The comment period continues until noon on March 15.

Proposed season dates for all migratory game birds can be viewed on the department’s website.

The seasons will be finalized in spring 2019, after the department reviews public input and obtains approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Read more…


Draft Oyster Management Plan Open for Comment

Public Input Accepted Through March 19

Photo of waterman dredging for oysters

Photo by William Whaley

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting public comment on a draft Maryland Oyster Management Plan, the first updated fishery management plan since 2010 for one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most ecologically- and economically-important natural resources. The public comment period will continue until March 19.

Read more…


Youth Fishing Rodeos Set for 2019

Free Events Statewide Encourage Youth to Get Outdoors

Photo of young girl with a fish she caughtThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources once again is offering opportunities for young people to experience fishing through 44 youth fishing rodeos in 15 counties statewide

 Youth fishing rodeos in the state connect 6,000 thousand young people with the Maryland outdoors each year. Events start in March and run through fall. Anyone 16 years of age and younger may participate. Read more…


Midwinter Waterfowl Survey Results for 2019 Announced

Annual Survey Counts Maryland’s Ducks, Geese and Swans

Photo of Canada geeseIn 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 566,300 waterfowl.

Maryland’s mid-winter waterfowl survey is part of an annual, nationwide effort to survey waterfowl on their wintering grounds to monitor local distribution and habitat affiliations.  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Feb. 20

Photo of man with large tautog

James King of Richfield, N.J., caught this 18.5-pound tautog near Ocean City, tagged it and returned it to the cold depths.

February is often thought of as a time for fishermen to keep busy by going over tackle, fly tying or attending outdoor shows. But others know there are fish out there and many know how to find them.

The preseason trout stocking program has started in earnest, and there is good fishing for yellow perch and a mixed bag of freshwater fish.

Off the coast of Ocean City, fishermen come from far and wide to pursue trophy-sized tautog.

Read more…


Army Corps Kicks Off Ocean City Inlet Navigation Improvement Project

Public Meeting to be Scheduled for Spring

Photo of shallow water markers at Ocean CityThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Worcester County signed a Project Partnership Agreement Feb. 14 to start work on a navigation improvement project to address sediment accumulation, or shoaling, within the Ocean City Inlet.

This navigation channel is regularly used by commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, the U.S. Coast Guard and others. The Corps removes material from the inlet through dredging two or more times per year in an attempt to maintain the channel’s authorized depth of 10 feet; however, it continues to fill in with material, creating concerns for navigation.

Through the “Ocean City Harbor and Inlet” navigation project, the Corps will evaluate sediment transport in the inlet and recommend options for addressing the shoaling to include structural solutions like jetties or channel modifications like deepening the channel in the inlet. No options have been solidified at this time. Read more…


Maryland Hunters Harvest 77,000 Deer during 2018-2019 Season

Sunday Hunting Accounts for More than Ten Percent of Total Harvest

Photo of deer

Photo by John Gambriel

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported today that deer hunters harvested 77,382 deer during the combined archery, firearms and muzzleloader seasons, from Sept. 7, 2018, through Jan. 31, 2019.

The statewide harvest included 29,699 antlered and 44,249 antlerless white-tailed deer; and 1,609 antlered and 1,825 antlerless sika deer. The harvest was 11 percent lower than the 2017-2018 total of 86,542 deer, as multiple rain and ice events on key Saturdays limited success for hunters this season.

Although the total harvest was down, the number of antlerless deer taken this year represented 60 percent of the overall harvest. Also, the statewide harvest of button bucks was down 25 percent this year, an important outcome for future buck hunting opportunities in Maryland. Read more…


Maryland Anglers Can Qualify for New Awards Program

FishMaryland Offers Recognition for Various Skill Levels

Photo of woman with large carpThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has launched a new award program to celebrate the state’s anglers and the diverse species of fish they catch.

FishMaryland is a multifaceted award program designed to encourage anglers to take advantage of Maryland’s year-round recreational fishing and enjoy the state’s accessible, affordable and high-quality fishing opportunities. Read more…


Montgomery College to Host Climate Academy Classes

Enrollment Deadline is April 30

Photo of wave crashing on jetty

Photo by Fran Saunders

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces open enrollment for Maryland Climate Leadership Academy courses at Montgomery College in June and July. This cohort will offer prep courses for a Certified Climate Change Professional credential.

The Montgomery College classes will be held in three sessions: Class 1 on June 3-4; Class 2 on July 22-23; and Class 3 on a yet undetermined date in September.

The Maryland Climate Leadership Academy, which kicked off in fall 2018, is the nation’s first state-sponsored institution providing continuing education and executive training programs specifically designed for state and local government officials, infrastructure executives and business leaders. This will be the fourth cohort in Maryland, following classes in Wye Mills, Hagerstown and Ellicott City.  Read more…


Free Tree Seedlings Available for Kent, Queen Anne’s Counties

Orders Due March 21; Workshop Offered April 2

Photo of loblolly pines being grown at state nurseryThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to help improve water quality in targeted Eastern Shore communities.

Kent and Queen Anne’s County landowners 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…


Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan Open for Comment

Public Input Accepted Until March 8

Photo of mountain biker crossing stream

“Crossing Water” by James Corbett

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the draft 2019-2023 Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, which identifies essential and contemporary issues impacting outdoor recreation and natural resource protection in the state.

The Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan represents a vision and strategy that has been developed by the department, with state, federal, and local organizations, to provide public outdoor recreation opportunities in Maryland. It incorporates public input that was gathered through surveys and public stakeholder meetings held throughout Maryland in 2018, as well as a thorough analysis of national, state and local issues impacting recreation and natural resource conservation. Read more…


Free Tree Seedlings Available for Frederick County Landowners

Backyard Buffers Help Improve Water Quality

Photo of riparian buffer at streamThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings to landowners who have a creek, drainage ditch, stream or other waterway on or near their property through the Backyard Buffers program.

Trees and shrubs planted along waterways help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients, lowering peak water temperatures, reducing sediment and stabilizing stream banks. Read more…


North Point State Park Holds Successful Managed Deer Hunt

Department Plans to Continue Managed Hunt Next Season

Photo of North Point State Park entrance signThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the results of its deer management efforts and inaugural managed hunting program at North Point State Park in Baltimore County.

The two-part program, comprising a limited archery hunt in November 2018 and a two-day shotgun hunt in January 2019, helped reduce the deer herd, which in turn will conserve habitat for birds, small mammals and other non-game species on the peninsula.

Department officials report that 20 deer were harvested by archery hunters and an additional 36 deer shotgun hunt. More importantly, no accidents or injuries were reported during the two managed deer hunts. Read more…


Maryland Biological Stream Survey Offers Annual Training

Support the State’s Water Quality Monitoring Effort

Photo of biologist conducting stream surveyThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering trainings and certifications in Maryland Biological Stream Survey sampling protocols. Two training opportunities will be held at Howard County Community College, one in February and another in May.

Through a mix of classroom and field experiences, participants will learn and be tested on benthic macroinvertebrate and fish sampling methods, physical habitat assessment, fish taxonomy and how to be a crew leader. Read more…


Winter Turkey Season Results Announced

Season Yields 73 Birds 

Photo of turkey by Andrew Gue

The King by Andrew Gue

Hunters reported taking 73 wild turkeys during Maryland’s 2019 winter turkey season, which was open Jan. 17-19 statewide.

According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, turkeys were harvested in 22 of the 23 counties, with Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties reporting the highest numbers. Read more…


Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day Feb. 9

Chance for Young Hunters to Hone Skills

Photo of youth learning to hunt waterfowlYoung hunters have one more chance this season to hone their skills with the help of an experienced adult during a Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day Feb. 9, reports the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Youths up to 16 years of age may hunt coots, ducks, geese and mergansers on private and public land, when aided by an unarmed adult at least 21 years of age. All junior hunters, and their adult mentors must possess a Maryland hunting license or be license-exempt.  Read more…


State Nursery Has Trees Available for Spring Planting

Time is Now to Think Spring

Photo of loblolly pine seedlings growing at state nurseryOrders are still being taken for the spring 2019 planting season for shrubs and trees from the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery, managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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


Public Input Sought on White-tailed Deer Management

Four Public Comment Meetings Scheduled

Photo of doe and fawn in forest

“Doe and Fawn” by Christine Boltz

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the state’s management of white-tailed deer. The input will be used to help revise the state’s deer management plan for the next 15 years, establishing long-term goals, and identifying specific objectives and strategies for achieving them.

Through Feb. 28 March 15, the public can provide comments online. The department is also accepting feedback by phone at 410-260-8540; by fax at 410-260-8596; or in writing to: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 580 Taylor Avenue, E-1, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401. Read more…


Eastern Shore Angler Catches Record Longnose Gar

David Confair Nets 17.9-Pound Fish

Photo of state record longnose gar caught January 2019

A Dorchester County man set a state record for catching a 17.9-pound longnose gar. Secretary resident David Confair, 44, caught the fish Jan. 23 a few miles above the historic Brookview Bridge along Marshyhope Creek.

An experienced angler, Confair and a friend went fishing there after hearing reports of massive blue catfish. After just a few hours into their trip, Confair felt something unusual tug his line. “Get the net,” Confair yelled to his friend. “This is a big fish.” Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report – Jan. 23

Man holding brook trout

John Mullican spent a brisk January day fly fishing on the Savage River, and takes one last look at a beautiful brook trout before releasing it. Photo by John Mullican.

Maryland is home to a relatively small fish that inhabits only streams with the best water quality. It’s a beautifully colored fish called the brook trout, Maryland’s only native trout. He is feisty, guarding his territory during the fall breeding season. Anyone who has caught and handled a brook trout or seen one holding in a stream often feels they have been touched by a wonder of nature. Read more about Maryland’s brook trout program online.

Read more…


$2.1 Million Approved for Rural Legacy Program

Conservation Easements Protect Farmland and Watersheds

Photo of the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area

Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area

The Board of Public Works today approved Rural Legacy Program grants totaling $2.1 million that will provide dedicated state funding to permanently protect working farms and forests, and provide vegetative stream buffers to improve water quality and bolster climate resilience in designated areas across the state.

Working through local governments and private land trusts, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquires conservation easements from willing landowners to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land that contain valuable agricultural and natural resources. Read more…


Public Comment Sought for State Forest Work Plans

Accepting Comments Until Feb. 22

Photo of a forest by Jennifer Johnson

A Sea of Green and Blue in Spring by Jennifer Johnson

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the proposed fiscal year 2020 work plans for the following state forests: Chesapeake Forest/Pocomoke, Green Ridge, Potomac-Garrett and Savage River. The comment period concludes Feb. 22.

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.

Public comments can be sent via email to jack.perdue@maryland.gov. Read more…


Governor Larry Hogan Announces Cabinet Appointment

Appoints Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio as Secretary of Natural Resources

Photo of Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio

Governor Larry Hogan today announced Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio as the Secretary of Natural Resources. Haddaway-Riccio currently serves as a Deputy Chief of Staff in the governor’s office, where she advises on environmental-related issues.

“Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio has been a strong member of my executive team since day one and has a proven track record of working to protect Maryland’s environment,” said Governor Hogan. “I know that Jeannie will be instrumental in ensuring that we continue to build on our incredible progress in preserving our state’s precious natural resources.” Read more…


Governor Larry Hogan Proposes Major Investments for Maryland Environment, Chesapeake Bay

FY 2020 Budget Includes Record Investment in Bay Restoration

Photo of Governor Hogan and Secretary Belton

Governor Larry Hogan greets Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton

For the fifth year in a row, Governor Larry Hogan has proposed major funding for restoring the Chesapeake Bay and protecting the environment and well-being of Marylanders.

“Through his funding priorities, Governor Hogan continues to demonstrate unprecedented support for initiatives that protect our lands and waters and prepare our citizens for the future,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. Read more…


Kent County Farm Protected by Maryland Environmental Trust

Easement Near Rock Hall Conserves Fields, Forest and Meadows

Photo of woodlands on Kent County propertyThe Maryland Environmental Trust helped Expressway Corp. permanently protect its 119-acre farm along the West Fork of Langford Creek in Kent County. Expressway Corp. donated the conservation easement on the property forever protecting this important farm and forest land on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

In the vicinity of more than 2,000 acres of protected lands, the easement is located in an area dominated by farm and forest land. The approximately 39 acres of agricultural land, 60 acres woodlands and 12 acres of meadow of the property are an integral part of the area’s rural setting.  Read more…


Public Invited to Open House for Wolf Den Run State Park

Information Meeting Set for Jan. 26

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold a second informational open house for Wolf Den Run State Park from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 26 at Greenbrier State Park, 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro.

Maryland Park Service staff will provide a brief presentation about the park slated to open this year, plus answer questions and listen to public feedback on topics such as camping, hunting and trails. Read more…


Natural Resources Career Training Program Now Recruiting

Work2Live WELL Seeks Applicants in Baltimore City

Photo of Work2Live WELL recruits using a chainsaw in tree management training classThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, is now accepting applications for its workforce development, skills and training program, Work2Live WELL. Now in its second year, this program provides entry into the emerging fields of the environment and natural resources.

With funding from the Employment Advancement Right Now Maryland program, this year’s program is recruiting 13 adult applicants in Baltimore City. Participants can gain entry, exposure, opportunity and training in blueprints, conservation, construction, dredging, land management, restoration and tree care. Read more…


Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Events Celebrate Black History Month

Stories of Underground Railroad Heroes Come to Life this February

Photo of Harriet Tubman bust at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and 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 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 and special guests will lead special programs to honor the life and legacy of Maryland native Harriet Tubman and the struggle for freedom that she embodied.  Read more…


Clean Marina Seminars Scheduled for February

Events Share Best Practices for Boatyard, Marina Operators 

Photo of boats at Eastport Marina in Annapolis

“Boats at Rest at Eastport Yacht Club” by Susan Hale

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites marine facility managers to a series of free seminars in February. Staff will introduce the Maryland Clean Marina Initiative to participants, review commonly needed marina permits and provide resources for all operators and owners to improve their boatyards, docks and marinas. 

Events are being held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the following dates and locations:

  • Feb.  7 at Haven Harbour Marina, Rock Hall; 
  • Feb. 12 at Southern Maryland Sailing Association, Solomons; and
  • Feb. 14 at Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis. 

Space is limited so advance registration is recommended. 

Read more…


Winter Turkey Season Opens Jan. 17

Second Chance for Hunters to Take a Hen or Gobbler

Photo of two wild turkeysThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers hunters who did not bag a turkey in the fall another chance, as the winter turkey season runs statewide Jan. 17-19.

The department established the winter season in 2015 to increase opportunities while minimizing conflicts with other hunting seasons. Read more…


Annual Photo Contest Now Taking Submissions

2019 Contest Runs Through Aug. 31

2018 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner, “Little Blue Heron Ready to Pounce” by Kevin Moore

2018 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner, “Little Blue Heron Ready to Pounce” by Kevin Moore

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 2020 wall calendar.

More than 4,300 photos were submitted by more than 800 photographers in the 2018 contest, shattering last year’s record of 1,500 photos. Read more…


First Day Hikers Log 8,000 Miles on New Year’s Day

Participation Triples Thanks to Warm Weather

Photo of Hikers at Gunpowder Falls State Park

First Day Hikers at Gunpowder Falls State Park

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources welcomed approximately 3,700 hikers on 36 hikes at 32 state parks this New Year’s Day as part of the annual First Day Hikes initiative. Hikers trekked about 8,500 miles on trails in every corner of Maryland.

Maryland Park Service rangers, staff and volunteers guided hikers of all experience levels joining the ever-growing ranks of hikers ringing in the new year on the trail. Among them was Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, who hiked with Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Joanne Throwe at Patapsco Valley State Park. Read more…


Loving Birds to Death and the Importance of Cleaning Feeders

Photo of bird with crusty eye

Goldfinch with eye disease by Bill Beil

In 1994, a group of Project FeederWatchers in Washington, D.C. noticed house finches showing up to their feeders with red, swollen, crusty eyes. The ailments were soon found to be linked to house finch eye disease, or mycoplasmal conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis is caused by a bacteria, and different species of bacteria affect different organisms. The bacterium known to infect local house finches has also been documented impacting species such as American goldfinches, evening grosbeaks and purple finches.

Read more…


Native Animal Profile: Evening Grosbeak

Photo of male grosbeak

Male Evening Grosbeak by Rich Hoeg, Flickr CC by NC ND 2.

Multiple species of finches make their home in Maryland. Some are year-round residents while others, like the evening grosbeak, are part-time visitors.

Evening grosbeaks are chunky finches. Males have striking yellow and black plumage with prominent white and black wings. Females are mostly gray and also possess white and black wings. Both sexes have thick, conical shaped bills with adult males having ivory colored bills and females and immature birds having greenish-tinged bills.

Read more…


Native Birds Need Native Plants

Photo of bird on branch

Carolina Chickadee by Lee Jaffe, Flickr CC by NC SA 2.0

Here at Wild Acres, we like to promote using native plants in backyards to attract local wildlife species.

Over the years, Doug Tallamy’s research has shown a clear relationship between native plants and birds, linking the importance of native plants for supporting insects like caterpillars. Tallamy’s research has revealed that native oaks can support more than 530 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars while an invasive butterfly bush supports only one species.  Read more…


Native Plant Profile: Silky Dogwood

Photo of small, white flowers

Silky dogwood produces white clusters of flowers in June by Dan Mullen Flickr CC by NC ND 2.0

Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) is a medium-sized, native in the dogwood family (Cornaceae), and its blue berries are savored by many songbirds. More than 45 types of songbirds and game birds have been documented consuming the fatty berries in the fall. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: January 2019

Cheers to a Half-Century of Conservation Management and Stewardship

Photo of Secretary Belton at Calvert Cliffs State Park

Secretary Mark Belton during a trip to Calvert Cliffs State Park

Happy New Year!

We welcome 2019 as a milestone in our mission as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will celebrate its semicentennial anniversary July 1.

Under the leadership of then-Gov. Marvin Mandel, the department was formed in 1969 as a merger of five existing state agencies, the departments of Chesapeake Bay Affairs, Game and Inland Fish, Water Resources, Forest and Parks and Maryland Geological Survey. The department assumed most operations of the previously existing Board of Natural Resources, which itself was a descendent of the state Conservation Commission. Read more…


Stamp Design Contests Now Open

Submit Original Work by March 8, 2019

Migratory Game Bird StampArtists are invited to submit their original works for the 23rd Annual Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp and 45th Annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp design contests. These popular contests are open until March 8, 2019.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will judge the entries March 16, 2019, in conjunction with the annual Eagle Festival at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge.

Read more…


Firearms Season for Deer Reopens Jan. 4

Hunters in Region B Have Another Opportunity for Deer

Photo of deer in snowThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the winter portion of the firearm deer hunting season opens Jan. 4, 2019, 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. 4 and 5, 2019 in all Region B counties and Jan. 6, 2019 – on private lands only – in Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Washington (Zone 1), and Worcester counties. On Jan. 6, 2019, shooting hours end at 10:30 a.m. in Kent and Montgomery counties. Read more…


Maryland Joins Fight to Stop Seismic Testing in the Atlantic

Hogan Administration Takes Legal Actions Against Federal Government

Photo of Secretary Mark Belton speaking at press conference.

Secretary Mark Belton speaking at press conference.

Governor Larry Hogan today authorized the State of Maryland to file a lawsuit against the federal government aimed at preventing seismic testing for offshore oil exploration off Maryland’s Atlantic coast.

“As governor, I take my role as a steward of our environment extremely seriously. We have made incredible progress in improving our air and water quality standards, and we are not going to let misguided policies from the federal government jeopardize our hard work,” said Governor Hogan. “Maryland will continue to fight against this sort of federal government overreach that threatens our natural resources and coastal communities.” Read more…


Aboveboard: Winter 2019

Mark Belton HeadshotA new year is the ideal time to reflect on the past, take a look around the present and plan for the future. During the winter we can take our cue from nature, as the fresh, brisk air both invigorates us and slows down the pace of life so we can take this pause to reflect.

Begin with a hike in a park, forest or other trail. A great way to start every year is on a First Day Hike, hosted in sites all across Maryland every New Year’s Day. If you can’t make a First Day Hike, any time of year is great to explore these lands.

Read more…


Ask an Expert: Winter 2019

Get some winter fishing tips and learn about hibernation.

Read more…


A River Unbound: Bloede Dam removal nears completion

Photo of dam from the sky

Construction site; by Jim Thompson

It was a hot, humid afternoon in June 1981, and Patapsco Valley State Park Ranger Paul J. Travers was on duty. On days like that, the heavily wooded park filled with high schoolers from the suburbs between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Ignoring the “no swimming” signs, they would splash into the cool Patapsco River and lounge on its huge boulders. Dozens of kids were swimming that day, sliding down the old, defunct Bloede Dam into the deep pool below. Suddenly, one of the kids disappeared underwater. His friends waited for him to surface, but he never came back up. Travers was there when rescuers pulled the teenager’s lifeless body from the water.

The boy was one of at least nine people to lose their lives at Bloede over the past four decades. Read more…


Quail Find Safe Harbor on the Eastern Shore: Partnership restores habitat for northern bobwhite

photo of bird on branch

Quail; courtesy of Washington College

The Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area in Kent County has a brand new home for northern bobwhite thanks to a partnership between the Washington College Center for Environment and Society and the Maryland Park Service.

Through the college’s Natural Lands Project, this past year 83 acres of row crops at the management area were converted to 80 acres of upland meadow, two acres of walking trails and an acre of hedgerows. The effort is to find the right balance of varied habitat types that quail need throughout the year, says Dan Small, a field ecologist with the center and coordinator of the Natural Lands Project. Read more…


From the Field: Captain Eddie Somers

photo of large ship breaking ice on bay

J. Millard Tawes; by Jay Fleming

When Eddie Somers was about seven years old, he saw a large boat approaching his native Smith Island. It was the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Barberry, there to remove a navigational beacon.

“Boy, that thing looked big to me then,” Somers says. He spent his life surrounded by watercraft and knew he’d work the water one day, but he was fascinated by the imposing 100-foot vessel.

What he didn’t know was that a few years later, the Barberry would be purchased by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and renamed the J. Millard Tawes. Or that a few decades later, he would begin a quarter century service as its captain. Read more…


Mountain Club of Maryland: Working hard at having fun!

photo of hikers posing on a rock

Today’s members; courtesy of the Mountain Club of Maryland

On Oct. 20, 1934 a group of 27 energetic men and women, led by Orville W. Crowder hiked along the Appalachian Trail from Crampton Gap to Weaverton, Pennsylvania. It was the first hike by the Mountain Club of Maryland.

The oldest hiking club in Maryland and the premier hiking group in the state is a Baltimore-based volunteer organization. Club members support Leave No Trace principles and work on local, state and national trails. They organize and lead over 300 events a year including hikes, camping, seasonal river tubing and canoe trips and backpacking weekends. Read more…


Natural History: Centuries of Maryland conservation laws in one document

photo of complex from air

Albert Powell Hatchery; by Jim Thompson

In 1967, a retired Maryland fisheries manager felt compelled to tell the full history of fishing regulation in the Old Line State. Albert Powell wrote a 369-page report with the weighty title and subtitle, “Historical information of Maryland Commission of Fisheries, with some notes on game: Based on Annual Reports, legislative enactments and personal observations; also the compiled laws of the Game and Inland Fish Commission, 1654-1965.” Read more…


2018 Photo Contest: Winners

Photo of white bird on branch with blurred orange and red leaves

Grand prize winner; by Kevin Moore

Please enjoy the top picks from our annual contest! This year we received over 4,300 photos from 819 participants. Read more…


Board of Public Works Approves $3 Million for Oyster Recovery

Funding for Large-Scale Restoration, Marylanders Grow Oysters and State Sanctuaries

Photo of oyster shells by Mitch CannonThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been approved to invest more than $3 million in oyster recovery and restoration activities in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, following unanimous support from the Board of Public Works.

The board, consisting of Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, approved three contracts to the Oyster Recovery Partnership aimed at collecting oyster shell, constructing oyster reefs and planting hatchery-reared oysters. Read more…


$3 Million Approved for Rural Legacy Program

Conservation Easements Protect Farmland, Forests and Waterways

Photo of the Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area in Carroll County

Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area

The Board of Public Works today approved Rural Legacy Program grants totaling $3 million that will provide dedicated state funding to permanently protect working farms and forests, and provide vegetative stream buffers to improve water quality in designated areas across the state.

Working through local governments and private land trusts, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquires conservation easements from willing landowners to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land that contain valuable agricultural and natural resources. Read more…


Hunters Harvest 31,000 Deer During Firearms Season

Harvest Numbers Strong Despite Poor Weather

Photo of buck in clearing

Photo by Steve Edwards

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that hunters reported taking 31,588 deer during the state’s most popular hunt, the two-week firearms season. The total was eight percent lower than last year’s official harvest of 34,502. Bad weather during the prime Saturday hunt days contributed to the decline in many parts of the state.

More than 4,400 deer were taken on the two Sundays during the season, representing 14 percent of the total harvest. Sunday hunting is currently permitted on select Sundays in 20 of 23 counties. Read more…


Preseason Trout Stocking Begins

Winter Fishing Tradition in Maryland

Photo of trout at state hatcheryThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering anglers an early start to the spring trout season before winter even begins. 

Starting the week of Dec. 17, 2018, the department will conduct preseason trout stocking at several popular fishing locations. Early trout stocking will include several impoundments that will receive their annual allotments in a single stocking. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Dec. 12

Photo of Santa Claus holding a fishThis will be our last fishing report for 2018, but we will return in mid-January with a report on winter fishing activities and some news about upcoming outdoor shows.

The 2018 striped bass season closes Dec. 15. The season ends a few days earlier than last year, as part of the conservation-minded regulations that included reducing the minimum length for Chesapeake Bay rockfish to 19 inches. The Potomac River below the Woodrow Wilson Bridge will be open to striped bass fishing until Dec. 31. Our readers should also keep in mind that there are other species that will still be in season for die hard cold-weather anglers.

Happy holidays from everyone at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources!

Read more…


Step into 2019 with a First Day Hike

Popular New Year’s Tradition Returns Across Maryland

Photo of hikers at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center's 2018 First Day Hike

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center will host a First Day Hike on New New Year’s Day.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to kick off the New Year with one of Maryland’s fastest-growing traditions – a First Day Hike.

On Jan. 1, 2019, the Maryland Park Service will offer more than three dozen hikes on more than 30 state lands and parks, as part of a nationwide event sponsored by America’s State Parks.

These hikes will provide a wide array of outdoor adventures and experiences for every level of hiker and walker, providing unique access to Maryland’s cultural, historical and natural resources and treasures, along with opportunities for education and stewardship. Many hikes are even pet-friendly.

Read more…


Survey Shows Marylanders Support Deer Hunting

Public Input Helps Inform Deer Management Plan

Photo of herd of deerThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the results of a public opinion survey, done in cooperation with the University of Delaware and Responsive Management on white-tailed deer. The telephone survey covered a range of topics and will be used to support revision of the department’s deer management plan.

The survey, taken by more than 2,200 individuals representing the general population, landowners and hunters, found that a majority like deer, but a significant proportion of the population are concerned with the negative impacts deer cause.

More than 70 percent of those surveyed think that deer should be hunted to help manage for a healthy population and over half of those surveyed think the department does a good job conserving and managing the deer population. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Dec. 5

Photo of A catch of hand-tonged oysters on the deck

Daniel Irons tried his hand at recreational oystering, hand-tonging a nice pile of large oysters that may wind up stewed or fried. Photo by Mike Irons

We are approaching the end of the 2018 striped bass season, which closes Dec. 15. The season ends a few days earlier than last year, as part of the conservation-minded regulations that included reducing the minimum length for Chesapeake Bay rockfish to 19 inches. Of course there are other species that will still be in season for cold-weather anglers.

Expanding your outdoor experiences is a new, learning adventure. It may involve trying a new sport such as bow hunting for a traditional firearm hunter or perhaps fly fishing when you’ve always used spinning gear. There is always something new to explore.

Read more…


Brook Trout Population Restored in Western Maryland Watershed

Effort Finds Native Species in Casselman River System

Photo of native brook trout by Michael Eversmier

Native Brook Trout by Michael Eversmier

After years of stream restoration, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently discovered native brook trout returning to once uninhabitable streams.

Partnering with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Youghiogheny River Watershed Association, crews have been working diligently over the past few decades to restore the Casselman River watershed in Garrett County.

Read more…


Muzzleloader Season for Deer Reopens Dec. 15

Second Half of Season Runs Until Dec. 29

Photo of buck by Stacey Steinberg

Battle scars by Stacey Steinberg

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that the second segment of the muzzleloader deer hunting season opens Dec. 15 and runs through Dec. 29, 2018. Hunters may use muzzleloading firearms to harvest sika and white-tailed deer during this season.

“The late muzzleloader season is a great time for hunters to enjoy some colder weather while hunting with friends and family during the holidays,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “The added harvest during this season helps the department manage the state’s deer population.” Read more…


Opening Day of Firearms Season Impacted by Weather

Sunday Hunting Salvages Opening Weekend

Photo of buck standing in clearing by Steve Edwards

Photo by Steve Edwards

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that deer hunters reported harvesting 10,008 deer on the opening weekend of the 2018 Maryland firearm season, a decline from last year’s official total of 13,622 deer for the same period. Significant rain across the state Saturday was largely responsible for the decrease.

The total includes 5,501 antlered and 4,507 antlerless deer, with sika deer comprising 205 of the antlered and 203 of the antlerless totals. The two-week deer firearm season runs through Dec. 8. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: December 2018

Increased Public Access Is Coming Your Way

Photo of hikers, including Secretary Mark Belton

Secretary Mark Belton participating in a First Day Hike.

One of my top priorities is to make sure all Marylanders have access to the enjoyment of nature and the great outdoors. To that end, I’m pleased to say that 2018 has been a banner year for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

A proud accomplishment of this past year was the opening of a new floating fishing pier and gangway at the Unicorn Lake Fisheries Management Area that meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Thanks to the assistance of our partners, the new floating pier will provide more accessibility and opportunity for anglers at this popular fishing spot in Queen Anne’s County. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Nov. 28

Photo of Man holding up a beautiful fall striped bass

Travis Long holds up a beautiful fall striped bass to prove there is still good times to be had out on the water. Photo courtesy of Travis Long

Cold winds are blowing and minds are beginning to drift from fishing, but there will still be days where the outdoors call us away from the holiday rush. For those times, there are plenty of good fishing opportunities to be found from the streams and lakes of western Maryland to the offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Read more…


Maryland Biodiversity Project Named Conservationist of the Year

Award Ceremony Nov. 13

Photo of staff with Bill Hubrick

Bill Hubick receives his award

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the Maryland Biodiversity Project and its founders, Bill Hubick and Jim Brighton, have been recognized as Conservationist of the Year by the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission.

The Maryland Biodiversity Project is a nonprofit organization that has produced an online database and public information source with the mission of cataloging all flora and fauna in Maryland, and building a vibrant nature study community. Hubick and Brighton started the project in 2012 and since then, along with a following of more than 800 naturalists and photographers, have documented 18,000 species, including more than 10,000 photographs.

Read more…


Natural Resources Police Collecting ‘Boatload of Toys’

Department Joins Forces with Marine Toys for Tots

Photo of Maryland Natural Resources Police officers collecting a boatload of toysThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police is conducting its annual “Boatload of Toys” drive at several locations this year, collecting donations of new, unopened items for less fortunate children.

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…


Cooperative Wildlife Management Area Opens to Hunting

Prince George’s County Site Available for Managed Archery Hunt

Photo of two pine conesThere is a new public deer hunting opportunity available in Prince George’s County.

As of Dec. 3, 2018, the 182-acre Queen Anne Bridge Road Cooperative Wildlife Management Area in Bowie will be open to regulated archery hunting for deer only. The program will follow established season dates and bag limits found in the Guide to Hunting and Trapping in Maryland.

This program is designed to provide managed public hunting access to the site through a partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Read more…


Give the Gift of Trees this Holiday

Trees Provide Ecological, Economic and Quality of Life Benefits

Photo of Fall Leaves by Barbara Cook

Fall Leaves by Barbara Cook

This holiday season the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers everyone the opportunity to give the Gift of Trees, a program where Marylanders purchase native trees for planting in honor of a celebration, commemoration or observation.

Trees provide ecological, economic and quality of life benefits and services, including enhancing air and water quality, reducing energy costs, increasing property values, beautifying communities, neighborhoods and highways, while also providing essential habitat for birds and other wildlife. Read more…


Chesapeake Logperch Targeted for Restoration

Federal Funds Awarded to Multistate Recovery Effort

Photo of Chesapeake Logperch by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is part of a team of conservation agencies that was awarded a federal competitive State Wildlife Grant over the next two years to work toward the recovery of Chesapeake logperch in the Susquehanna River basin.

Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Nov. 21

Photo of Kayak fishing at sunset

Don Goff and Chris Walker found their special place on a calm morning while fishing from their kayaks. Photo by Todd E. Burnett

As the month of November approaches its end, we have a lot to be thankful for here in Maryland. Outdoor opportunities abound from the mountain streams of western Maryland to the Chesapeake Bay and coastal beaches. Here’s hoping you find your own place in nature for reflection during this special time of the year.

Read more…


Enhanced Effort to Curb Illegal Fishing and Hunting

Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers Can be Reached Anytime, Anywhere

Photo of Maryland Natural Resources Police officer and vehicleThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police is cracking down on the illegal killing of fish and wildlife through a partnership with Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers. This newly established nonprofit organization serves as the state affiliate of International Wildlife Crimestoppers, a group dedicated to stopping illegal hunting and fishing across the globe.

Maryland Wildlife Crimestoppers was established to increase public awareness of the impact of potential poaching on fish and wildlife populations, and encourage anyone with knowledge of these activities to connect with Maryland Natural Resources Police. Neighboring states Delaware and Pennsylvania host similar partnerships with International Wildlife Crimestoppers. Read more…


Maryland Fifth-Graders Invited to Submit Arbor Day Posters

Annual Contest Taking Submissions until Feb. 1, 2019

2018 winning Arbor Day poster by Overall first-place winner is Annah Landry from Carroll County

Overall first-place winner for 2018 was Annah Landry from Carroll 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 2019 is: “Trees Are Terrific…and Forests are Too!”

All entries need to be delivered to a local Maryland Forest Service office by noon Feb. 1, 2019. Read more…


Maryland Reports Early Season Deer, Turkey Hunt Results

Harvest Tempered by Unusually Warm and Wet Weather

Photo of Deer At Edge of ForestThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that hunters harvested 18,805 deer during the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader seasons.

The harvest was a 16 percent decline from last year’s official harvest of 22,250, which was largely attributable to abnormally warm and wet weather that caused poor hunting conditions. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Nov. 17-18, 2018

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Forester Rob Clarke succinctly wraps up the final report for 2018 with, “Let the raking begin!”  Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Nov. 14

Photo of Boy holding channel catfish.

Young Isaac looks like he was having a great time catching catfish recently. Photo by Eric Packard

As cold weather prevails, water temperatures are dropping, which is limiting some fishing opportunities but is expanding others. Many of our resident fisheries are in transition — striped bass fishing is still good but slowing down, white perch are active but now are schooled up in deeper water. Trout fishing is very good as is fishing for walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and chain pickerel. At the coastal areas, summer species are being replaced by cold water fish such as sea bass and tautog.

An often overlooked species is our catfish in Maryland, and cooler water temperatures tend to kick their feeding activity into high gear. We have two native species of catfish in Maryland, the white and the bullhead. Introduced catfish species are the channel, flathead and blue catfish.

Whether you choose to eat them or just catch them, they can provide some exciting and fun fishing from docks and piers, a favorite shoreline or a small boat. They can be caught by watching a baited line while relaxing along a sunny shore and they provide plenty of enjoyment for our younger anglers. If a good tussle and plenty of fishing action that is easy to arrange sounds good to you, give it a try.

Read more…


Board of Public Works Expands Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area

Charles County Acquisition Enhances Conservation and Recreation

Photo of Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management AreaThe Board of Public Works unanimously approved the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to acquire 182 acres in Charles County as an addition to Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area.

The mostly forested property along a tributary of Mattawoman Creek seeks to expand public access and recreation opportunities for birding, hiking, hunting, trapping and other outdoor activities in southern Maryland.

Read more…


Deer Firearms Season Opens Nov. 24

Maryland’s Most Popular Hunting Season Runs Through Dec. 8

Photo of majestic buck in a clearing

Photo by Steve Edwards

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces that the two-week firearm hunting season for sika and white-tailed deer opens Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 8. 

“The two-week firearms season remains our most popular hunting opportunity in the state,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “More than one-third of the harvest occurs during this two-week season, which helps manage the state’s deer population.”

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


Atlantic Population Canada Goose Season Begins Nov. 17

Split-Season Hunt for Migrating Waterfowl

Photo of Canada geese in flight

Photo by Larry Hindman

Maryland’s migratory Atlantic Population Canada goose hunting season begins Nov. 17, and is split into two segments: Nov. 17 through Nov. 23, 2018, and again from Dec. 14, 2018 through Feb. 2, 2019.

The daily bag limit is two geese a day in the Canada Goose Hunting Zone.

Read more…


Accessible Fishing Pier Opens in Queen Anne’s County

Floating Pier at Unicorn Lake Meets Americans with Disabilities Act Standards

Photo of ADA compliant fishing pier and gangway at Unicorn LakeThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources has opened a new floating fishing pier and gangway at the Unicorn Lake Fisheries Management Area that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessible Design Standards of 2010.

The department worked with the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Department of General Services to create this fully-accessible freshwater fishing pier on state land. 

The new 448-square-foot floating pier, located next to the boat launch, has enough space to accommodate multiple anglers. The aluminum gangway to the pier is adjacent to a newly constructed parking space and portable bathroom. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Nov. 10-11, 2018

Fall Foliage Map for Nov 10-11, 2018

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

The good news is that leaf peepers have an excellent chance of catching fall foliage at its peak in many parts of the state. However, predictions are that this is a very small window of opportunity. So plan to get outdoors in the next few days and catch the best color for autumn 2018. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Nov. 7

Photo of Rainbow trout with fly rod.

Brian Morgan sent in this picture of a rainbow trout caught recently. Photo by Brian Morgan

Frosty mornings are now common, the Canada geese are arriving and the fall foliage is in various stages of color change throughout the state. Old man winter is beckoning off in the distance and soon will be knocking on our door. Colder weather will be here soon, so be sure to enjoy the outdoors during this special time of the year.

Anglers continue to enjoy the results of the fall trout stocking program. Many trout management waters have been stocked and offer quality fishing, often close to home.

Read more…


Natural Resources Police Graduates New Officers

Force Welcomes Largest Staff Increase in 13 Years

Photo of new Maryland Natural Resources Police officersThe ranks of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police grew by 44 officers—the largest increase in manpower in 13 years – in recent graduation ceremonies. The additions come as the state’s conservation law enforcement agency celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Thirty-two recruits took the oath of office Nov. 3 and received their badges from Natural Resources Police Superintendent Col. Robert K. “Ken” Ziegler, Jr. The new officers received seven months of training at the agency’s live-in academy, based at the Maryland Police and Corrections facility in Sykesville.

“The sustainability of Maryland’s natural resources is ‘job one’ for all of us,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton told the graduates. “We need managers to set goals and scientists to inform our decisions and policies. It falls upon the men and women of the Natural Resources Police to enforce those decisions so that future generations have the same valuable outdoor experiences we enjoy.” Read more…


Public Input Sought for State Lake Funding

Maryland Approved $3 Million for Protection and Restoration

Photo of Greenbrier LakeThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host five open house events to solicit public input to help develop a work plan for the new State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund, which will provide $1 million for each of the next three years to improve state-owned lakes.

The department will develop a budget for best use of these 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 ecological and recreational value and any other action the department deems necessary at any or all of 16 lakes throughout Maryland. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Nov 3-4, 2018

Map of fall foliage and festivals

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Nov. 3 and 4, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

There is hope for Maryland leaf peepers after all. This is the weekend to take in some brilliant autumnal colors. 

Read more…


Secretary’s Message: November 2018

New Conservation Officers Step Up to the Challenge

Photo of Secretary Mark Belton onboard Natural 1It has been an exciting year for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police, as it celebrates its 150th anniversary and looks to the future with enhanced equipment, manpower and technology.

I’ve had the opportunity meet many brave, dedicated professionals through the years, but there is something special to me about a Natural Resources Police officer. To many it’s a dream job, getting to work outside and serve a vital conservation law enforcement mission: to protect the state’s precious natural resources and the citizens and visitors who enjoy them.

This month we are welcoming another 44 officers to our ranks, including 12 lateral officers who received a six weeks of environmental and natural resources training and 32 graduates of our own seven-month academy program. Everyone one of these officers will be out there, protecting our natural resources, serving our citizens and visitors, and upholding the agency’s core values: integrity, courtesy, dedication and professionalism. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Oct. 31

Photo of man holding striped bass

Shane Cole caught a nice striped bass near Chesapeake Beach on a jig with pink plastic trailer. Photo courtesy of Travis Long

Happy Halloween! A Nor’easter last Saturday kept many anglers off the bay. However, some boaters were able to find a lee area on the Eastern Shore, or they fished Friday or Sunday. These die-hard anglers were rewarded with good striped bass fishing, with most folks now jigging or trolling with artificial lures.

On the freshwater scene, many anglers are finding good trout fishing and more activity from coldwater species such as yellow perch, pike, walleye and pickerel in Western Maryland.

Read more…


Board Approves $6 Million for Fort Washington Ice Center

Program Open Space Funding Used to Rebuild Facility

Photo of Tucker Road Ice Skating Center

Former Tucker Road Ice Skating Center

The Board of Public Works unanimously approved a Maryland Department of Natural Resources item that provides $6 million to Prince George’s County for the development of the Tucker Road Ice Skating Center in Fort Washington. The board is comprised of Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp.

The county plans to use Program Open Space Local funds to rebuild the center that was damaged in a January 2017 fire. Program Open Space Local provides financial and technical assistance to communities and municipalities for the acquisition, development and planning of recreation facilities, and open space areas. The program has been managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources since 1969. Read more…


Maryland State Park Passes for 2019 Now Available

Provides Full Year Access to 75 State Parks

Photo of park passportThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now offering its 2019-2020 Annual State Park and Trail Passport for purchase. 

The park passport is available to residents for $75 and nonresidents for $100. The pass provides unlimited day-use admission and boat launching at state parks, and a 10 percent discount on state-operated concessions and boat rentals.

To enhance the pass’ convenience and value, the annual passport will now be valid for a full year from the month of purchase, instead of by calendar year making it a great deal for every outdoor enthusiast. For example, a passport purchased in April 2019 will expire in April 2020. And as an additional bonus for early-adopters and purchasers, any passport bought before Dec. 31, 2018, will be valid through December 2019, meaning two extra months at no additional cost!

Read more…


Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Scheduled

Upcoming Days for Mentoring Nov. 3 and Feb. 9

Photo f youth hunting waterfowlYoung Marylanders can hone their hunting skills with the help of an experienced adult during two Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days set for Nov. 3, 2018, and Feb. 9, 2019. 

On those days, anyone 16 years of age or younger may hunt coots, ducks and geese on private and public land when aided by an unarmed adult at least 21 years old.  All junior hunters and their adult mentors must possess Maryland hunting licenses. Youth hunters, including those possessing an apprentice license, must purchase a Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp, but do not need to purchase a federal duck stamp if under 16 years of age.

The Nov. 3 event comes just as the season’s first strong cold front pushes through Maryland, and seasoned waterfowlers are scanning the sky to catch any sign of migrating birds riding the winds south.  Read more…


Junior Deer Hunting Days Set for November

Young Hunters Can Learn Sporting Skills and Traditions

Photo of children with a deerThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources encourages experienced deer hunters to introduce youth to the time-honored cultural and sporting tradition this month during two Junior Deer Hunting Days.

The hunt will be held Nov. 10 on private and designated public land in all counties, and Nov. 11 on private land in all counties except Baltimore, Howard and Prince George’s. In Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties, the hunt is also open on designated public lands Nov. 11. Read more…


Black Bear Hunt Concludes in Western Maryland

135 Bears Harvested in Four Counties

Illustration of Black Bear from Conservation Stamp

“Autumn Morning” by Steve Oliver

Favorable weather conditions helped bear hunters enjoy success during Maryland’s 15th annual black bear hunt.

Official results reported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources show that 135 hunters harvested a bear during the five-day hunt held in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. Several large bears were taken throughout the hunt; bears weighing more than 400 pounds were taken in each county.

The largest bear taken weighed 575 pounds, and was harvested in Washington County by Robert Marks of Clear Spring. Read more…


Maryland Environmental Trust Offers Volunteer Training in November

Opportunity to Help Statewide Conservation Efforts

Photo of conservation volunteer training with Maryland Environmental TrustThe Maryland Environmental Trust is offering one-day volunteer training sessions for individuals interested in helping to monitor state conservation easements.

The sessions will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8, and 9:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 17 at the Howard County Conservancy (10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock, Maryland).

Read more…


Fall Turkey Season Opens in Western Maryland

Hunting Available in Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties

Photo of wild turkeys

Photo by Lori Bramble

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that the fall turkey hunting season will open Oct. 27 and continue through Nov. 4 in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties with a bag limit of one turkey per hunter.

The fall season was extended to include an additional day, Sunday, Nov. 4. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Oct. 27-28, 2018

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Oct. 27 and 28, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Oct. 24

Photo of Man holding striped bass.

Photo by Travis Long

We are now deep into a fall fishing pattern, with classic cold fronts and gusty northerly winds. This past weekend, anglers who were able to get out before or after the winds found good striped bass fishing over a wide area of the Chesapeake Bay, from Love Point down to the Calvert Cliffs gas docks area.

Read more…


Forestland Protected in Wicomico County

Maryland Environmental Trust Partners on Conservation Easement Near Quantico

Photo of forestland property protected by conservation easement in Wicomico CountyThe Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, partnered with the Lower Shore Land Trust to permanently protect 154 acres in the Nanticoke River watershed.  Property owner Mike Phillips donated the conservation easement forever protecting this important forestland.  

Located near more than 2,300 acres of protected lands, the easement is in a rural area of Wicomico County just outside of the village of Quantico and the Quantico Historic District.  The surrounding area is dominated by farm and forest land.

Read more…


Summer 2018 Hypoxia Report

Average Year for Chesapeake Bay Dissolved Oxygen

Photo of Terrapin Park by Mark Dignen

Terrapin Park Driftwood Sunset by Mark Dignen

Dissolved oxygen conditions for the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay for the summer of 2018 were average compared to the long-term average from 1985-2017, reports the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Low dissolved oxygen volume averaged 0.97 cubic miles from June through September.

Crabs, fish, oysters and other creatures require oxygen to survive. Scientists and natural resource managers study the volume and duration of bay hypoxia to determine possible impacts to bay life. Each year from June through September, the department computes these volumes from data collected by Maryland and Virginia monitoring teams. Read more…


Invasion Coming to Point Lookout State Park Oct. 27-28

The War of 1812 Returns in Dramatic Fashion

Photo of Point LookoutVisitors are invited to Point Lookout State Park the weekend of Oct. 27-28 to witness 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. 27, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28. There will also be a Saturday evening program. Read more…


State Tree Nursery Now Accepting Orders

Opportunity for Large-scale Plantings on Private Lands

Photo of tree and shrub seedlings packaged for delivery from the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is now accepting online orders for shrub and tree seedlings from the John S. Ayton State Forest Tree Nursery for the spring 2019 planting season.

The nursery offers more than 50 species of shrubs and trees for large-scale plantings on private land to meet a wide variety of conservation, environmental and reforestation needs. It also offers 20 different “pollinator friendly” options.

A minimum order of 25 seedlings per species is required, and supplies are limited.  Read more…


Fort Frederick Hosts ‘A Pleasant Diversion’ Oct. 27-28

History is all Fun and Games for a Weekend

Photo of Fort Frederick State ParkVisitors to Fort Frederick State Park in Washington County can experience the lighter side of the French and Indian War during an annual living history event 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28.

Members of the recreated Joshua and Alexander Beall’s Company and Maryland Militia will bring the fort to life so visitors can enjoy a ‘pleasant diversion’ of period activities and games.

Highlights include cricket, fencing, foot races, a colonial-era fashion show and making of Jack-o-lanterns.

Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Oct. 20-21, 2018

Fall Foliage and Festimal Map

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Oct. 20 and 21, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: October 17

Photo of Boy losing his grip on a trout.

One of the first things any young angler learns is to get a good grip on that trout! Photo courtesy of Nathan Williams

This week offers some exciting fishing opportunities for Maryland anglers – the weather is just about right, the changing color of the leaves paints a beautiful backdrop to outdoor activities and there are plenty of eager fish to catch. 

For the next few weeks, state hatcheries are stocking most trout management waters throughout Maryland. The trout are providing quality fishing close to home and allowing success on a fishing adventure, especially for our young anglers. 

At the Atlantic coast, sea bass, flounder and dolphin are biting.

And in the Chesapeake Bay, autumn is one of the most anticipated times for striped bass fishing. Rockfish like the cooler water temperatures and begin to feed aggressively to build up lost body stores. Cooler water also forces baitfish in the form of bay anchovies, juvenile menhaden and silversides to exit the tidal rivers and head down the bay.

Read more…


Board of Public Works Awards $3.8 Million for Baltimore City Parks

Five Projects to Improve Accessibility, Connectivity and Usability

Photo of Baltimore CityThe Board of Public Works today unanimously approved a Maryland Department of Natural Resources item that allocates $3,875,000 to Baltimore City for the construction, development and enhancement of five recreation projects.

Funding will be provided through Program Open Space Local as well as Baltimore City Direct grants through Program Open Space Stateside.

“These new and revamped recreational spaces are a critical part of improving the quality of life for Baltimore City residents – especially our kids,” said Governor Hogan. “We are committed to preserving our state’s natural resources while providing well-maintained and safe green spaces, and we are proud to add these Baltimore City locations to the more than 6,000 park and conservation area projects our administration has funded through Program Open Space.”

Read more…


Survey Finds Healthy Striped Bass Reproduction

Positive Outlook for Iconic Fish in 65th Annual Index

Photo of staff conducting 2018 Striped Bass young of year surveyThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced results of its annual young-of-year striped bass survey in Chesapeake Bay, which documented healthy reproduction of the state fish. The 2018 young-of-year index is 14.8, higher than the 65-year average of 11.8.

Known locally as rockfish, striped bass spawn in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries each spring. The juvenile striped bass survey is conducted annually to measure spawning success and help predict future abundance. The index represents the average number of young-of-year – those hatched in the current year – striped bass captured in each sample.

During this year’s survey, department biologists collected more than 36,000 fish of 55 species, including 1,951 young-of-year striped bass. Results show that white perch and American shad also experienced above-average spawning success this spring. Read more…


Department Launches New Shellfish Aquaculture Application Tools

Customer Service Enhancements to Provide Early Notification of Proposed Leases

Photo of aquaculture cageThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources today launched a new set of online tools to help educate and engage the public on proposed aquaculture lease applications. The tools, which include a dynamic database and email notification system, will provide information on pending and proposed commercial shellfish lease applications when they are received by the department.

The customer service enhancements are being rolled out after a series of conversations and meetings with aquaculturists, commercial watermen, community and county leaders, homeowners associations and others throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Read more…


Early Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Season Set to Begin

Popular Season Coincides with Changing Fall Weather

Photo of deer by Michael Douglas

Photo courtesy of Michael Douglas

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the first segment of Maryland’s muzzleloader deer season opens statewide Oct. 18. 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. 18-20 in Deer Management Regions A and B. Region A consists of Garrett, Allegany and western Washington counties (private land codes 250 and 251); Region B is the rest of the state. Hunters in Region B can also use muzzleloaders from Oct. 22-27 for antlerless deer only. Read more…


Black Bear Cub Rescued in McHenry

Plastic Container Successfully Removed from ‘Buckethead’

Photo of a black bear

Buckethead

After a three day pursuit, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Service, with assistance from the Maryland Natural Resources Police, successfully tranquilized a 100-pound male black bear cub to remove a plastic jar that was stuck around its head.

The rescued cub, affectionately known as “Buckethead,” was freed near the Wisp Resort in McHenry during the annual Autumn Glory Festival. Read more…


Managed Goose Hunt at Deep Creek and Broadford Lakes

Permit and Reservations Available for Nov. 19-21 Hunt

Photo of Canada geese in flightThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces opportunities to hunt resident Canada goose and waterfowl in Garrett County for the third consecutive year.

Hunters can apply to use three blind sites on Deep Creek Lake and four blind sites at Broadford Lake Nov. 19-21, 2018. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Oct. 13-14, 2018

Map of fall foliage and festivalsWelcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Oct. 13 and 14, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Garrett County Forester Melissa Nash reports that most of the maples turned brown early and are already bare. “We did get some color last week, but most of those are now bare. Many of the oaks are still pretty green, but are starting to change.” While this is Autumn Glory Festival weekend in Oakland and typically peak season for fall foliage, Nash believe it may be a bit muted. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Oct. 10

Photo of man with snakehead

Grant Morris caught this nice snakehead while kayak fishing. Photo by Don Goff

We have been in a warmer, dry “Indian summer” weather pattern. Many anglers have been getting out on the bay to enjoy action with top water striped bass, late season bluefish and the last of the Spanish mackerel.


Read more…


New Paddle-In Camping Opportunities on the Potomac River

Enhanced Access at Two Southern Maryland State Parks

Photo of Newtowne Neck State Park by Mark Odell

Newtowne Neck State Park by Mark Odell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and National Park Service announced the completion of a project to expand and enhance paddle-in camping opportunities in Southern Maryland.

The improved access allows longer overnight paddling excursions along the Potomac River with beautiful landing spots at Point Lookout State Park and Newtowne Neck State Park, both located in St. Mary’s County. Read more…


Managed Archery Deer Hunt Scheduled at North Point State Park

Limited to Select Dates in November

Photo of hunterThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that a managed archery deer hunt will take place at North Point State Park in Baltimore County on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in November, beginning Nov. 2 and continuing through Nov. 21, 2018.

Thirteen hunters per day will be permitted to hunt in five specified areas of the park. 

Read more…


Bohemia River State Park Hosts Open House

Preview the Eastern Shore’s Newest State Park Oct. 27 Nov. 11

Photo of Bohemia River State Park taken from the waterThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27 Nov. 11 at the new Bohemia River State Park in Cecil County, located at 3864 Augustine Herman Highway in Chesapeake City. The event was rescheduled from its original date due to impending weather. 

Community partners, outdoor enthusiasts and others are invited to see and tour the property, and share thoughts on the newest state park on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Read more…


Black Bear Activity Increases in Fall

Residents Reminded to Take Common-Sense Precautions

Photo of bear eating from a birdfeederThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds residents and visitors that black bears are beginning a period of increased feeding activity in preparation for winter hibernation or torpor. Black bears in Maryland are concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.

During this time, bears may become more attracted to human-provided food sources and lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to potentially dangerous encounters. Read more…


Fall Brings Heightened Risk of Wildfire

Marylanders Urged to Take Extra Precautions

Photo of brushfireFire Prevention Week begins Oct. 7, coinciding with the beginning of the fall wildfire season in Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents throughout the state to take precautions as the changing foliage increases the risks of wildland fires spreading through brush and forests. 

Wildfires occur every month in Maryland, but peak in the spring and fall. During these two seasons the leaves fall off deciduous trees, allowing sunlight and wind to reach the forest floor drying out brush, leaves and vegetation and other debris that can catch aflame. The relative humidity of the air is also drier and, combined with a breeze, creates favorable conditions for wildfires to spread rapidly. Read more…


National Training Programs Graduate Two Natural Resources Police Officers

Advanced Skills in Conservation, Homeland Security Missions

Photo of Lt. Medellin, NACLEC Pres. Eddie Henderson (left), NACLEC Executive Director Randy Stark

Lt. Catherine Medellin with National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs officers Eddie Henderson (left) and Randy Stark.

Two Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police lieutenants recently graduated from law enforcement training academies that specialize in advanced leadership skills.

Read more…


Maryland Awarded Grant to Track Wildlife with Nanotags

Multistate Partnership to Study Eight Migratory Species

Photo of a tricolored batThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Willistown Conservation Trust, Pennsylvania Game Commission and neighboring states, received funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to dramatically expand a revolutionary new migration tracking system across a five-state area.

The competitive grant, totaling about $500,000, has been awarded to a consortium of conservation partners in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and specifically targets the study of eight species of greatest conservation concern in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, including Bicknell’s and Swainson’s thrushes, blackpoll and Canada warblers, rusty blackbirds and northern myotis bats.

Read more…


Maryland Conservation Corps Welcomes 2018-2019 Class

Program Brings Young People into Natural Resource Management

Photo of Maryland Conservation Corps ClassThe Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently welcomed 35 new members to the Maryland Conservation Corps.

Each year, this award-winning AmeriCorps program attracts young adults, aged 17-25, to work in comprehensive natural resource management projects and assist with conservation and environmental education efforts at public lands and parks throughout Maryland. Read more…


Fall Foliage and Festival Report: Oct. 6 and 7

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Western Maryland 4-H Camp in Swanton, photo by Forester Melissa Nash

4-H Camping Center

What a difference a week makes! In Western Maryland, autumn began with a slow start; however, the most recent field reports are encouraging. Garrett County Forester Melissa Nash says things are starting to change more rapidly, as seen in her photo taken at the Maryland 4-H Environmental Education and Camping Center in Swanton. Read more…


Maryland Fishing Report: Oct. 3

Photo of four anglers with their striped bass catch

Photo by Rich Watts

Welcome to “Rocktober!”

Heavy rains continued through much of last week, but we finally had some beautiful sunny weather over the weekend. Many anglers got out on the bay to enjoy action with striped bass, bluefish and southern visitors such as speckled trout and red drum.


Read more…


$1 Million Approved for Montgomery County Park

Funding for Development on Pinecrest Local Park

Photo of Pinecrest Local ParkThe Board of Public Works today unanimously approved a Maryland Department of Natural Resources item that will commit $1 million for the development of Pinecrest Local Park in Montgomery County.

The 5.6-acre park, managed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is adjacent to Pine Crest Elementary School.

Program Open Space Local funds will be used to construct improvements to the Silver Spring park, including regrading a multipurpose field, constructing a 6-foot wide accessible trail around the field and associated accessibility, drainage and stormwater management enhancements. Read more…


Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants Now Available

Department Seeks Local Proposals for Public Outdoor Recreation Projects

Photo of Pirate’s Wharf in Worcester County

Pirate’s Wharf in Wicomico County

The Maryland of Department Natural Resources announced that counties and municipalities can now apply for grant funding from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. Communities are encouraged to apply and submit preliminary application forms by Dec. 18, 2018.

“I encourage communities across Maryland to take advantage of this grant opportunity aimed at enhancing outdoor recreation and overall quality of life,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “If you are working to recruit and retain a solid base of businesses, residents or visitors, perhaps it’s time to consider adding or expanding an outdoor amenity or facility, be it a bike trail or boat ramp.” Read more…


Maryland Coastal Bays Report Card Shows Historic High Score

Scientific Collaborative Sees Best Bay Progress in Decades

Photo of Coastal Bays Report CardMaryland’s Coastal Bays have received their highest grade ever reported according to the new 2017 Coastal Bays Report Card from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, a snapshot assessment on the health and resiliency of the coastal bays surrounding Ocean City and Assateague Island. The “B-” grade reflects the positive trend nutrient reductions have shown  in many locations since 1999.

“Maryland’s Coastal Bays are an integral part of our region, and are unique ecological treasures in the landscape of the Eastern Shore and our great state,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “The marked improvement we see in the bays’ health is the result of significant state investment, as well as the work and dedicated stewardship of many Marylanders.” Read more…


Fort Frederick Hosts Picketing the Potomac

Living History Event Oct. 6 and 7

Photo of Civil War reenactorsFort Frederick State Park in Washington County invites Marylanders to take a journey back in time to commemorate the fort’s role in the American Civil War. Union, Confederate and civilian reenactors will assemble for a weekend of living history and tactics demonstrations.

The weekend program takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 7.  Read more…


Applications Open for Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants

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

Photo of volunteersThe Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is now accepting applications for the Keep Maryland Beautiful grants program.

The five grants being offered 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. 15, 2018. Awards will be announced in spring 2019. Read more…


Outdoor Enthusiasts Have Yet Another Way to Give Back

Partnership with Chesapeake Bay Trust Establishes Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund

Photo of waterfowl hunter at duskAnglers, boaters and hunters who purchase their licenses or registrations from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have a new way to give back to natural resources they enjoy and love. In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the department announced today a new voluntary option in the online checkout for the Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund.

Funds generated by the new program will be distributed as grants for on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects that seek to enhance habitat and water quality as well as programs aimed at getting K-12 students outdoors. Grants will be provided to nonprofits in support of environmental and natural resources priorities throughout the state, from the Youghiogheny to the Coastal Bays. Read more…


Aboveboard: Fall 2018

Mark Belton HeadshotFall is a great time to enjoy our state’s spectacular and diverse terrain and gain a better understanding of the role it plays in our culture, heritage and living history. Opportunities abound to immerse yourself in the scenic splendor, storied past and bright and prosperous future.

In this edition of the Maryland Natural Resource magazine, we learn more about the Piscataway, a Native American tribe in Southern Maryland that had lost their identity throughout colonization. This tribe recently gained official recognition by the state and has an agreement with some of our state parks, where they will host events to educate the public of our shared heritage. Read more…


Ask an Expert: Fall 2018

Are you looking for a trail to hike with your pup? Wondering why dam removal is beneficial? Our experts have the answers!  Read more…


The Mysterious Delmarva Bays: Exploring Maryland’s most unusual wetlands

Eastern tiger salamander; by Mike Burchett

If you look closely at an aerial survey—what scientists call a digital elevation model—of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, you would notice thousands of small, elliptical depressions dotting the landscape like a bad case of chicken pox. The shallow basins are difficult to observe from the ground, and many have been filled in for agricultural use or obscured by new-growth forests.

Nevertheless, these seasonal freshwater wetlands, called Delmarva bays, are integral to the coastal ecosystem and home to a remarkable number of rare or endangered species. For many years, researchers struggled to understand what caused these egg-shaped ponds, which are found along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from New Jersey to Florida. Read more…


The Intern Experience: Students see green jobs up close

Filing reports? Fetching coffee? What do you think this is—a boring bureaucracy gig? Over the summer, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources welcomed 22 interns in seven units to gain invaluable hands-on experience. Several trips into the field were also arranged for maximum exposure to different areas of expertise, as well as an opportunity to meet others in the program. Read more…


From the Field: Angela Crenshaw

photo of visitor center building from marshy land nearby

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park; by Stephen Badger

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, which opened in March 2017, has educated hundreds of thousands of guests on the life and legacy of an incredible Maryland leader. Such a place itself requires passionate leadership, which it has clearly found in Assistant Park Manager Ranger Angela Crenshaw. Read more…


Piscataway-Conoy: Rejuvenating ancestral ties to southern parks

Recognition event in Annapolis; by Jay Baker

When English explorer John Smith arrived in what is now Maryland in 1608, he was astounded by the bounty that would later become the lifeblood of its colonization. He noted that there was, “No place more perfect for man’s habitation,” than the Chesapeake Bay. And he was right. The bay and its rivers offered a hearty supply of crabs, fish, oysters and waterfowl, while the forests and hills teemed with bear, deer, fox, rabbit, turkey and game birds of all kind. Maryland was a virtual paradise with seemingly endless resources. The English had discovered what native people had known for millennia. Read more…


Flexing Maryland Mussel: Restoring an imperiled wild species

photo of biologists, close-up of woman looking for mussels in water

Harvested mussels are transferred into purposefully selected areas of the Patapsco River; by Stephen Badger

Highly sensitive to habitat and landscape alterations, the most common freshwater mussel species in the state has been absent from the Patapsco River for decades.

Fortunately, collaborative efforts between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have resulted in the return of hundreds of mussels to this scenic river, while more are being cultivated in hatcheries to further restore the native population. Read more…


A Good Day for Ducks: Beautiful results of conservation

Photo of colorful duck

Male wood duck; by Scott Suriano

For most Americans, the word “duck” conjures up the image of the quintessential mallard drake, with his green head, yellow beak and classic “quack!” Some Marylanders, however, are much more attached to another bird: the wood duck, or Aix sponsa. The male’s iridescent green crest, scarlet eyes and beak, and speckled chestnut breast make him unmistakable. So beautiful is the wood duck’s plumage that the Latin name sponsa means “betrothed,” as though he is dressed in his finest clothes for a wedding. Read more…


Tactical Response: Natural Resources Police takes on homeland security

Officers practice their rapid approach; staff photo

Two low-slung boats glide through the water, heavily armed officers hunkered down inside. They dart to the side of a commercial vessel and within moments, the officers are on board and racing for the bridge.

A sweep of the engine room and living quarters ferrets out a man with a knife who has threatened to kill a passenger. The attacker is placed in handcuffs. The vessel is declared secure. The danger is over.

This time—in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor—it is only a drill. But members of the Maryland Natural Resources Police Tactical Response Team know that it may not be practice the next time there’s a call. Read more…


Dolphin Mania: Technology boosts public eye

photo of dolphins jumping waves

Bottlenose dolphins; courtesy of NASA

The earliest recorded historical accounts of dolphins were approximately 1600 B.C., where they were found depicted on ancient frescoes in the Palace of Knossos on the Greek Island of Crete.

According to author Chris Catton, the image of dolphins rescuing sailors or carrying humans recurs again and again in myth and folklore.

“The sculptures, the mosaics, the beautifully engraved and painted pottery,” he explains, “tell us that they were important, but not why.” Read more…


Green Jobs, Bright Futures: Workforce development provides entry to natural resources careers

Photo of group in stream with equipment and map

Stream restoration; by Trystan Sill

“I love the outdoors,” says Fallon Jones. “I have a 9-year-old son and just being able to get into an industry where I can show him, not only about the environment, but also that mommy does something to help the planet—that’s just a great aspect for me.”

Jones is a graduate of Work2Live WELL, a new workforce development and skills training program at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that affords fast-track entry into jobs in aquaculture, boating, commercial fisheries, forestry, restoration, stormwater management and wildlife management. Read more…


First Shot: Freshly minted turkey hunters help keep tradition alive

photo of group standing with banner

A group of participants; staff photo

The morning was crisp and unusually cool for April; perfect for a morning hunt. As they trekked to their stations, pairs of hunters were enveloped in a darkness intensifying the sounds and smells of the sleeping woods. As the sun began its slow creep into the morning sky, some were greeted by wildlife they had never seen in person—bald eagles, sika deer and skunks, all stirring at the first signs of dawn.

The excitement and nerves were palpable, ratcheting higher as the sounds of the woods came alive. Hunters listened intently to the eerie sika bugle in the distance, the everpresent scratching of squirrels, birds fluttering between branches and finally, the reason they all woke up early: that first morning gobble.

For 14 individuals, this was their first early morning walk into the woods with one task in mind: to hunt wild turkey. Read more…


Secretary’s Message: October 2018

Positive Grades for Maryland’s Coastal Bays

Photo of Secretary Mark BeltonThe Maryland Coastal Bays Program recently unveiled the 2017 Coastal Bays Report Card, a snapshot assessment on the health and resiliency of the coastal bays surrounding Ocean City and Assateague Island. The bays’ collective health received a “B-,” its highest grade ever reported! Nutrient reductions have shown a positive trend in many locations since 1999.

Maryland’s Coastal Bays are a unique ecological treasure in the landscape of the Eastern Shore. They make up one of the richest, most diverse estuaries on the East Coast. For more than a century, agriculture, fishing, forestry, hunting – and more recently  – tourism have sustained ways of life built on the land and water resources in this coastal community.

The ongoing effort to preserve and protect our five coastal bays and the St. Martin River is showing signs of success thanks to our engaged communities and partners.

Read more…


« Newer Entries     Older Entries »

Featured Video



Maryland DNR Virtual Ranger

Join our Maryland State Park Rangers on a video virtual ranger experience

Archives




ae1a-ewspw-web2