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Maryland DNR 2021 Photo Contest Now Open

Entries for Annual Contest Taken Until August 5 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, park passes, and other great prizes.







Tools of the Trade: Telemetry

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


Outside Perspective: Fall 2020

Autumn is a time marked by cooling weather, falling leaves, and, of course, elections. While the pandemic has initiated an important discussion on how to hold elections, historically, Marylanders gathered in election houses to cast their votes. Election houses were small, purpose-built structures constructed specifically for voting. Today only a handful of them survive. One  Read the Rest…


Earth Day 2020: Love Letters to Earth

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 marked the birth of the modern environmental movement. In response to the movement, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were all created and Congress authorized the Environmental Protection Agency. On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we continue to focus our concern on sustaining  Read the Rest…


Fishing for Conservation: Rules and Commonsense Tactics Protect Striped Bass

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



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

Dedicated to protecting the five coastal bays behind Ocean City and Assateague Island, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) conducts research, restoration, monitoring, and education and outreach opportunities thanks to powerful partnerships. Maryland’s coastal bays make up one of the richest, most diverse estuaries on the eastern seaboard. For more than a century, agriculture, forestry,  Read the Rest…


Tools of the Trade: Electrofishing

It’s electric! Electrofishing is a technique used by fish biologists to collect fish in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes. This tool uses an electric field, emitted from a pulser, to temporarily stun fish. The fish can then be collected via dip net for identification. Data collected from electrofishing can be used to determine abundance, density,  Read the Rest…


Outside Perspective

As we conclude the 50th anniversary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, we head into commemorating more important milestones. This April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Throughout this edition of The Natural Resource, we highlight the important work our staff, volunteers, and partners are doing on behalf of our mission to  Read the Rest…


The Nature of Change

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


Flow of Information: Surveying the Health of Maryland Streams

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




Investing in Resilience: Trust Fund Shores Up a Successful Decade

For decades, environmental advocates have been working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Recognizing the detrimental impact of impervious surface and forest loss on the watershed, this group of passionate scientists, engineers, fishermen, and others pulled together shoestring budgets and devoted hours to lay the groundwork for a restoration economy in  Read the Rest…



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

The 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement committed Maryland and Virginia to restore native oyster habitat and populations in 10 bay tributaries by 2025—five in each state. The five Maryland tributaries containing these sanctuaries are: • Harris Creek, a tributary of the Choptank River, Talbot County • Little Choptank River, Dorchester County • Tred Avon River,  Read the Rest…



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

Ah, springtime. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and foresters across Maryland are planting trees! Whether it’s through the Maryland Forest Service’s seedling giveaway program Backyard Buffers, or getting students and schools planting through Tree-Mendous, the Forest Service’s mission of getting trees in the ground never stops. With at least 72% of forests  Read the Rest…



Save the Bay: Eat Invasive!

Maryland’s infamous invasive fishes — blue catfish, northern snakehead, and flathead catfish — were introduced to bay waters without Maryland Department of Natural Resources authorization. These species now pose an array of potential problems for the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Even with increased fishing pressure, controlling the abundance of invasives after  Read the Rest…


The Nature of Change

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



Outside Perspective

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, a time to enjoy the cooler weather and changing leaves. One thing never changes, though —  the stewardship that Maryland citizens show in support of our natural resources. In this edition of our magazine, we feature the work of our 2019 Natural Resources Photo Contest winners, which captures  Read the Rest…


Ask an Expert: Moon Names

I’ve heard full moons referred to as Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, and others – where do these names come from and what do they signify? Jack in Frostburg Nicknames for full moons have an ancient history, and it is closely tied to the cycle of natural resources. In North America, native tribes and later early  Read the Rest…


Recipe: Venison Steaks with Chimichurri

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








Timeline: Our Story Begins

The units that make up today’s Department of Natural Resources mostly date back farther than 1969, many having gone through numerous names and structural changes before and even after becoming part of the department. The earliest version of what is now a Department of Natural Resources function is the Maryland Geological Survey, which originated with  Read the Rest…



From the Field: Biologist Brooke Landry

Brooke Landry’s passion for biology started early. “I was a little science geek,” she laughs. Her interest in underwater grasses really picked up as she snorkeled around coral reefs and beds of seagrass on a middle school class trip to Belize. A few undergrad summers spent studying salt marshes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore immersed her  Read the Rest…


Outside Perspective

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



The Nature of Change

Maryland has changed quite a bit in the past 50 years, but one thing has remained the same: the dedication and hard work of the employees of the Department of Natural Resources. Since its official founding on July 1, 1969, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has conserved, protected and restored the critical areas of  Read the Rest…


Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas: Now Available!

Calling all reptile and amphibian enthusiasts! The Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas is now available through Johns Hopkins University Press. This collaborative atlas is a result of over 1,000 community scientist volunteers and biologists working together to document distributions of reptiles and amphibians across Maryland. The guide contains over 85 natural history accounts of reptiles  Read the Rest…









Recipe: Grilled Duck Breasts with Red Currant Sauce

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.



Outside Perspective

As 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  Read the Rest…


Aboveboard: Winter 2019

A 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  Read the Rest…




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

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  Read the Rest…


From the Field: Captain Eddie Somers

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  Read the Rest…



Natural History: Centuries of Maryland conservation laws in one document

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;  Read the Rest…



Aboveboard: Fall 2018

Fall 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,  Read the Rest…





From the Field: Angela Crenshaw

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.






Dolphin Mania: Technology boosts public eye

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  Read the Rest…




Aboveboard: Summer 2018

We’ve always known the lands, waters and wildlife of Maryland to be unique treasures waiting to be discovered. Now more people are realizing that stewardship and conservation of our natural resources can go hand-in-hand with economic benefits. Recognizing that potential, the Department of Natural Resources works in partnership with the Department of Commerce on efforts to  Read the Rest…






Falling Out of Step and Running Out of Time? A closer look at the life of Maryland’s declining state insect

Signs of spring were late to arrive in Maryland this year. Still, as temperatures slowly rose and days lengthened throughout April, leaves grew on trees and plants sprouted into flower. Birds and spring peepers made their presence known through trilling song and chirping call, and insects began to take wing. Later this year, frosty mornings  Read the Rest…




From the Field: John Wilson

After 33 years with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, John Wilson considers himself “the old man” of land planning. He came on board in 1985 fresh from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program. He began writing plans for state parks. His first project was to develop a plan for the south cell of  Read the Rest…


Wye Island by Boat: Paddlers gain new access

A new public access site on Wye Island in Queen Anne’s County opens the scenic island to new recreational opportunities. With support from outdoor gear manufacturer REI Co-op, whose generous funding matched a grant from the Maryland State Highway Administration’s National Recreational Trails Program, the Chesapeake Conservancy successfully completed the installation of a new canoe and  Read the Rest…






The Nature of Change: Spring 2018

I’m proud to help commemorate an important milestone in Maryland history—150 years since the founding of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. The department is our first state law enforcement agency, predating the Maryland State Police by almost a half-century, and is also one of the oldest conservation law enforcement organizations in the nation.


Aboveboard: Spring 2018

Spring is an exciting time for those of us who are passionate about the great outdoors. For many, the longer days and warmer weather leads us to adventure out onto the water, particularly the Chesapeake Bay. In this edition of the Maryland Natural Resource, you can find a promising progress report from our partners at  Read the Rest…







Our Shared Role: Resilience abounds throughout the watershed

Progress. It’s a word with many definitions, including, “A forward or onward movement toward an objective or goal.” At the Chesapeake Bay Program, progress is measured in the 10 goals of our Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. When our partnership—consisting of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay  Read the Rest…



From the Field: Kerry Wixted

A Baltimore City native, Kerry was always outside as a child. When she got on her first bicycle, she was off to Herring Run Park—exploring, investigating, listening—curious about the natural world within the city.


The Nature of Change: Winter 2018

Maryland is abundant with natural, cultural, historical and recreational resources that contribute significantly to our economy and quality of life. My administration is committed to doing everything we can to expand opportunities for our citizens and visitors to appreciate all that our state has to offer, and to create and grow economic opportunities for all  Read the Rest…


Aboveboard: Winter 2018

For the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, winter is anything but the “offseason.” Our state offers a wide range of outdoor recreation for all seasons. In this edition of the Maryland Natural Resource, our experts discuss some true winter activities: snowmobiling and ice-fishing. These sound like things you hear about in the frozen north, but  Read the Rest…







By Air, Land or Sea: What surveys tell us

Aldo Leopold, a well-known environmental ethicist, once penned, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” Since conservation is at the very core of our charge here at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, we are required to have a profound understanding of our ever-changing natural world and the impact of mankind upon  Read the Rest…



What’s Old is New, What’s Green is You: A behind-the-scenes look at the recycling process

If you are like most Marylanders, you probably already have a general understanding of recycling and why it is important. Charged with protecting the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s population is particularly engaged in environmental issues. It is no surprise, then, that recycling has increasingly become the norm here, with recycling rates climbing from less than 20  Read the Rest…



From the Field: Kim Hernandez

When Kim Hernandez moved to the East Coast after graduating from the University of Kansas, she became known among her Atlantic coast peers as “the girl from Kansas who’s going to save the oceans.” Although she grew up in the landlocked Midwest, Hernandez wasn’t isolated from the water. She frequented the Gulf of Mexico while  Read the Rest…











Connecting Outdoor Enthusiasts in a digital world

Two decades ago, staff of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources connected with our customers through letters, the occasional television or radio story, phone calls, and articles in newspapers that were published from press releases we physically mailed out. Fax machines, landline phones, single reflex cameras and typewriters were the communications tools of the day.  Read the Rest…


From the Field: Monte Mitchell, State Fire Supervisor

Employees of the Maryland Forest Service perform many roles. Some plant trees, some manage their harvest, some inspect properties. Some even battle wildland fires and educate the public about fire safety. Leading this operation is Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell. As part of my internship, I sat down with him to ask how it all works.




Aboveboard: Fall 2017

As fall settles in across the Old Line State, we become a little more sensitive to the sounds of rustling leaves on the ground, the moan of wind through the trees, and the eerie sensation out in nature that we’re not alone. In this edition of the Maryland Natural Resource, we investigate some fascinating phenomena  Read the Rest…


The Nature of Change: Fall 2017

The Chesapeake Bay is Maryland’s most treasured natural asset. Since taking office, our administration has made incredible progress toward protecting the bay, including more than $3 billion in restoration efforts—an unprecedented investment. We continue to make great strides—this year the bay received one of the highest scores calculated by scientists at the University of Maryland  Read the Rest…


Celebrating 50 Years: Greenbrier State Park

It’s hard to imagine a time when there were no state parks. Most of Maryland’s were created between 1945-1975, though even by 1960 there still weren’t very many. Under the direction of Gov. J. Millard Tawes, the state began acquiring property and creating several new sites.


Es Mi Parque: This is my park

In the United States, we are fortunate to have access to vast public lands, from local parks and state-managed assets to national monuments and other cultural sites for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone. These household names instantly call to mind dramatic, inspiring and somehow familiar  Read the Rest…














Osprey Watch: Protecting raptors and preventing outages

Osprey are one of the Chesapeake Bay region’s crown jewels. The raptors’ return each March causes nature lovers to gaze skyward as the birds rebuild their nests for breeding season. They seek high ground to keep their young safe. They are also highly adaptable making nearly anything a potential site for their homes, from trees to utility poles.










White-tailed Deer: Management across diverse landscapes

Much has happened with deer management in Maryland during the nearly 20 years since White-tailed Deer, Another Perspective first appeared in the Natural Resource magazine. At the time the article was written, deer were rapidly increasing in number and the problems associated with overpopulation were escalating.







Autumn Falls: A photo essay

Simply put, waterfalls are nothing more than rivers flowing over rocks but that doesn’t stop them from being among the most wondrous sights our natural world has to offer. You may think the only way to enjoy such areas beyond social media is to travel to faraway states, but I’m here to show you the  Read the Rest…



If These Walls Could Talk: Maryland’s Resident Curatorship Program

From the remains of Native American settlements to development undertaken by Europeans, it is difficult to find a part of Maryland that does not possess a unique story to tell. As the largest single public landowner, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources manages a huge portfolio of historically significant properties full of important archeological, architectural  Read the Rest…






On Duty: State park lifeguards

Maryland State Parks annually host more than 6 million visitors between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They come to enjoy the campgrounds, trails and playgrounds, and to cool off in the water. Many parks boast water attractions like lakes and beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and Deep Creek Lake, and even a couple  Read the Rest…


Coyotes in Maryland: Where they came from and what to expect

No, coyotes didn’t ride into the state at the hand of insurance companies looking to thin out the deer herd to reduce deer-vehicle collisions. And no, wildlife management agencies didn’t stock them across the state. These are two funny but common myths surrounding the arrival of these highly adaptable mid-sized canines and their arrival in  Read the Rest…





Birds Without Borders: Continental bird conservation

One hundred years ago, North America united for birds. This August marks the 100th anniversary of the first Migratory Bird Treaty. This groundbreaking international agreement between the United States and Canada was our country’s first international commitment to protect natural resources across political boundaries. This milestone set the stage for continent-wide cooperative protection of migratory  Read the Rest…






The American Tree Farm System: Celebrating 75 years

Department of Natural Resources forester Scott Daniels remembers that day nearly 30 years ago like it was yesterday. He was on his way to the Dorchester County homestead of Richard Abend, a federal worker who spent his free time tending the 106-wooded acres of Abend Hafen Farm—German for “Evening Heaven.”


A Walk in the Park: Rocks

Residents and visitors seeking a magnificent outdoor adventure in Harford County need not look further than Rocks State Park. Totaling 855 acres and nestled within Deer Creek Valley, the park boasts three separate day-use areas—Hills Grove, Rock Ridge and Wilson’s—each providing unique recreation opportunities.






Talkin’ Turkey: A wildlife success story

You want to talk turkey? Talk to Frank Ryan. The Reisterstown resident has seen them at their lowest point, when the state’s wild turkey population hovered near 2,000. And he’s watched with pride as their numbers puffed up like a tom in full strut to about 35,000 birds.


The Secret Saw-Whet: Hiding in plain sight

The northern saw-whet owl disappears simply by not moving. Flapping its wings would give it away. So, it remains motionless—a behavior developed through the ages—rather than fleeing from danger, using its neutral colors and physiology as natural camouflage. While relatively rare in Maryland, they are common but seldom-observed birds found across North America, from southern  Read the Rest…


Through an Educator’s Eyes: Explore and Restore Maryland Streams

Modeling practices used by Department of Natural Resources scientists, adventurous teachers and their inspired students have been heading out of the classroom to monitor streams across the state. Their mission: to determine the health and conditions of waterways near their schools. Conducted through the Explore and Restore Maryland Streams program, department biologists host one-day professional  Read the Rest…



Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve: Connecting people to science for 30 years

This year marks the 30th anniversary of several interesting American events: the release of the movies The Goonies and Back to the Future, the launch of CNN’s Larry King Live, and the first registered .com, for example. Here at the Department of Natural Resources, we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the  Read the Rest…


Inside Academy: A photo essay

From the time they clip a black-and-white “recruit” nameplate to their tan shirts until the moment the gold badge of a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer is pinned to their dress uniform, the 22 members of Basic Recruit Class 57 will have their minds and muscles tested as never before. This year’s class of four  Read the Rest…






Working Waterfronts: Preservation requires balanced, inclusive approaches

The sun rose high above the Choptank River, a typical day on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Watermen were already afloat when the City of Cambridge opened the doors to its festival hall at Sailwinds Park. More than 100 individuals representing boaters, watermen, businesses, concerned citizens, non-profit organizations, academics, local planners, and state and federal partners made  Read the Rest…


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