Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MTU Children Fishing Clinic - April 10

The Maryland Chapter of Trout Unlimited in partnership WITH Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks will hold its annual children’s fishing clinic at the Winans Meadow Trailhead of the Gwynns Falls Leakin Park trail on April 10, 2010 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.

GreenFest 2010

Mark your calendars now for GreenFest 2010!

Greener Choices, Greener World:
One Person At A Time
April 17th from 10am - 4pm
Howard Community College

Monday, March 29, 2010

DNR To Host Children In Nature National Web Seminar

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation to host “Be Out There: A National Summit on Children and the Outdoors.” This webcast event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center in Millersville, Md.

Through this webcast, Marylanders will be able to participate in the summit which is being held in Houston, Texas.

This National Summit will issue a three-fold call to state and federal leaders:

1) For federal leaders to implement policy that creates more opportunities to connect children with the outdoors;

2) For governors to issue executive orders to develop state plans and champion legislation; and

3) For parks, conservation and recreation leaders to place greater emphasis on outdoor immersion experiences such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, boating and more.

The webcast will feature National Wildlife Federation CEO Larry Schweiger, Texas Representative Carol Alvarado, and video messages from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson, and Governor O'Malley. There will also be a panel discussion entitled, "New Partners and Innovative Strategies to Address the Indoor Childhood," featuring Dr. Sandra Stenmark of Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Nina Roberts of San Francisco State University, and Margo Pedroso of Safe Routes to Schools.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Earth Hour on Saturday, March 27

Governor Martin O’Malley is asking all Marylanders to join him in participating in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 27 from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. The 4th annual Earth Hour is a global effort to raise awareness about energy usage and climate change, by having people around the world turn off their lights for one hour to show support and concern for the natural world and climate change.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eastern Section of the Ocean City South Jetty Closed

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) announced the closure of the eastern part of the Ocean City South Jetty. The eastern third of the jetty will be closed to foot traffic; the western portion of the jetty will remain open to the public and anglers may still fish the area by boat.

There were several incidents last year, in which people were swept off the jetty into the water. Those individuals were able to climb back onto the jetty without assistance, but this event along with steadily increasing activity in this dangerous area prompted a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Coast Guard and the Natural Resources Police. It was decided at the meeting to close the eastern part of the south jetty.

The area was closed on January 1, 2010 and signs will be posted as soon as the weather permits. The closed area will be marked in English, Spanish and Korean.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chesapeake Bay Weather Buoys

On March 15, 2010, the Coast Guard along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted seasonal buoy replacements in the Chesapeake Bay.

Weather buoys collect data and report real-time environmental information including wind speed, temperature and wave height. The buoys also serve as interpretive buoys that mark the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail that runs throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

"The weather buoys provide valuable weather information during peak recreational boating seasons," said Lt. Dave Lewald, the commanding officer of the Rankin. "The buoys also provide historical data which can benefit researchers collecting information on how to clean up the bay."

For more information visit www.ndbc.noaa.gov

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dishing Up Maryland Cookbook

A first-of-its-kind cookbook featuring local Maryland products,  the farmers and watermen that grow and harvest them, and the chefs who prepare the recipes is being released on March 24, 2010 in Annapolis.

This new book captures the unique and delectable cuisine of Maryland with "150 recipes from the Alleghenies to the Chesapeake Bay.” Dishing Up Maryland is authored by award-winning Maryland writer Lucie Snodgrass.

Stunning photography by Edwin Remsberg, himself a Maryland farmer, provides the visual counterparts to stories of the farm families and chefs featured in the book. John Shields, renowned chef who embodies the buy local effort, provides an insightful foreword to the book.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Maryland's Best program to promote the purchase of locally grown and raised products for the benefit of the State's farmers, watermen and related businesses. The book is published by Storey Publishing.

Sponsors Sought for the 2010 Maryland Bay Game

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is inviting citizens, businesses and organizations to become sponsors of the 2010 Maryland Bay Game. Through games, trivia, puzzles and outdoor activities, this award-winning natural resources activity book has inspired kids to learn about and connect with their natural world for over a decade.

The Bay Game is written and designed by DNR staff, but printing and distribution is paid entirely by sponsors. There are several opportunities for businesses to sponsor the Bay Game through logos, website exposure, full and half-page sponsorships and more while also ensuring another summer filled with interactive and engaging outdoor activities for Maryland children. Donations are tax deductible, though sponsors should review the requirements outlined in IRS Publication 526 and consult their tax advisor.

For more information please visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/baygame/ or contact Jill Kubatko at 410-260-8007 or jkubatko@dnr.state.md.us.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Pre-Season Striped Bass Catch & Release Rules Begin on March 22

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service will implement new regulations March 22 addressing pre-season striped bass fishing. These restrictions will be in effect until the April 17 start of the spring trophy season. The regulations are being introduced to address a serious concern over sub-lethal impacts on pre-spawn female striped bass, that are moving up the Chesapeake Bay to their spawning grounds in March and April.

“It is never easy to restrict the access and opportunity to a resource, but let’s not forget how far we have come from the striped bass moratorium of 20 years ago,” said DNR Fisheries Director Tom O’Connell. “We are fortunate that all sectors of our fishing community benefit today from the sacrifices of past management efforts. The latest stock assessment raises some concerns that require us to pause and evaluate how our actions may be impacting the long-term sustainability of this resource. If we remain vigilant and prudent in our management of this resource, we will ensure that our premier striped bass fishery will remain available for us and future generations to enjoy.”

Preseason recreational fishing has increased since 2002 causing concern among fisheries biologists and managers over the potential effect of the stress of being caught, handled, and released.

The restrictions apply in all open catch and release areas. The catch and release fishing areas include the Chesapeake Bay from the Brewerton Channel to the Virginia line including Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Spawning rivers and the Upper Bay spawning area are off limits until June 1 to striped bass fishing.

The Preseason Regulations:

 - Stinger (trailing) hooks are prohibited.

 - Barbless hooks are required when trolling. Simply pinch the barb down to facilitate the careful release of your fish.

 - Non-offset circle hooks or J hooks with a gap of less than a half-inch are required when using natural bait.

 - No more than 6 lines may be employed while trolling regardless of the number of anglers on board.

The spring trophy season runs from April 17 through midnight on May 15 with a creel of one fish and size limit of 28 inches or longer. The open fishing area includes the Chesapeake Bay from the Brewerton Channel to the Virginia line including the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. From May 16 through December 15, the creel limit is two with a minimum size of 18 inches. However, only one of those two fish may be longer than 28 inches.

To view a chart of open catch and release and spring trophy season areas go to www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/regulations/sbrecseasons/sbregmap022.

Maryland Seeks $4.5 Million to Benefit Mid-Atlantic Highlands

Maryland has requested $4.5 million in federal funding to benefit the Mid-Atlantic Highlands.

According to the state, the Mid-Atlantic Highlands have a long legacy of environmental and economic problems. The forest, streams and lands are in poor condition, suffering from decades of abuse and the area remains impoverished with low education levels and high rates of unemployment and poverty.

The Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program is a state, local and federal effort started in 2006 to protect and restore the ecological assets, economic vitality and log-term sustainability of the Appalachian Mountains area. The program supports local projects that are models for sustainable use of natural, cultural and economic resources thereby improving the quality of life today and for future generations.

The highlands encompass 79,000 square miles of the Appalachians in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia and include roughly half of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This region hosts some of the most diverse and globally important resources on Earth. It is rich in natural and cultural heritage where the environment plays an important role in the quality of life.

In total, Governor O’Malley requested about $87 million in federal funding for DNR related projects.

Rupert Rossetti Receives 2010 Bernie Fowler Award

Rupert Rossetti of Garrett County was honored with the prestigious 2008 Bernie Fowler Award at Maryland’s 13th Annual Tributary Team meeting on Saturday, March 6 at the Maryland Department of the Environment in Baltimore. The so-called "White Sneaker Award" is named for the former State Senator who initiated the annual Patuxent River wade-ins more than 25 years ago to test water turbidity and bring attention to declining water quality. The award is given annually to recognize outstanding contributions of a tributary team member to Bay health and habitat.

“It was a retraining opportunity in his early retirement from DuPont that got Rupert turned onto the field of water quality work -- he took a GIS class from the University of Delaware that keyed him into a lot of this water quality stuff,” said his wife, Cynthia Rossetti.

Established in 1995, Maryland's Tributary Teams are made up of more than 350 volunteer members comprised of citizens, business leaders, farmers and government officials, charged with helping implement pollution prevention measures in the State’s 10 major tributary basins. The ongoing work of the teams is a model for citizen involvement and action.

source: MD DNR press release

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maryland Farmers Markets - Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Farms occupy one-third of Maryland's land. Farming 2 million acres, farmers produce 33.5 million pounds of apples, 3.5 million tons of peaches and 1.6 billion pounds of chicken. Maryland farms also produce corn, wheat, soybeans, nursery products, maple syrup, hay, fresh market vegetables, livestock, dairy products and other goods.

Visiting a Maryland farmers market is an excellent way to shop for fruits, vegetables, produce, herbs, flowers, garden plants, seafood, meats, cheeses, poultry and other local products.

Maryland Celebrates National Agriculture Week - March 14-20, 2010

Recognizing that agriculture is one of Maryland’s most important industries, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is celebrating National Agriculture Week March 14-20, 2010.

One-third of Maryland’s land is in farms. On those 2 million acres, farmers produce 33.5 million pounds of apples, 1.6 billion pounds of chicken, and 3.5 million tons of peaches among many other food products for citizens to eat.

“Maryland’s agriculture industry is vital to the long-term health of the state’s economy, environment and quality of life.Agriculture week is a great time to recognize the hard work of our farm families and the important role they play in providing a safe and abundant food supply and protecting the environment,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women’s History Month Program

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) will hold a program honoring the contributions and achievements of Maryland and U.S. women, with specific emphasis upon early environmental activist Rachel Carson, the author of the 1962 novel, “Silent Spring.”

The program will be held at 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 16 in the C-1-Conference Room at the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD, 21401.

The public is welcome to attend this free event. For information or to RSVP, please contact Richard W. Allen of the DNR Office of Fair Practices at 410-260-8058.

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have released the results of the 2010 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey. Each winter, pilots and biologists from the two agencies count ducks, geese and swans along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast. In January 2010, the survey teams observed 787,100 waterfowl, slightly lower than the number of waterfowl observed in January 2009.

“When pooled with results from other states, the Midwinter Waterfowl Survey provides a long-term measure of the distribution and population size of most waterfowl species wintering in the Atlantic Flyway,” said Larry Hindman, DNR Waterfowl Project Leader.

The number of mallards counted in this year’s survey (34,200) was significantly lower than 2009 (58,300). The black duck count (22,500) slightly declined from last winter, when 24,900 were counted.
“Extensive ice coverage of Chesapeake Bay waters, rivers and estuarine marshes led to reduced open water and lower numbers for several duck species this year," Hindman said.

Overall, fewer diving ducks were counted (102,000) in 2010 than last winter (157,600). Most of this decline can be attributed to the lower numbers of redheads, canvasbacks, scaup and ruddy ducks observed. Extensive ice in the Chester River prevented diving duck use of this major wintering area favored by canvasbacks and scaup. Other environmental factors that influence the number of canvasbacks and other divers in the Chesapeake Bay are the conditions of the staging areas on the upper Mississippi River and Lake St. Claire in southern Ontario. Above average numbers of canvasbacks were recorded on surveys of those areas this year.

There was a slight increase in number of Canada geese counted by the survey crews. Despite a poor nesting season, wintering Canada geese (519,500) remained high and were likely bolstered by migrant geese pushed south by cold temperatures and snow north of Maryland.

The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually throughout the United States since the early 1950s. The survey provides information on long-term trends in waterfowl populations and is the only source of population estimates for important species such as Atlantic brant and tundra swans.

source: MD DNR press release

Elk Neck State Park Boat Ramps To Close For Renovations

The Maryland Park Service will temporarily close the boat launching ramps in the Rogue’s Harbor area of Elk Neck State Park for renovations on or after March 22, due to safety concerns during the construction project. This area will remain closed for up to 10 weeks.

The existing piers, pilings and bulkhead were damaged by several storms and those damages will be repaired. Additionally, the decking on the piers and bulkhead will be replaced. The project will provide a safe and user friendly launching facility accessible to the public.

For further information contact park headquarters at (410) 287-5333.

Maryland Chapter Trout Unlimited Presentation - "Secret Streams of Maryland"

If you want to learn about the excellent wild trout fishing available on some of Maryland’s lesser known streams then don’t miss the Maryland Chapter Trout Unlimited general meeting on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 7:30 PM.

Maryland native Tom Starrs will share information on many of the lesser known streams that he has fished over the last 25 years. The meeting will be held next door to Set’s Sport Shop.

Maryland Chapter Trout Unlimited Presentation - "Secret Streams of Maryland"
Wednesday, March 17, 7:30 PM
IOOF Hall, 511 York Road
Towson MD 21204

27th Annual MSSA Spring Rockfish Tournament

The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association (MSSA) has announced its 27th Annual Spring Tournament, "Championship on the Chesapeake", April 30th - May 2nd, 2010. The event is said to be the largest spring rockfish tournament in the country.

"Trophy Season" is marked by the first weekend in May as the coastal stock of striped bass make their way through the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic after spawning in our rivers. With the "Trophy Season" just starting, this tournament is guaranteed to provide three days of fun and excitement on the Bay, as over 650 boats and nearly 4,000 anglers get an opportunity to catch one of these magnificent beauties. The winning fish could be worth $100,000!

All cash and merchandise prizes are for rockfish. The heaviest rockfish on the scales shall be declared the winner of the main tournament. In addition to all main tournament prizes there will be several "Tournament within Tournament" (TWTs) to compete in.

It is important to note that participants should enter in all of the "Tournament within Tournament" (TWTs) to have a chance at the huge cash prize for heaviest rockfish. While this may require more money to enter, this will give anglers a shot at a huge sum of money.

The Spring Tournament is an amateur tournament; however, there is a Professional Division with separate cash prizes and awards. All monies collected from the "Professional Division’s" will be deposited in a special account for their cash prizes. The amateur participants will not have to compete against the Pros.

As the MSSA continues to fight for better fishing in the Bay and elsewhere, the organization asks that participants practice conservation and take part in the "Catch and Release Division" as well. The association asks anglers to release sub-legal rockfish and fish over the daily creel as carefully as possible.

This event is the principle source of revenue for the MSSA. The proceeds from the tournament enable the MSSA to conduct many activities and enhance recreational fishing opportunities for Maryland. The MSSA has been recognized as the "Official Voice of Maryland Recreational Anglers."

For more information, visit: http://www.mssa.net/championship.html

Thursday, March 4, 2010

DNR Launches Largemouth Bass Choptank River Initiative

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Inland Fisheries Division has assembled a team of engineers, biologists and anglers to develop a largemouth bass improvement strategy for the Choptank River, which has seen a decline in black bass reproduction in recent years.

The first step of the program includes the temporary installation of nesting boxes, which will provide sanctuary for the fry. Male bass usually build and guard nests so juvenile fish may survive and grow. However, the persistent flow of runoff silt from the cleared properties that surround the upper Choptank has impaired the deep water nesting areas, leaving just the shallow spots as suitable nesting habitat. These shallow spots can make juveniles more vulnerable to predators, such as herons, ospreys, and other birds.

Maryland Bass Federation volunteers and DNR staff are working together to build wooden nesting boxes for placing this month.This experiment will begin in the Watts Creek area. It’s important that anglers and other boaters remain aware of these boxes so they can be left alone and, as tempting as it may be, it’s important for anglers to avoid fishing for the protective males that are guarding these nests.

If the program is successful, DNR will expand the program to other parts of the river. DNR is also working with the State Highway Administration and local residents to temporarily stock local ponds near the river
with bass ready to spawn. Once these fish have reproduced, they will be returned to the river, leaving offspring behind to feast on plankton and grow in the absence of large predators until they are big enough to fend for themselves.

DNR’s long-term bass stocking program will add more than half a million fry and fingerlings to the Choptank River system over the next ten years. The Largemouth Bass Choptank River Initiative is a partnership of DNR Division of Inland Fisheries, Maryland Bass Federation Nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maryland State Highway Administration, and the residents of Greensboro and Denton, Md.

source: DNR press release

Maryland Watermen Collect Ghost Crab Pots

Maryland watermen have pulled nearly 1,500 abandoned crab pots from the West, Patuxent and Patapsco Rivers as a part of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Ghost Crab Pot Retrieval program. The Program, which is a partnership between DNR, the Oyster Recovery Partnership, Versar inc. and more than 360 watermen started on February 22, and is a part of a plan to help mitigate economic losses from the declining blue crab fishery, while also helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

Estimates based on side-scan sonar surveys conducted by the Maryland Geological Survey, and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office indicate that there are thousands of ghost pots on the bottom of Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The problem with these abandoned pots is that they may still be catching and killing crabs and finfish. Additionally, captured fish and crabs essentially become bait for other predators that will enter and also become trapped. Some studies indicate that the average crab pot will last about two years in saltwater.

Approximately 450 watermen have been offered contracts for up to $400 per day plus an additional $150 for a helper to recover and dispose of ghost pots from selected sights. The initial working areas will be the Patuxent, West and Rhode Rivers where concentrations of ghost pots were found.

source: MD DNR press release

Maryland Tributary Teams 14th Annual Meeting

The Maryland Tributary Teams 14th Annual Meeting will be held Saturday March 6, 2010 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

The meeting will be held at:

Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd,
Montgomery Park, Baltimore, MD 21230       

This year’s annual meeting will focus on the Bay-wide Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) currently in development, with presentations covering the TMDL process and content, the watershed implementation plans, modeling and monitoring, and financing and funding. Interactive sessions will include the local implementation plans, local funding opportunities, trading, stormwater and more.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Request for Proposals

The State of Maryland is now accepting proposals for the 2012 fiscal year, for projects to curb polluted runoff and move the State toward its 2-year milestones. The deadline is 5:00 p.m., May 28, 2010. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold two workshops in March, to cover specific information on what will be in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Request for Proposal (RFP), what has changed from the first round, what a great proposal should include and an overview of technical resources available.

The workshops will be held on March 19 at the 4-H Center in College Park, and on March 23 at the Wye Research Center in Queenstown.  Both workshops start at 10 a.m. and run to 12 p.m.  Registration is open and a webinar registration is available for those who cannot attend in person.

For more information regarding the trust fund, Workshops and/or a copy of the RFP, please visit http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/ccp/funding/trust_fund.asp, or contact Jennifer Raulin at 410.260.8745