Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Maryland First Day Hikes

The Maryland Park Service will sponsor guided hikes in 19 State Parks on New Year’s Day 2013 as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes.

The nationwide program offers participants an opportunity to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

First Day Hikes in Maryland are family-friendly, easy to moderate, guided hikes led by Maryland State Park staff and volunteers.

Among the locations for First Day Hikes are:

 - Cunningham Falls, the longest cascading waterfall in Maryland
 - historic Turkey Point Lighthouse at Elk Neck State Park

 - Pocomoke River State Park on the Eastern Shore

 - Orange Trail at Cedarville State Forest

For a complete list of First Day Hikes in Maryland, including locations, difficulty, length and specific starting times, visit

source: MD DNR

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ocean City Striped Bass Fishing Violations

In December, Maryland Natural Resource Police charged several anglers with striped bass violations in Ocean City, MD.

A number of incidents involved citations for possessing and transporting striped bass from the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ waters are defined as federal waters extending form 3-200 miles offshore.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Maryland Deer Season Results

According to preliminary data from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland hunters reported taking 36,088 deer during the 2012 firearm deer season.

The two-week firearm harvest included:

12,329 antlered and 22,721 antlerless white-tailed deer

451 antlered and 587 antlerless sika deer

The harvest was 13 percent lower than the 2011 firearm season, when 41,421 deer were taken. Bad weather on key hunting days and an abundance of acorns were cited by DNR as being possible factors in the reduced harvest.

In Maryland, some hunters are speculating that deer populations could be impacted by diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Maryland 2012-2013 Canada Goose Hunting Season

Maryland’s migratory Atlantic Population (AP) Canada goose hunting season opens November 17 and continues through November 23, 2012. This season reopens on December 11 and continues through January 30, 2013.

The daily bag limit is two geese per day in the AP Canada goose hunting zone. Additional information on waterfowl hunting seasons, regulations and license requirements can be found online at

source:  MD DNR

Friday, November 9, 2012

OC Pier in Ocean City Maryland Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

In Ocean City Maryland, Hurricane Sandy damaged the OC Fishing Pier. The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy tore off the T section of the pier and damaged much of the remaining pilings.

 The storm also caused extensive beach and dune erosion to the beach at Ocean City and Assateague Island.

OC Fishing Pier before the storm

OC Fishing Pier after Hurricane Sandy

equipment lined up to move sand     

Ocean City inlet parking lot after Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Maryland Crab Soup

Maryland Crab Soup

One of Maryland's most iconic dishes is Maryland crab soup. This delicious soup is easy to prepare and suitable for a variety of occasions.

Although it can be made using high quality lump backfin, cooks often use crab claw meat for this dish. Crab soup can be made with fresh-picked or frozen crab meat. In either case, authentic Maryland crab soup should contain locally caught and processed Atlantic blue crab meat.

The quality of the soup is dependent upon its ingredients. Whenever possible, fresh locally sourced vegetables should be paired with Maryland blue crab meat. The variety of vegetables can vary with local availability. Frozen or canned vegetables can be substituted, although some loss of flavor may result.

Maryland crab soup can be simmered on the stove, or allowed to cook all day in a crock pot. Either method produces a hearty, well balanced soup that can be served as a light lunch, appetizer, or as the main component of a full dinner. This flavorful dish can also be served at holiday meals or other special occasions.

Maryland Crab Soup Recipe


8 oz. crab meat
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 large or 2 small carrots
2 medium potatoes
2 medium tomatoes (fresh) or 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 small onion
1/2 cup fresh white corn  (optional)
1/2 cup fresh lima beans  (optional)
1/4 cup celery (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon Old Bay crab seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
dash red pepper (optional)


Inspect crab meat closely and remove any shell fragments.
Peel and dice vegetables into small pieces.
Combine crab meat, vegetables, stock, and crab seasoning. Simmer 30 minutes on medium heat or cook 1/2 day or more if using a slow cooker.


For a spicier soup, add additional crab seasoning. Red pepper may also be added to increase intensity.
If desired, cilantro or parsley can be added as a garnish when serving.

Related Information

Blue Crabs
Seafood Recipes

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Effects of Hurricane Sandy in Maryland

In October, Maryland experienced significant impacts from Hurricane Sandy. The approach of the storm could be felt by Friday, October 26.

On October 27, the U.S. Geological Survey released a statement concerning potential for beach and dune erosion. According to the agency, roughly 75 % of the coast along the Delmarva Peninsula was likely to experience beach and dune erosion from Hurricane Sandy. Overwashing was expected along nearly half of the shoreline.

The predictions of coastal change for the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia peninsula is part of a larger assessment of probable coastal change released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

By Sunday, much of Maryland was experiencing rainfall from the storm system.

On the morning of Monday October 29, winds shifted to the North and rainfall increased. It was during this period that early damage reports began to appear. One of the first casualties was the OC Pier in Ocean City, which suffered extensive damage from the storm surge. By mid-day, winds shifted to the West and increased noticably. Heavy rainfall caused minor flooding in some areas.

Several closures impacted the state, including:

 - Maryland Park Service closed all State Park campgrounds and day-use areas in advance of Hurricane Sandy.

 - The campground at Assateague State Park closed Saturday evening, October 27 and eas expected to remain closed until the morning of Wednesday, October 31.

 - The Assateague State Park day-use facility and the road onto the island (Route 611 prior to the Verrazano Bridge) closed to all visitors and traffic at 12:00 noon on Sunday, October 28.

 - Maryland Forestry Service closed Elk Neck State Forest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Greenbrier Lake Maintenance

Beginning in October, Greenbrier State Park staff will draw down about six feet of water from the park’s 42-acre lake to allow for maintenance work. The improvements include repairing the lake’s popular boat ramp and removing accumulated sediment for better boating access. 

While maintenance work is underway, an improvised launch area will be available for small boats. Park personnel expect the project to be completed in early February 2013. If all goes well, the lake should be refilled well before the 2013 spring trout season begins.

Source: MD DNR

Monday, September 24, 2012

National Wildlife Refuge Week Maryland Events

In Maryland, a number of activities will be held in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week 2012.

Patuxent Research Refuge will host a variety of activities Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event will feature live animals, kids’ crafts, tram tours ($3), scientific demonstrations, and behind-the-scenes research tours of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Participants will learn how endangered whooping cranes and sea ducks are raised and studied.

On Sunday, October 14, Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge will participate in the "The Big Sit!" bird count.

The activity will be held at the Tubby Cove Observation Platform, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the event, teams count and report bird species seen or heard from a 17-foot-diameter circle.

Each year in October, The Big Sit! bird count is held at a number of refuges across the USA.

source: USFWS

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ocean City Maryland Free Fishing Areas

In 2012, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) designated two popular Ocean City saltwater fishing spots as license-free fishing areas.

Northside Park is located where 125th Street meets Assawoman Bay, and features a fishing pier, concessions, playgrounds, a picnic area, walking paths, playing fields and a sports center.

The Chicago Avenue Boardwalk (2nd Street Bulkhead) has metered parking, wheelchair access, and a fish cleaning station.

Anglers ages 16 and older, who would like to utilize free fishing areas without a license, must register with the State (at no cost) by calling 855-855-3906 or online at

The registration enters anglers into a national database, which is used to help assess recreational fishing activity in tidal waters.

source: MD DNR

Monday, August 20, 2012

Things to Do in Maryland USA

With an abundance of natural resources, diverse geography, historical landmarks, and thriving tourism industry, Maryland is one of the best vacation spots in the USA.

Several Maryland cities are famous for their culture. Baltimore is a bustling industrial port with an incredible number of weekly events and other things to do.

Annapolis, Maryland's capital, is home to the Naval Academy, numerous historical buildings, and one of the nation's most famous sailing ports. In the western part of the state, cities like Frederick, Hagerstown, and Cumberland have plenty of history and culture.

One of the state's most important attractions is the Chesapeake Bay. While the upper bay is famous for its cities, the middle and lower bay is mainly occupied by small to mid-sized communities. On the western shore in southern Maryland are the fishing communities of Deale and Solomon's Island.

On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Chestertown, Easton, Saint Michaels, Cambridge, and Crisfield all have rich histories that are closely tied to the bay. In Tangier Sound, three small communities on Smith Island have been occupied by watermen for hundreds of years.

With scores of ports, Maryland is an excellent state for boating. Sailboat enthusiasts find the Chesapeake Bay to be an excellent body of water to explore. Cruisers, water skiers, and powerboaters also enjoy the bay and its many rivers.

In some areas, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and other paddlecraft are popular. These small but useful boats allow enthusiasts to explore areas where larger boats cannot travel. 

For anglers, the list of things to do in Maryland is incredible. The state has outstanding opportunities for fishermen, including freshwater as well as saltwater fishing. Freshwater anglers will find trout streams, rivers, lakes, farm ponds, and other fishing areas.

For those that prefer saltwater fishing, there are fishing piers, beaches for surf fishing, fishing aboard private boats, guided fishing trips, and deep sea fishing charters.

Nature lovers will also find plenty of activities in Maryland. Birdwatchers will find hundreds of species of birds, including songbirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, birds of prey, and other bird life.

The state also has plenty of mammals such as whitetail deer, sika deer, black bear, coyote, red foxes, gray foxes, skunks, raccoons, oppossums, squirrels, chipmonks, groundhogs, and others. For herp enthusiasts, there are hundreds of species of turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, and other creatures.

For many visitors, Maryland beaches are a major attraction. On the Eastern Shore, there is Ocean City and Assateague Island. Although located near each other, the two beaches feature totally different atmospheres.

Ocean City is a bustling beach resort that receives millions of visitors annually. This nationally recognized vacation destination features lifeguards, well maintained beaches, a historic boardwalk, amusements, restaurants, museums, and other attractions.

Just to the South, Assateague Island lies in stark contrast to Ocean City. This barrier island is occupied by Assateague Island State Park as well as Assateague Island National Seashore.

Its undeveloped beaches are occupied by wild ponies, deer, sea birds, and other wildlife. Visitors can swim, explore the island, collect shells, enjoy surf fishing, or simply enjoy the view.

Related Information

Things To Do on the Eastern Shore

Things To Do in Ocean City MD

Maryland 2012 Hunting and Fishing Day Expo

On September 22nd, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host the State’s 2012 National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration and Expo. The expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore in Marriottsville.

The show will include more than 30 fishing and hunting clubs, conservation organizations and local businesses. A number of interactive activities will be available, including spin casting, waterfowl calling lessons, dog demonstrations, archery and target shooting with expert instructors. There will also be hunting and fishing displays and demonstrations.

Local sponsors of the event include the National Wild Turkey Federation-Maryland Chapter, National Wildlife Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International- Chesapeake Chapter, Baltimore County Game and Fish Protective Association, Tudor Farms Inc., Maryland Fur Trappers Inc., and the Maryland Bowhunters Society.

The event will take place at the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, 11518 Marriottsville Rd., Marriottsville, Md. 21104. Citizens who would like more information, or those who are interested in becoming a vendor, may call 410-260-8537 or visit

source: MD DNR

Accohannock Indian Tribe 2012 Fall Festival and Pau-Wau

The Nineteenth Annual Accohannock Indian Tribe Fall Festival and Pau-Wau will be held at Bending Water Park near Marion, Md October 20-21, 2012.

The 2012 Fall Pau-Wau, entitled "Healing of All Nations," will be held rain or shine in the dance circle under the NEW pavilion.

Demonstrations will include:

* Native American tool making, weaponry and survival skills

* Native American dancers and story telling

Vendors include:
* Native American crafts, materials, books, jewelry, music, food, and more

* Famous Accohannock Oyster Sandwiches, Seafood, Indian Tacos, Buffalo Burgers and more


Bending Water Park
28325 Farm Market Road
Marion Station, Maryland 21838
Public Welcome!
Donation $4.00 (Boy and Girl Scouts in uniform and children five and under are free)
Gate open from 10 AM to 5 PM
Saturday Grand Entry at 12 Noon
Sunday Grand Entry at 1 PM

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets for a delightful experience


For information see

or contact:
Beverly Council
phone: 410-623-2660


Friday, August 10, 2012

2012 Bay Harvestfest

Bay Harvestfest 2012 will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 12-6 pm in North Beach, Maryland. The festival features seafood, live music, vendors, arts, crafts, and other attractions.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Things to Do in Ocean City Maryland

Ocean City Maryland is one of the top beach resorts in the Mid Atlantic region of the USA. This family-oriented beach town is located within a few hours of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and other Atlantic cities.

For visitors, the list of things to do in Ocean City is endless. Although much of the activity revolves around the summer season, there are events during every season.

The following list includes a few of the most popular types of recreation in Ocean City:

 - go swimming, sunbathing, boogie boarding, or surfing
 - tour the historic boardwalk
 - go to an amusement park, water park, or go-kart racing
 - fly a kite
 - hunt for sea shells
 - take a beachfront rocket boat tour
 - eat local seafood including crabs, scallops, clams, oysters, and fish
 - attend a festival such as SunFest, Harbor Days, or others
 - visit for Bike Week or car shows
- try saltwater fishing on theOceanic Fishing Pier, OC Fishing Pier, or Ocean City Jetty.
 - go deep sea fishing
 - attend the White Marlin Open or other major deep sea fishing tournaments
 - visit nearby Assateague Island, including Assateague State Park and Assateague National Seashore
 - check out local museums
 - visit expos or shows on waterfowl, art, boats, fishing, etc.
 - tour the Festival of Lights during the winter season

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maryland Boat Noise Regulations

New boat noise regulations affect boaters on Deep Creek Lake, the Bohemia River, the Elk and Northeast Rivers and tributaries, and the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake & Delaware (C&D) Canal. The State is providing citizens with free tests to determine if their boat is within the legal limit.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) will be conducting courtesy tests so boaters may determine if their vessel meets regulation guidelines.

Testing dates, times and locations are being scheduled and will be listed at  and

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) established the regulations, which went into effect November 28, 2011, because of increasing citizen concern in these areas.

For the 2012 boating season, regulations prohibit boats with mufflers and muffler cut-out systems from exceeding the following noise levels.

* For engines manufactured before January 1, 1993, the noise level may not exceed 90 decibels (a).

* Those manufactured on or after January 1, 1993, the noise level may not exceed 88 decibels (a).

Boats manufactured after January 1990 must operate with a continuous muffler system and and may not operate a device that bypasses, reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of a muffler or noise suppression device or system.

The full regulation is located in COMAR 08.18.03 and may be accessed from the Maryland Division of State Documents website.

source: MD DNR

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail

The Gunpowder South Trail will now be known as the Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail in honor of native Marylander Bernard Victor “Lefty” Kreh. Kreh is known worldwide through his books, columns and inventions.

The Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail runs along Gunpowder Falls between Prettyboy Reservoir and the Hereford Area of Gunpowder Falls State Park. The area is considered to be one of the premier trout streams in Maryland.

Kreh who now lives in Cockeysville, has written more than 30 books and has produced numerous instructional videos on fishing and outdoor photography. He continues to write and has a new book underway.

source: MD DNR

Friday, June 1, 2012

Maryland Coastal Bay Seagrass Survey

A recent survey  of underwater seagrass abundance in Maryland’s coastal bays shows the plants have decreased by 35 percent in less than year. The study, released by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Maryland Coastal Bays program, the Virginia Institute of Marine Scientists and the National Park Service, showed underwater grasses dropped from 13,863 acres in July 2010, to 9,083 acres in May 2011.

The loss of submerged aquatic vegetation during 2011 was more extensive than during the hot summer of 2005 when 4,780 acres lost in Maryland's coastal bays throughout the area.

Chincoteague Bay lost 2,756 acres of seagrasses. The northern bays showed the greatest percent losses: Assawoman Bay saw a 96 percent decline, or 900 acres; the Isle of Wight, 93 percent or 483 acres; and St. Martin River lost its last 1.6 acres.

Seagrasses are an important indicator of clean water and serve as food and shelter for many fish and shellfish, including flounder, blue crab and bay scallops. The plants are also a vital food source for Atlantic Brant and other waterfowl during migration and over-wintering.

Scientists cite low water quality as the greatest threat to seagrass recovery. When nutrients enter coastal bays, algae and seaweed blooms often occur, blocking light to seagrass beds. Sources of nutrient pollution include air deposition, farm fields, boating, development, septic fields, parking lots, and wastewater treatment plants.

“Maryland is among the states most vulnerable to climate change. Hotter summers and rising sea levels, along with increased storm intensity, could have devastating and far-reaching environmental and economic impacts on the Coastal Bays ecosystem and the quality of life Marylanders currently enjoy,” said Zoe Johnson, DNR Program Manager for Climate Policy. “The seagrasses are a great barometer of the health of the coastal bays. We must continue to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution, collectively and individually, to benefit seagrass restoration and ultimately the health of the coastal bays.”

Although eelgrass in Maryland’s Coastal Bays and in the upper Chesapeake Bay have declined, Virginia’s coastal bays have continued to produce the important plant. According to Dr. Bob Orth, who oversees the annual SAV monitoring surveys, "the clearer water of the Virginia coastal bays, as well as the proximity of the eelgrass meadows to cooler ocean waters makes the exposure to stressful high water temperature conditions more bearable, allowing these meadows to persist despite the high summertime temperatures."

Long-term monitoring by Assateague Island National Seashore shows current trends in nutrient conditions continue to degrade in Chincoteague Bay. However, there are some promising signs of improvements shown by data collected by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, especially in Kitt’s Branch/Trappe Creek, as a result of removing wastewater discharge from Berlin.

Seagrass acreage is estimated through an annual aerial survey, which is flown between late spring and early fall. Additional information about the aerial survey and survey results is available at

source: MD DNR

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Didymo Affecting Maryland Trout Streams

In 2012, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources confirmed the presence of didymo in Big Hunting Creek. Didymo is an invasive form of algae that affects Maryland trout streams.

In Maryland, didymo was first discovered in Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County in early 2008. In 2009, the invasive algae appeared in the lower Savage River.

Didymo prefers cold, fast-flowing, rocky trout streams. Didymo blooms can cover entire stream beds from bank to bank with long strands of algae.

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources offers several recommendations which could help stop the spread of didymo to other trout streams:

 - remove mud and debris from boots before entering and after leaving streams

 - use wader wash stations to clean boots in saltwater (from the soles to the knee)

 - If a wader wash station isn’t available, anglers can disinfect their boots at home

 - Letting boots and gear dry thoroughly for at least 5 days will also kill didymo cells

To help stop the spread of didymo and other water-borne organisms, the use of felt-soled boots was banned in all Maryland waters effective March 22, 2011.

source: MD DNR

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

2012 Maryland Natural Resources Photo Contest

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting entries for its annual Maryland Natural Resource Photo Contest. According to DNR Secretary John Griffin. “This contest gives photographers of all skill levels a chance to share their work with the public and win some great prizes.”

Last year, Allen Sklar of Bishopville topped more than 300 other photographers with his winning image ‘Fast’ Food Pick-up. His photograph of a bald eagle swooping down onto the Assateague Beach shoreline was featured on the cover of the 2012 calendar.

Photos entered into the 2012 contest will be judged in six categories: birds, wildlife, insects, scenic, wild plants and Maryland State Parks or people enjoying them. Winning entries will be featured in the winter issue of The Maryland Natural Resource magazine as well as the 2013 DNR calendar.

The best overall photo will win the grand prize of $500, a 2013 Maryland State Park Passport, a lifetime subscription to the magazine and five copies of the 2013 DNR calendar, which will feature the winning photo on the cover.

All qualifying photographs must be taken in Maryland. Photographers may submit up to three entries for a $10 entry fee and additional entries for $3 each. Photos may not be more than two years old or previously published. Non-residents may participate as long as the photos were taken in Maryland. Submissions are due by August 31, 2012 and winners will be announced online September 30, 2012.

Official rules and contest entry forms are available online at

source: MD DNR

Monday, April 30, 2012

Swan Harbor Farm Recreational Area in Havre De Grace

A new recreation area in Havre de Grace is now complete, providing access for walking and other outdoor recreation. The project used sediment dredged from nearby boating channels to construct a pond and scenic path. The project was a partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Boating Services and the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The park provided a much needed home for sediment that filled the Havre de Grace Yacht Basin after flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee forced officials to open the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna in the fall of 2011.

The area features an ADA-accessible, pedestrian walkway with scenic views of the surrounding area and a 20-foot by 20-foot timber observation platform.   Dikes and tree buffers were added to improve the health of local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately 14,800 square feet has been planted to include 37 large trees and 74 understory trees. According to DNR, the dredge site will become a pond and serve as home to a v-ariety of local wildlife.

The project has the capability to hold 100,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Havre de Grace Yacht Basin. Cells inside the dike will slow water flow and allow the silt to settle out before the water reaches Swan Creek. From there, there are a series of small pools with check dams made of porous rock material to help filter the water.

The landscape features are required by the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. DNR and the Harford County Parks and Recreation worked with the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission to ensure that the facility meets environmental requirements. The park is located at 401 Oakington Road in Havre de Grace.

source: MD DNR

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Elk Neck State Forest Firewise Geocaching Trail

A new interactive geocaching trail that educates participants on the importance of wildfire prevention is open in Maryland's Elk Neck State Forest.

Firewise Maryland was developed by the Maryland Forest Service to teach citizens living within wooded areas susceptible to wildfires how to protect their homes. To promote this program, a geocaching trail with eight geocaches has been established on three tracts of the Elk Neck State Forest.

Each geocache contains a guestbook, Firewise prizes and specific geocache cards. Individuals who successfully locate all eight specific geocache cards earn a Firewise Maryland certificate available at the Elk Neck State Forest office located on Irishtown Road, or by calling the office at 410-287-5675.

Geocaching is a type of treasure hunting game where participants use a GPS unit or smart phone to locate containers, called geocaches, hidden by other people. Geocaching is for people of all ages and helps establish a strong sense of community and build support for the environment.

For more information on the Firewise geocaching trail, call Elk Neck State Forest at 410-287-5675 or visit

source: MD DNR

Sunday, March 4, 2012

State Champion Sweet Birch Tree Discovered In Gunpowder Falls State Park

A new Maryland State Champion tree was recently found in Gunpowder Falls State Park. Dan Wilson, a volunteer with the Maryland Big Tree Program, located the massive sweet birch (Betula lenta) hidden deep within the Park.

The tree was found to be 115 feet tall, 10 feet 1 inch around and with a crown spread of 45 feet, equaling a total point value of 247. According to American Forests this is the tallest tree of its species on record. The previous sweet birch State Champion, with a point value of 237, is located in Cecil County.

The United States Champion is located in New Hampshire at 266 points. The Maryland champion appears healthy and could seize the national title in future years. The tree is also the largest of its species ever recorded in Maryland (dating back to 1925). The tree is located at GPS coordinates N39 32 093 W76 29 955.

The sweet birch is native to all of Maryland north and west of I-95, the tree can be found in counties south and east of that area but usually only sporadically and in small groups.

The name sweet birch comes from the sweet wintergreen flavor of its bark and twigs. The tree is also referred to as black birch because of its dark bark.

For more information, visit

Friday, February 24, 2012

Where to Catch Rainbow Trout in Maryland

Each spring Maryland DNR stocks rainbow trout in streams, creeks, reservoirs, and ponds throughout the state. Fishing regulations and stocking dates may vary by location.

The following list includes several popular fishing spots where stocked trout may be found:

Lake Needwood (Montgomery)
Allens Pond (Prince Georges)
Tuckohoe Creek (Caroline)
Middle Patuxent River - Delayed Harvest (Howard)
Patuxent River - Catch & Return (Howard/Montgomery)
Morgan Run - Catch & Return Area (Carroll)
South Branch Patapsco River, Upper (Carroll)
North Branch Potomac River at Barnum (Garrett)
North Branch Potomac River Upper Catch and Release Area (Garrett)
Youghiogheny River Delayed Harvest Area (Garrett)
Youghiogheny River - Oakland (Garrett)
Youghiogheny River - Friendsville (Garrett)
Cunningham Falls Lake (Frederick)
Frank Bentz Pond (Frederick)
Rainbow Lake (Frederick)
Taneytown Pond - Robert's Mills (Carroll)
Battie Mixon Ponds (Allegany)
Patapsco River at Daniels (Baltimore)
Lake Habeeb - Rocky Gap (Allegany)
Jennings Run (Allegany)
Beaver Creek (Washington)
Blairs Valley Lake (Washington)
Greenbrier Lake (Washington)
Little Antietam Creek - Youth & Blind Only (Washington)
Little Tonoloway Creek, Upper (Washington)
Farm Museum Pond (Carroll)
Piney Run Reservoir (Carroll)
Elkhorn Lake (Howard)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants

The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) is now accepting applications for grants through the Keep Maryland Beautiful program, an initiative dedicated to helping volunteer-based, non-profit groups and communities solve natural resource issues. The grants are funded in part by the State Highway Administration, a division of the Maryland Department of Transportation. MET must receive applications by March 31, 2012.

MET is offering two types of grants through the program:

The Margaret Rosch Jones Award of up to $2,000 is awarded to voluntary nonprofit groups or communities that make continuing plans for a project that has already demonstrated a basic understanding and resolution of an environmental issue.

The Jones award is given in memory of Margaret Jones, the executive director and moving spirit of the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program for many years. MET hopes to remind citizens of Jones’ devotion, energy and ingenuity by presenting an award in her name to a group whose voluntary activities personified these attributes that she brought to her work.

Applicants must also meet one or both of the following criteria:

 - Groups that have been active in educating people in their community about at least one of the following concerns: litter prevention, community beautification, and local or statewide environmental issue(s).

 - Groups that have been successful in eliminating or reducing the causes of a local environmental problem rather than simply addressing the symptoms.

The Bill James Environmental Grants of up to $1,000 are awarded to school groups, science and ecology clubs, and other nonprofit youth groups for proposed environmental education projects. The Bill James Environmental Grants are given in memory of William S. James, who drafted legislation to create the Trust, incorporating the activities of the Governor's Committee to Keep Maryland Beautiful.

Applications may be obtained from the Maryland Environmental Trust, First Floor, 100 Community Pl., Crownsville, Md., 21032-2023 or

source: MD DNR

Monday, February 13, 2012

Maryland Fish Kills

In Maryland, a wide range of environmental factors may be related to fish kills.

In May 2009, a fish kill of smallmouth bass and sunfish was reported in the upper Monocacy River. The event was similar to other springtime fish kills in the Potomac River watershed that have occurred since 2002.

Investigations of springtime fish kills in the watershed found a variety of possible factors that might have been involved. Possible causes for fish deaths were listed as: contaminants, damaged skin, gills and internal organs, parasites, and spawning stress. Biologists also discovered a high prevalence of intersex in some species, most notably smallmouth bass.

In July, 2010, a fish kill on the Severn River included bay anchovy, Atlantic menhaden, Atlantic needlefish, and white perch. Staff from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) investigated the kill and estimated the number of dead fish to be 1000 or more.

MDE reported that a heavy algae bloom was present at the time of the kill. The investigation concluded that the cause of the fish kill was low dissolved oxygen induced by the large bloom of non-toxic algae.

In July, 2010, Maryland's Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources investigated a large fish kill in Deep Creek Lake.

The 2010 Deep Creek Lake fish kill involved hundreds of dead fish and invertebrates including yellow perch, walleye, smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, largemouth bass, bluegills, chain pickerel, Northern pike, and crayfish.

Research indicated that unusually high temperatures in the lake's upper water column set the stage for a parasite protozoan infestation. According to scientists, cold water species of fish were primarily affected by the parasite infestation.

In late December, 2010 and January 2011, a fish kill in the Chesapeake Bay involved roughly two million fish. The fish were almost exclusively small (3-6 inch) spot fish. The fish kill occurred from the Bay Bridge to Poplar Island.

The Maryland Department of the Environment investigated the kill and found that cold water stress, combined with a large population of fish was the most likely cause of the kill.

Winter fish kills involving spot have occurred at least twice before in Maryland. In late January 1976, records show that about 15 million spot died of winter stress in the bay. A smaller number of spot deaths were recorded in January 1980

Fish kills also occur in Maryland coastal bays, most often in dead-end canals. Due to a lack of flushing action in canals, algae blooms can lead to hypoxic or anoxic conditions. Fish kills can occur in dead-end canals when schools of fish enter and become trapped in lethal water conditions. During the summer of 2001, approximately 3,000,000 Atlantic silversides entered a canal in West Ocean City and apparently became entrapped during low tide overnight. The fish became concentrated by low water, exhausted all available oxygen, and died.

Maryland residents can report fish kills and algae blooms at 1-866-MDE-GOTO or 877-224-RBAY. Reports of dead or dying fish in the Monocacy or Potomac River can be reported by contacting the Maryland Safety and Environmental Hotline (877) 224-7229 or the DNR-Fisheries Service at (301) 898-5443 with the time, date, location, fish species, and approximate number of affected fish. Photographs and a description of any unusual behavior or water conditions are also helpful.

Friday, February 10, 2012

2011-12 Maryland Deer Season Statistics

Maryland deer hunters enjoyed the fourth highest harvest on record during the 2011-2012 hunting season. In Maryland, hunters harvested a total of 98,029 deer during the state's bow, muzzleloader and firearm seasons.

The total is just below last year’s harvest of 98,663 deer. The antlered harvest increased 3 percent, while the antlerless harvest declined by the same percentage. In Maryland, 2,657 sika deer were harvested statewide; a 4 percent decrease from last year’s total for this species.

In Deer Management Region A (Garrett, Allegany, and western Washington counties) hunters reported taking 10,358 deer this year, up 11 percent from 2010-11.
The reported harvest in the remainder of the State, Region B, declined 2 percent to 87,671 deer this year.

Frederick County once again led the harvest totals for the State with 8,378 deer, followed by Baltimore County with 6,804 and Washington County with 6,753 deer.

Sunday deer hunting contributed to deer harvests in Maryland. The Junior Deer Hunt, traditionally held on a Saturday, included the following Sunday in 20 of 23 counties for the first time this year. Sunday hunting accounted for a total of 6,278 deer, 6 percent of the 2011-12 harvest.

source: MD DNR

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bounty Of The Bay Dinner in Annapolis

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Boatyard Bar & Grill will co-host the Bounty of the Bay Dinner from 6 to10 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28 in Annapolis.

“The Bounty of the Bay Dinner is a celebration of Maryland Seafood and our State’s watermen,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “By supporting local watermen, farmers and restaurants, not only are we are supporting our State’s economy, but our food doesn’t have to travel far to get our table, which means fewer carbon emissions and a fresher product.”

Through The Bounty of the Bay, DNR and its partners are working to highlight the State’s down-home delicacies and the hardworking men and women behind them. Dinner will include the standard Maryland fare, but also highlight overlooked dishes such as yellow perch.

The dinner comes on the heels of the successful From the Bay, For the Bay Dine Out, which took place in early October. More than 170 restaurants from Pennsylvania to Virginia donated $1 from every dinner Maryland seafood dinner sold during that week to the Oyster Recovery Partnership, a non-profit organization working to rebuild the Chesapeake Bay’s native oyster population. DNR, the Oyster Recovery Partnership and the participating restaurants raised more than $20,000 to help restore Maryland’s native oyster.

The Bounty Of The Bay Dinner will include a raw bar and a five-course meal featuring Maryland oysters, crab meat, striped bass, and yellow perch. Tickets will be limited to the first 125 guests who make a reservation. The dinner is $49 per ticket and includes all food, tax and gratuity.

To RSVP or for more information call the Boatyard Bar & Grill at 410-216-6206.

source: MD DNR

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Swamp Bay Tree Added to Maryland Big Tree Program

A large swamp bay tree (Persea palustris) was recently recognized by the Maryland Big Tree Program. The unusual tree was measured in Hickory Point Cypress Swamp at Pocomoke State Forest by Dan Wilson, a volunteer with the Maryland Big Tree Program (MBTP).

The swamp bay is listed on Maryland’s Threatened and Endangered Species List for Worcester County. The tree has a circumference of 17 inches, a height of 27 feet and an average crown spread of 20 feet. Its total point value is 49, making it the first State Champion.

The species more common in North Carolina. The U.S. Champion, with a total of 212 points is located in a swamp in Newport News, Virginia.

The swamp bay is now the 143rd tree species to be added to the Maryland Big Tree Program. The recently found example is among a clump of smaller trees of the same species, so it appears there is a well-established colony to support future growth.

The Big Tree Program originated in Maryland in 1925, went national in 1940, and is run by American Forests, Each state has a State Coordinator who collects data, measures trees, and biannually submits certain trees to American Forests as potential National Champions. For more information, visit

The universal “point” system was developed by Maryland’s first State Forester, Fred Besley. The formula is: circumference in inches + height in feet + one fourth of the average crown spread in feet.

To report what may be a State Big Tree, or for a copy of the State Big Tree List, contact John Bennett at or 410-287-5980.

source: MD DNR