Angling, Outdoors, and Conservation News Recap
Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news, intel, and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts concerned with the waters, fisheries, and habitats we cherish. Please email us directly at email@example.com to have your organization’s news item or event announcement considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the latest Anglers Sports Center and FishTalk Magazine Chesapeake Bay region fishing reports. This week’s catch also includes…
DNR Publishes Late-Winter Fishing Report
Keith Lockwood was feeling an itch to write a report. After his planned mid-December-through-winter break from weekly reporting, the renowned Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist and fishery forecaster compiled a late-winter report that covers the watershed, as well as new species regulations of which anglers ought to be aware. You can read his full recap of fish activity throughout the upper, mid, and lower Chesapeake Bay, as well as the Atlantic coast and freshwater locales, by clicking here. Lockwood says we can expect to see DNR’s official weekly fishing reports to resume in March, at which point we’ll add the link to the reports at the top of this column.
Old Boat Creates New Reef
On Wednesday, TowBoatUS Kent Narrows & Knapps Narrows departed Cedar Point Marina with a 52’ Ferro-cement Ketch in tow and made way to an area just north of Love Point, Kent Island, to officially sink the cement ship. Coordinating with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, TowBoatUS successfully sunk the vessel, which is now part of an artificial reef, creating habitat for Chesapeake Bay marine life. You can watch a time-lapse video of the sinking at TowBoatUS Kent Narrows’ Facebook page. Image is screenshot of video by TowBoatUS Kent Narrows & Knapps Narrows.
SRA Seeking Watershed Restoration Manager
Think you’ve got what it takes? The Severn River Association is vetting candidates for a Watershed Restoration Manager position. Compensation range in $60–85K and duties include assessing sites for restoration suitability, writing grant proposals to fund restoration work, and managing projects through concept, design, permitting, construction, and post-construction monitoring and maintenance. It also includes assisting the Executive Director in restoration planning and directing SRA’s oyster replenishment program. For full details and to apply, click here.
Anacostia Tire Dump Cleaned Up
In a news release from the National Park Service (NPS) this week, details emerged about an illegal act of tire dumping into the Anacostia River watershed. “On December 23, 2022, Ward 8 Woods, a local partner organization of National Capital Parks–East (NACE), notified the NPS of an illegally dumped pile of more than 3,000 tires. Due to the sheer scale of the site, the NPS and Park Police believe this was an act of commercial, illegal dumping. The location of the tires below the freeway overpass suggests they were dumped from the overpass onto the park below.” In January, maintenance crews (see NPS Photo by Sean P. McGinty) braved rainy weather and near-freezing temperatures to aid in the removal, making their tenacity apparent as they loaded multiple trucks full of tires bound for a recycling facility in Baltimore.
“We have 25 maintenance personnel, two heavy loaders and all the trucks we could muster to clean up these tires today,” said Stephen Feagans, a maintenance supervisor for the park. “Even still, it’s probably going to take us all week to get all the tires out.” Although the recent tire dump is especially egregious, commercial dumping on public lands in the D.C. Metropolitan Area remains a constant issue. Dumping trash or debris at any location besides a specified transfer station is illegal. Park visitors or nearby residents are encouraged to call 911 if they see an act of illegal dumping take place.
“If anyone has any information on the commercial dumping, I encourage them to call our tip-line at (202)379-4877,” said Sergeant Thomas Twiname, U.S. Park Police Public Information Officer. “The portion of the 295 where this dumping took place is a high-traffic area and if anyone saw it take place their information could be crucial in identify the suspect.”
Study Sheds Light on Bay Water Quality & Recovery
A newly-published environmental study that examines the history of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay reveals how the estuary has responded to nutrient reduction efforts and why improvements remain extremely challenging. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researchers looked at the Bay’s historic response to efforts to reduce nutrients to minimize dead zones—areas with too little oxygen to support marine life—and found there is a pollution threshold after which it takes twice the effort to make a change.
“Once nutrient pollution crosses a threshold and the system enters a eutrophic state, it will take a much larger reduction to return to the original state,” said study co-author Ming Li, a professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
This study examined the expansion of low-oxygen zones from 1950–1989, when the amount of nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay doubled. Previous analysis showed that the large expansion of hypoxia between ’50s and ’80s was correlated to increased nutrient pollution from rivers. Read the full report here, which was published in the February edition of Science of the Total Environment , an international multi-disciplinary natural science journal.
New DNR Secretary Issues First Statement
Incoming Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz released the following message, his first, to constituents on Thursday:
“I am honored to serve as Acting Secretary of Natural Resources for the Moore-Miller administration. This is an exciting time for Maryland, and it is a privilege to be a part of a passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable team that is working to provide a healthier, sustainable environment.
“Born and raised in Maryland, I am an avid hiker and camper with an annual personal goal of 30 nights outdoors. My love for our natural resources comes from years of enjoying them all across the state. Those experiences led me to pursue a wildlife conservation degree from the University of Delaware and a career focused on finding broader solutions to issues facing our shared resources.
“I am excited to join and lead the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s mission of securing a sustainable future for our environment, economy and society by expanding opportunities for the innovative green economy and ensuring sustainability for our natural resource-based industries; increasing mitigation and enhancing resilience to climate effects while restoring water quality in our rivers and streams leading to the Chesapeake Bay; and providing greater and equitable access to our share resources.
“To accomplish our goals, we will regularly engage with the community. Though we may have different views, we share priorities. I look forward to meeting and working with all of our stakeholders —especially our watermen, forest operators, and outdoor recreation sector businesses—along with nonprofit agencies and federal, state and local governments. Together, we will strive to find bold solutions and rise to the challenge to provide a sustainable future for all Marylanders.”
Save a Fish, Build a Reef
Get ready to party for a great cause. Coastal Conservation Association Virginia has announced it’s 20th Annual Save a Fish, Build a Reef Fundraising Banquet. Hosted by the Northern Virigina Chapter of CCA VA, the event will be held at the Arlington Fairfax Elks Lodge in Fairfax on March 18th. Featuring camaraderie with fellow anglers and conservationists, auction items, raffles, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, drinks, and live music, the fundraiser supports the Chapter’s many activities, including the “Save a Kid–Catch a Fish” trip, Oyster Reef Building Habitat Initiative, and conservation efforts. For more information and tickets, click here.
Two Weeks ‘Til Muskrat Fest
You read that right—there’s just two weeks until the 76th annual National Outdoor Show & Muskrat Festival returns to the grounds and hallways of South Dorchester Elementary School. The beloved festival harks back to Eastern Shore traditions associated with muskrat trapping, hunting, and preparing, as well as crabbing, fishing, oystering, and more! Held February 24th and 25th, the festival will feature a number of pageants, outdoors and cooking demonstrations, and the hallmark muskrat skinning competitions. Learn more about this Dorchester County tradition, daily schedules, admission costs, and directions, by visiting nationaloutdoorshow.org.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.