Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts of the Chesapeake Bay region. Please email us directly at email@example.com to have your organization’s news item or event listing considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the lastest, local fishing reports from Reel Chesapeake, On The Water, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine. The leading photograph (above): A midsummer morning on the Chesapeake Bay, near Annapolis, shot in 2022 by yours truly. This week’s catch also includes…
Governor Creates Council on the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Watershed
Yesterday was a notable one in the history of Chesapeake conservation strategy, as Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed an executive order to create the Governor’s Council on the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Watershed, renaming and restructuring the former Governor’s Council on the Chesapeake Bay, or Bay Cabinet, which was first formed in 1985. Speaking at Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area in Queenstown, the governor explained that Maryland will focus water quality improvement projects in specific areas with the most potential to improve wildlife habitat and populations and bolster shorelines from rising sea levels.
“Our administration is focused on working in new and collaborative ways to reduce the pollution reaching our bays and providing our local communities and farmers with the opportunities and resources they need to succeed,” Gov. Moore said. “Now is the time to embrace the lessons we’ve learned in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays over the past 40 years and evolve our strategy to reflect that.”
The restructured council will be charged with coordinating and accelerating the restoration of the state’s waterways with a collective goal to create healthy watersheds that benefit the environment, economy, and communities.
“The new focus on increasing wildlife habitat will help striped bass and blue crab populations recover. Our ongoing effort to plant 5 million new trees in Maryland during the next decade will add new streamside buffers along rural and suburban areas as well as increase tree canopy in our cities to prevent polluted runoff and cool temperatures,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “As rising sea levels and stronger storms due to climate change threaten Maryland, we’ll be looking to expand marshes and reconnect streams and rivers to their floodplains to mitigate flooding threats.”
Later in the day, at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point, Gov. Moore signed a second executive order to establish the Oyster and Shell Substrate Task Force. The diverse task force was created to develop a proactive plan to keep and purchase oyster shells to ensure the state has enough hard surface to increase oyster abundance in the Bay.
No doubt we’ll be learning more about the council’s plans and endeavors in the months to come. For now, learn more at governor.maryland.gov. Photography courtesy Office of the Governor.
ASA Celebrates 90th Anniversary
This summer, the American Sportfishing Association officially celebrated its 90th anniversary—a legendary accomplishment for any industry/advocacy organization, let alone one dedicated to recreational angling. To honor the occasion, U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (R-Va.) introduced a resolution into the congressional record in celebration of ASA, noting the wide array of accomplishments ASA has achieved throughout its history. Highlights of the resolution include:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the power of the sportfishing industry and to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). ASA has played a vital role in preserving and promoting our cherished fishing tradition in this great Nation...
“For the past 90 years, the American Sportfishing Association has been at the forefront of protecting and advancing the interests of recreational fishermen across the United States. Through collaborative partnerships with government agencies, conservation organizations and industry stakeholders, they have played a pivotal role in shaping policies that promote responsible fishing practices, support habitat restoration, and safeguard the rights of anglers...
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in commending the American Sportfishing Association for their 90 years of service to the angling community. Their unwavering commitment to the sport, conservation and education has enriched the lives of countless Americans and will continue to do so for generations to come. Congratulations to ASA, their President Glenn Hughes and all their dedicated staff and members. Here’s to the Association’s next 90 years.”
Maryland Watershed Champion Announced
Congratulations to Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake’s (IPC) Executive Director, Jodi Rose, who’s been named this year’s Maryland Watershed Champion by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for her leadership and dedication to cleaner rivers and streams. To commemorate this honor, she will be recognized at the Alliance’s Maryland Taste of the Chesapeake event on September 21st, 6–8 p.m. at the Annapolis Maritime Museum.
As a fervent environmentalist and advocate, Jodi Rose has dedicated her career to raising awareness about the importance of protecting and restoring the environment, and most recently here in Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Her innovative strategies have inspired countless individuals and congregations to take action, while empowering the faith community to honor, care for, and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Learn more at Alliance for the Chespeake Bay and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake. Photograph courtesy Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.
Green Infrastructure Projects in Four States, Plus D.C., Receive Funding
The Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announce that $1,850,576 in funding has been awarded to 36 projects across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia as part of the Chesapeake Bay Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns (G3) Grant Program. The awards help communities develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff; increase the number of green spaces in urban areas; improve the health of local rivers, streams, the Chesapeake Bay, and the human populations within the communities; create “green jobs;” reduce energy use; and enhance livability in cities and communities.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of today’s announcement of funding for 36 projects across West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and D.C., including for the Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson,” said Senator Manchin, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “These investments will assist communities in reducing stormwater runoff, establishing green spaces, promoting clean water, bolstering energy infrastructure and more. I’m grateful for the partnership of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the EPA and the WVDEP and I will continue working to ensure our communities across the Mountain State have the resources they need to thrive.”
For the full list of funded projects, including many in our own Chesapeake region hometowns, click here.
Oysters Planted on Tred Avon River Sanctuary
Volunteers for the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative gathered at the offices of founding sponsor Eglseder Wealth Management Group, Inc. in June to pick up oyster spat-on-shell from their 300-plus growers. After coffee and doughnuts, 80 community volunteers collected more than 750 cages of oysters from the growers and delivered them to the Easton Point Marina. Captain Robert Crow and his first mate, Mark Massey, were at the dock waiting to load the oysters onto their boat and plant the 217,280 spat-on-shell in a protected oyster sanctuary on the Tred Avon River.
The Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative was founded in 2011 by Eglseder Wealth Management Group, Inc., and, as measured by the number of growers in any group, has grown to be the largest group of oyster growers (for restoration purposes) in the State of Maryland. The project is part of the state’s Marylanders Grow Oysters program to encourage people to become involved in Maryland’s oyster restoration efforts and clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay. To learn how to become an oyster grower, please visit oystersforthebay.com or contact Suzanne Anderson, Program Manager, at 410-822-9143. Photograph courtesy Eglseder Wealth Managment Group, Inc.
U.S. Dept. of Interior Announces $295M Funding to Expand Outdoor Access/Programs
The Department of the Interior announced the distribution of $295,582,830 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) today to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Recent changes to the LWCF Manual guide states to work more closely with Tribal Nations and clarify eligibility to ensure all federally recognized Tribes can take part in and support future public outdoor recreation and conservation projects. The funds from this year’s distribution will be available until fiscal year 2025.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps further President Biden’s commitment to investing in America’s lands and waters, expanding access to the outdoors, and safeguarding the environment,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “These grants, matched primarily by state and local governments, will inspire collaborative conservation and improves equitable access to the outdoors for all.”
Maryland, for example, received nearly $5.5M in funds. Virginia, $6.5. And Washington, D.C., $2.5M.
ShoreRivers 2023 Photo Contest Announced
ShoreRivers is running its annual photo contest from August through October. “We are looking for images that highlight the beauty and resilience of the Eastern Shore waterways that ShoreRivers works to protect and restore through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education,” states ShoreRivers. “We are particularly interested in images of people—show us how you enjoy the places we all love!”
Contest winners will be announced December 1st via email and on social media. There will be four winners for each watershed: the Choptank; Miles, Wye, and Eastern Bay; Sassafras and Bayside Creeks; and Chester, for a total of 16 winners. Photographers will be credited for their work and may submit up to four photos. Images must be taken in ShoreRivers’ geography. For additional contest rules and details, please visit shorerivers.org/photo-contest. Photograph of a winning submission from the ShoreRivers 2022 photo contest, by Andrew McCown, courtesy ShoreRivers.
Eastern Neck Hunting Permits Available August 9th
Plan ahead. Beginning August 9th, at 10 a.m., Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) hunting permits will be available online at www.recreation.gov or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Regulations and dates for the 2023–24 deer hunt are now available on the refuge website at www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern-neck.
Please note the following changes to this year’s regulations. Only one hunter per permit is allowed; group members may no longer be added to a permit. This change now allows hunters to present their valid hunting permit either electronically or on paper. This year, all hunts at Eastern Neck will take place during the month of October. There will be no primitive hunt.
For more information on hunting at Eastern Neck NWR, please visit www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern-neck.
A few final thoughts and words as we wrap up this week: (1) Striped bass remain off limits to anglers through 7/31, but if you’re fishing the Bay for other species, it’s inevitable that you’ll hook into them as bycatch. And we’re seeing a few pics of ’em on social media. Question: What’s your take on photographing a decent-sized striper bycatch during closure? I’ve always tried to release in water as quickly as possible, but I can see why others feel it’s okay to take a quick pic before releasing. The ethics of snapping stripers during closure and sharing those pics seems a gray area to me. (2) We haven’t talked much about crabbing this season. The early runs in late-May through June were pretty good, then a cool off for a few weeks. But now, the reports seem to be coming in gangbusters, with solid catches in many rivers throughout the Bay. We’ll be trying our luck with box traps this coming week. Seems to me the crabbing picks up again at about the same time plump tomatoes start hanging on the vine. (3) Personally, I’ve seen more baitfish in the creeks and rivers than the last three seasons, which should bode well for autumn striper fishing. We shall see!
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.