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 Severn River sunset, photographed one week ago on Saturday evening, 10/28. Photo by yours truly.
Save the Stripers
Most important news of the week. In the wake of the dismal (horrifying even) 2023 young-of-year striped bass index that was recently published by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which indicated one of the lowest striper spawns since 1954, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s October meeting focused on bringing the “Atlantic Striped Bass Draft Addendum II” to the public for comment. This Draft will attempt to further the ASMFC’s goals of saving the above-average 2018 year class of stripers—arguably the last well-bred class of stripers in stock—and support stock rebuilding overall by the year 2029. ASMFC hopes to accomplish this by reducing recreational and commercial harvest of the species with adjusted regulations.
Basically the Draft boils down to a range of options for the 2024 season that could affect recreational and commerial anglers from Maine to Florida, but especially those in the Chesapeake Bay region. Proposed 2024 regulations for Bay recs include options with varying minimum creel sizes between 18″ and 19,” and maximum creel sizes ranging between 23″ and 26.” Bag limits would remain unchanged (1 per rec angler, or 2 if chartering). In reading through the options, the language doesn’t specify/clarify if Trophy Season (5/1 through 5/15) would actually be eliminated or not. The language notes the Trophy Season is “part of ocean fishery,” so it’s unclear if the proposed range of maximum creel sizes would apply.
Commercial quotas could be adjusted as well, with a 14.5 percent reduction proposed across the board for all states.
Right now is your time to voice opinions, concerns, questions, and suggestions about Draft Addendum II affecting the 2024 seasons and years ahead for the striped bass fishery. View the entire Draft here, which includes instructions on how to provide feedback directly to the ASMFC.
9.1M Acres Protected in Bay Watershed
The Chesapeake Bay Program released some incredible statistics this week, based on research conducted last year. As of 2022, data collected by the Chesapeake Bay Program show that 9.1 million acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—roughly 22 percent of the total land in the region—are permanently protected from development. Hooray!
The Chesapeake Bay Program works to extend the acres of protected lands through its Protected Lands Workgroup, which is led primarily by the National Park Service and includes representatives from state and federal agencies, nonprofits, and local governments. In 2010, the partnership set a goal to protect an additional two million acres of land on top of what had been previously protected across the watershed. In particular, the goal calls for 225,000 acres of wetlands and 695,000 acres of forest.
As of 2022, nearly 1.64 million acres have been added since 2010, achieving 82 percent of the Protected Land Outcome in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The overall Protected Lands Outcome is expected to be achieved by its 2025 deadline.
Chesapeake Gateways Grants Doled Out
The National Park Service (NPS) awarded $2,367,633.17 in Chesapeake Gateways Grants through the NPS Chesapeake Gateways Office to fund 22 projects. The announcement was made this week. Governmental and non-governmental organizations spearhead the projects funded by Chesapeake Gateways grants to bring out familiar, untold, under-appreciated, or yet to be uncovered narratives and to promote resilient communities and landscapes through tourism, sustainability, conservation, and local economies throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These awards are made possible through annual appropriations from Congress.
“Through these awards, our partners will affect meaningful change throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said NPS Chesapeake Gateways Superintendent Wendy O’Sullivan. “These projects are significant elements of our ongoing effort to refresh the National Park Service commitment to Chesapeake places, partners, and communities.”
This year’s awards are distributed to:
- The Accokeek Foundation Inc. ($47,731) Maryland – Expanding Access to Black and Indigenous Narratives of the Potomac
- Baltimore Green Space ($150,000) Maryland – Springfield Woods Local Leader Legacies
- Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation ($106,885) Virginia – Four Mile Run All-Ability Water Access Point
- The James River Association ($149,520.56) Virginia – Seeing is Believing – Linking 5th Grade Hampton City Students with Local Culture and Nature through Outdoor Environmental Education
- Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission ($109,621.90) West Virginia – Development of a Comprehensive Parks Master Plan for Moulton Park.
- The Rappahannock Tribe ($147,807) Virginia – Connecting the Public to Rappahannock Tribal History and Stewardship of Natural Resources
- Susquehanna National Heritage Area ($150,000) Pennsylvania – Susquehanna Discovery Center & Heritage Park – Master Plan & Interpretive Framework
- Backyard Basecamp, Inc. ($150,000) Maryland – Weeds to Woods Naturally Urban Workforce Development Program
- Baltimore Tree Trust, Inc. ($49,85) Maryland – Baltimore Tree Trust and Baltimore Peace Movement’s Memorial Tree Plantings
- EcoLatinos, Inc. ($125,517.46) Maryland – Enlace: Engaging and Empowering Latino Youth through Environmental Experiences and Education
- Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance ($150,000) Maryland – Three Cultures Center at Handsell Historic Site
- Fairfax County Park Foundation ($45,798.15) Virginia – The Wonder Wagon: A Mobile Nature Center for Fairfax County
- The Friends of the National Arboretum ($147,565) Washington D.C. – Diversifying Volunteer Programs in the Anacostia Watershed
- The Mariners’ Museum ($147,884)- Virginia – Mariners’ Lake Access Initiative
- The National Park Trust ($35,000) Maryland – National Park Trust and Bowie State College Ambassadors Explore the Chesapeake Gateway Region
- The Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region ($50,000) Washington D.C. – Kingman Rangers Interpretive Program
- Baltimore County ($150,000) Maryland – Bi-Lingual Ranger Community Engagement Pilot Project
- Green Muslims ($35,000) Washington D.C. – Green Muslims ODIG! for Adults: Our Deen is Green! Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) for Grownups
- Virginia Outdoors Foundation ($77,000) Virginia – Living on the Edge: Uncovering and Sharing the Stories of Bull Run Mountain’s Diversely Peopled Past
- City of Charlottesville ($49,976) Virginia – Discovering Diversity to Advance Inclusion, Accessibility, and Equity in Charlottesville
- Defensores de la Cuenca ($149,975.10) Maryland & Washington D.C. – Access to Action: Engaging the Latino Community of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
- Black in Marine Science ($142,500) Pennsylvania – Using eDNA and Storytelling to Understand the Social and Ecological Histories of African Americans in the Chesapeake Bay
NPS Chesapeake Gateways offers competitive grant opportunities to advance the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 within the full 41-million-acre Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, the office administers the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network (Chesapeake Gateways), co-convenes the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership, and represents the NPS at the Chesapeake Bay Program.
Chesapeake Gateways Grants are available annually. To learn more about how to apply, head to the NPS Chesapeake Gateways website.
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.