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Weekly Creel : Angling & Conservation News

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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 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. This week’s catch also includes…

Severn River Watershed Property Now Permanently Protected

Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have permanently conserved 130 acres of forest, farm, and the last remaining sawmill in Anne Arundel County. Landowners Gary and Janet Garman granted a conservation easement on their Crownsville property, which was being considered for development with at least 24 homes. But with the new conservation easement in place, development is now limited to just one main house and two guest houses.

“Our family has cared for and worked this land for over 75 years,” said Gary Garman. “We love the forest and we’re proud to be conserving it, so that future generations can enjoy it too.”

The immense ecological value of the land, which is in the Severn River watershed, has been recognized by multiple state and county criteria for conservation prioritization. Located in a Targeted Ecological Area, the 120+ acres of forest are identified as valuable green infrastructure in assessments conducted by both the Department of Natural Resources and Anne Arundel County.

“The Garman property is number eight on our list of the Top 100 most important properties in need of conservation in the county,” said Scenic Rivers Executive Director Sarah Knebel. “I cannot express how grateful we are that the Garmans are conservation-minded landowners. They understand how special their land is, know that it’s worth conserving, and were willing to work with us to see it protected forever.”

Reef Building Volunteers Needed Today in Annapolis

Coastal Conservation Association Maryland is hosting a reef ball build on the grounds of the Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s easy to volunteer a lending hand—just show up! Bring your family and friends, and CCA will teach you the ropes of how to build a reef ball, which will be deployed on future reef builds throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Learn all the details at CCA’s event page here.

Photograph of a reef building activity. Lo-Profile molds being poured by hand. Photo Credit: St. Mary’s River Watershed Assoc.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Hosts Youth Event Today

Organized by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s in coordination with the AFL-CIO, a free, community-based youth outreach outdoors day full of activities is planned for today. Boys and girls, ages 9 to 17, and their families will get a chance to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy a picnic lunch at the Get Youth Outdoors Day community event hosted in Queenstown, Maryland. The event is organized under Work Boots on the Ground—the USA’s flagship conservation program.  

Local union volunteers trained in firearms safety and instruction will provide hands-on introductions to sporting clays and archery, and youth will also get to practice casting a line. The event takes place at The Point at Pintail. “Preserving our outdoor heritage for tomorrow starts with getting kids outside today,” states the organization. “Hunters and recreational shooters generate billions in retail sales and economic activity each year, while contributing millions for conservation and wildlife management nationwide through special federal excise taxes. Research has also proven that outdoor-related activities such as hunting create participatory pathways for children to experience nature and help kindle a lifelong interest in environmental conservation. This free event will help educate a future generation of American hunters and recreational shooters from diverse communities and backgrounds.”

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot, and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit

Bacon Brothers Join Arundel Rivers to Plant Stream Habitat

Last Saturday, June 17th, Michael and Kevin Bacon—yes, that Kevin Bacon—of The Bacon Brothers and SixDegrees.Org joined forces with Arundel Rivers Federation (Arundel Rivers) and local scouts to plant hundreds of native plants for the Chesapeake Bay at a newly completed stream restoration project near Annapolis. 

The event was held at the recently completed Broad Creek Park stream restoration project managed by Arundel Rivers and made possible by funding from Anne Arundel County’s Bureau of Watershed Protection and Restoration, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Part of the broader Chesapeake Bay restoration strategy, the project reconnected 3,700 feet of degraded stream channel to its historic floodplain to prevent 25 dump truck loads of sediment from entering the South River and the Chesapeake Bay each year.

The Bacon Brothers stopped by the project to lend a helping hand between concerts at Annapolis’s Rams Head on Stage. 

“It’s always nice to take a break in between shows to get involved and learn more about projects that are happening in the local area. Annapolis is one of our favorite stops each year, and learning more about the unique ecosystem of the Bay from our new friends was really inspiring,” Michael Bacon said.

Local scouts and leaders of Arundel Rivers handed Michael and Kevin shovels and invited them to get their hands dirty and feet wet helping to restore the stream valley and the Chesapeake Bay.

“Through my charity, SixDegrees.Org, we actively champion Youth Empowerment, Equity & Justice, and Sustainability. The remarkable efforts undertaken by Arundel Rivers resonate with the core missions of our respective organizations. We had a great time learning about the organization’s admirable work and being shown the ropes by the young people that will ensure this planet has a bright future,” Kevin Bacon said.

“Every project at Arundel Rivers is an opportunity to reconnect people to their lands and waters so they can become a part of the Chesapeake Bay restoration story,” said Arundel Rivers Executive Director, Matt Johnston. “We were delighted to have the Bacon Brothers and SixDegrees.Org join that restoration story today. The plants they added to this floodplain with the help of our local scouts will join nearly 6,000 others planted by Arundel Rivers and volunteers over the last few months. Those plants will soon start filtering nutrients, holding sediment in place, providing habitat, and protecting the Chesapeake Bay.” Photograph courtesy Arundel Rivers Federation.

Maryland DNR Announces “Es Mi Parque” Summer Plans

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced the summer schedule for ‘Es Mi Parque’ Spanish-language activity events at state parks throughout Maryland.

The Es Mi Parque program was launched by the Department of Natural Resources in 2016 as a pilot project to improve customer service and reduce access barriers for the Hispanic community. It has since evolved to be the umbrella term for all Spanish bilingual programs and events at parks, including annual summer events at different state parks, a bilingual Junior Ranger camp held at Patapsco Valley State Park, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, and much more.

Summer events feature activities such as fishing skill games, safe boating practices, learning about Maryland wildlife, and more. The following events are scheduled this year::

  • Greenbrier State Park, Boonsboro – June 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis – July 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Patapsco Valley State Park–Avalon Area, Halethorpe – July 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Point Lookout State Park, Scotland – August 12  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A Hispanic Heritage Month celebration will be held September 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 pm. at Patapsco Valley State Park–Avalon Area.

The department welcomes local community leaders, organizations, and vendors to collaborate in these programs. Anyone interested in partnering with Es Mi Parque can contact Monserrat Pizarro, via email at ​ Photograph courtesy Maryland DNR, taken by Ranger Melissa Boyle Acuti.

Univ. of Maryland Receives Fed Funding for Oyster Research

On Friday morning, Maryland U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen joined oyster experts from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and other environmental partners to celebrate a nearly $1 million federal award for oyster restoration and resiliency research and roundtable discussion on the future of oyster research for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters are iconic in Maryland and critically important to the culture and the recovery of Chesapeake Bay.

“I am so proud that we are gathered here today to celebrate a new research funding initiative on the resilience of oysters,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Peter Goodwin. “UMCES’ oyster hatchery is the largest on the East Coast and serves a critical role in supplying oyster for restoration, aquaculture, and the public fishery. Our oyster team consists of over a dozen scientists, graduate students, post-docs, and more working on this issue every day.” Learn more at the UMCES website. Photograph courtesy UMCES.

Three Peregrine Falcons Fledge at Harpers Ferry

Several months ago, we reported on nesting pairs of peregrine falcons at Harpers Ferry. Well, they made magic in the time since. The National Park Service announced this week that three peregrine falcon chicks successfully took their first flights from the cliffs of Maryland Heights at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (NHP) this spring. This is the third consecutive, documented fledging of peregrine falcons since the 1950s from this historic breeding site. This is also the first time in over 70 years that each chick has survived to this milestone.

The adult falcons will continue to feed their fledglings for several months while the young birds gain strength and hunting skills. The fledgling stage through the first year is one of the most dangerous times for young falcons. The National Park Service (NPS) asks the public to respect the fenced-off closure during this time to help protect the birds.

“The Harpers Ferry peregrine falcon program is the result of hard work and dedication from so many different groups,” Eric Kelley, park biologist said. “The success that we have observed over the past few years has been deeply rewarding.”

The peregrine falcon management program at Harpers Ferry NHP is a cooperative effort that includes the NPS, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a team of dedicated park volunteers. Photograph with two of the three falcon chicks by NPS/volunteer Midge Flinn Yost.

And that’s a wrap for this week’s Creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to