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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. The leading photograph (above): Rods/lures/life zipping by the U.S. Naval Academy (in the background), en route to deeper water in the Chesapeake Bay proper. Photo taken the morning of September 7th by yours truly.

Three Rocking Benefit Events Next Weekend

One week from today (yes, that’s next Saturday, September 16th), several nonprofits including Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Oyster Alliance, Maryland Waterways Foundation, and Coastal Conservation Association Maryland, among others, play host to three angling-centric, benefit events in an “all-in-one package” day. The annual Chesapeake Fishing Open, Chesapeake Rod & Reef Slam, and a brand-new event, the Oysters, Blues & Brews festival coalesce at Port Covington Marina in Baltimore all day. The details are thick with fishing, food, music, and fun. The Kelly Bell Band will headline the day’s musical performances. Families will be fishing. Awards will be given out. For the complete schedule of events, who and what to register for, and the vision/mission for said events, visit either or

Sweet Partnership for a Cleaner Bay

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Hershey Company (Hershey) recently announced joint commitment of $2 million to support local dairy farmers. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance), in collaboration with Land O’Lakes, Inc., will use funds to promote the adoption of practices that support local and regional environmental goals with dairy farmers in Land O’Lakes’ eastern region milk shed.

The Alliance, Hershey, and Land O’Lakes have been working together since 2021 on an initiative called “Sustainable Dairy PA.” The initiative takes a collaborative, industry-led, and public sector-supported approach to accelerate on-farm conservation efforts for local eastern region dairy farmers.

The $2 million in funding is part of a commitment between the EPA and Hershey. These funds, $1 million of which will be funded by the EPA and a matching $1 million of which will be committed from Hershey, will be used to support the Alliance and Land O’Lakes in implementing agricultural conservation practices on Land O’Lakes member dairy farms. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will administer the portion of the funds provided from EPA to the Alliance. Learn more at Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Photography courtesy Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

New Land Stewards Program Launches on Eastern Shore

A new program by ShoreRivers, Next Generation Land Stewards, recently convened its first cohort of new or upcoming agricultural landowners to create a network of peer support. The project is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and was founded by ShoreRivers staff members who are the stewards of family farms in the region. 

“The goal of this project is to have a rising generation of land stewards who are educated and empowered to manage their land in a way that is profitable for the farm and their business and conscious of the ecosystem that the farm is part of,” said ShoreRivers Agriculture & Outreach Coordinator and Project Lead Laura Wood.

The program hosts workshops with expert partners and explores topics such as conservation easements, habitat management, and conservation incentive programs for buffers and wetlands. Future topics will include equitable leases, succession planning, forest stewardship, and government programs. The program will educate and empower the next generation of land stewards to feel confident as they navigate the decisions that will define our landscapes and waterways for years to come.To learn more or join the Next Generation Land Stewards Cohort, click here. Photograph courtesy ShoreRivers.

James River Week Begins Today

Every September, community partners team up to organize a week-long celebration of Virginia’s most incredible asset, the James River. James River Week provides many exciting ways for people to enjoy the James through river-based activities, events, education, and more.

The planning committee for James River Week is composed of six organizations including the James River Advisory Council (JRAC), James River Association (JRA), Maymont, Friends of James River Park, Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation, Chesterfield County Public Library, and Central Virginia Waste Management Authority.

James River Week officially kicks off on Saturday, September 9th, with JRAC’s James River Regional Cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon. This will be the 24th year the event has spanned more than 75 miles of the James River watershed, and everyone is encouraged to register including boaters, paddlers, and pedestrians. The festivities today continue with a River Trail Hike at Powhatan State Park, a James River Week Kick-off at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery West Creek, and several events at Maymont including a James River Urban Wildlife presentation with beloved photographer, Bill Draper.

The entire week will feature a range of celebrations and special events, including a partnership with restaurants across the watershed for the special Seafood for the James promotion. For a complete list of all James River Week events including dates, locations, and more, visit

Six-Knot Zone Under Bay Bridge Takes Effect 9/18

Boaters and anglers take note. As of September 18, 2023, amendments to Regulation .02 under COMAR 08.18.07 Chesapeake Bay become effective. This regulation establishes a 6-knot speed zone in the Chesapeake Bay for the area surrounding the construction site of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement Project on the Western Shore side and is effective at all times through March 31, 2026. The Final Action has been printed in the Maryland Register. Visit the Department’s Changes to Boating Regulations page for more information about the regulatory process and to learn about other actions the department currently has under consideration.

Trail Closures in Harpers Ferry

Trailblazers and rock climbers take note. Due to potentially hazardous conditions during rockslide stabilization work along US 340, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will temporarily close a portion of the Loudoun Heights Trail, certain climbing routes, and a section of river shoreline starting Sept. 12. The temporary closures will continue for the duration of the work, which is expected to last 90 days.

The Loudoun Heights Trail will be closed one mile east of its intersection with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail through the Split Rock Overlook. The Loudoun Heights Trail will be monitored throughout the project, and further closures may become necessary for the safety of the visitors and construction workers.

Climbing routes in Virginia and West Virginia east of Chestnut Hill Road will be closed during construction. A 0.8 mile section of shoreline below the work, along the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, will also be closed. In addition, there will be intermittent closures for pedestrians crossing the US 340 bridge, not expected to exceed 20 minutes.

The West Virginia Division of Highways awarded a contract to stabilize a rockslide-prone section of mountain high above US 340 near Harpers Ferry. A section of US 340 between Virginia 671 (Harpers Ferry Road) and Chestnut Hill Road will be closed. Detours may be up to 22 miles in length, adding an average of 35 minutes of travel time for many visitors.

Harpers Ferry NHP will remain open and will continue to offer programming and events throughout the closure. Recreational activities and trails throughout the rest of the park will not be impacted. Please check the park’s Current Conditions for updates to the closures.

Maritime Museum Adds Vessel to Education Fleet

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is pleased to announce the expansion of its on-water experience offerings through the acquisition of the cruise boat PATRIOT, which has been docked at CBMM’s waterfront for decades.

Effective immediately, CBMM assumes day-to-day operations of the 65-foot, two-level vessel modeled to resemble a Chesapeake Bay steamboat that has offered guests scenic cruises of the Miles River since 1990. All reservations will be honored, with the current staff remaining in place.

“We are absolutely thrilled to add PATRIOT to the CBMM family,” CBMM President & CEO Kristen Greenaway said. “Given PATRIOT’s impeccable reputation and ability to give access to the Miles River to 20,000 guests per year, the acquisition of the vessel is a key addition to delivering our mission. We appreciate previous owners Robin and John Marrah with entrusting us to steward PATRIOT into its next chapter and wish them all the best.”

Adding PATRIOT is a natural step for CBMM as it has been a fixture of St. Michaels Harbor and CBMM partner, dating back to 1969 when Jim Heikes refitted a wooden fishing boat as a cruise vessel named PATRIOT. Guests can continue to book tours online at or buy tickets from the booth adjacent to the dock through Oct. 22. For more information, visit Photograph courtesy CBMM.

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