Tawes State Office Building, C-4
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

The Secretary of Natural Resources heads the Department. The Secretary is appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent.

The Secretary serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Governor's Council on the Chesapeake Bay; the Governor's Executive Committee on Drunk and Drugged Driving; the Governor's Pesticide Council; and the Governor's Commission on Service. The Secretary also serves on the Chesapeake Bay Commission; the Chesapeake Bay Trust; the Maryland Greenways Commission; the Rural Legacy Board; the State Soil Conservation Committee; the Seafood Marketing Advisory Commission; the Scenic and Wild Rivers Review Board; the Patuxent River Commission; the Maryland Civil War Heritage Commission; the Interagency Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Committee; and the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs.

Under the Secretary, the work of the Department is organized through four main programs: Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Programs; Management Service; Public Lands; and Resource Management Service.


The Public Communications Office was reorganized in 1995. It includes the Public Outreach Section and media, marketing, Internet coordination and graphics functions.


Tawes State Office Building
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

With the signing of the interstate Chesapeake Bay Agreement in 1987, State programs formed to protect and restore the Bay. In the Department of Natural Resources, the Chesapeake Bay Program Office was created under the Office of the Secretary. At the Department of the Environment, Bay activities began with the Chesapeake Bay and Special Projects Program, reorganized as the Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Administration in 1994. The Administration transferred in 1995 to the Department of Natural Resources and merged with the Chesapeake Bay Program Office to form Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Programs.

Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Programs leads State efforts to protect and restore Chesapeake Bay. It oversees four programs: the Chesapeake and Coastal Watershed Service; Education, Bay Policy, and Growth Management; the Regional Chesapeake Bay Program; and the Resource Assessment Service.


The Chesapeake and Coastal Watershed Service began in 1988 as the Watershed Nonpoint Source Division under Water Quality Programs of the Water Management Administration in the Department of the Environment. By 1992, the Division was renamed the Watershed Projects Division under the Chesapeake Bay and Special Projects Program. Later that year, it became the Nonpoint Source Assessment and Policy Program under the Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Management Administration. In 1994, it was renamed the Watershed Management Program and, in 1995, transferred to the Department of Natural Resources. The Program was reorganized in 1995 by the Department of Natural Resources as the Chesapeake and Coastal Watershed Service.

The Service develops and helps implement watershed management strategies and projects to restore and protect the ecosystems of Chesapeake Bay and its watersheds. The Service coordinates departmental responsibilities under the Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act (Chapter 437, Acts of 1992). The Service also provides staff support to the Maryland Greenways Commission.

The Service oversees five divisions: Coastal Zone Management; Geographic Information Services; Watershed Management and Analysis; Watershed Restoration; and Waterway Resources.


Origins of the Coastal Zone Management Division stem from the Coastal Zone Management Program which began in 1973 when the Governor designated the Department of Natural Resources to receive and administer federal grants pursuant to the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The Program was assigned first to the Water Resources Administration and, by 1977, transferred to the Energy and Coastal Zone Administration. By Executive Order in 1978, the Governor declared the Coastal Zone Management Program to be State policy for activities in Maryland coastal areas. In 1979, the Program became part of the Tidewater Administration (Chapter 601, Acts of 1979). Within the Administration, the Program was overseen by the Coastal Resources Division, which merged with the Watershed and Growth Management Division to form the Coastal and Watershed Resources Division in 1992. In 1995, the Program was placed under the Chesapeake and Coastal Watershed Service and renamed Coastal Zone Managment Division.

The Division is composed of five programs: Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System - Maryland; Coastal Bays National Estuary; Coastal Zone Management; Public Involvement; and Tributary Strategies.

The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System - Maryland was created in accordance with the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The System protects representative estuarine systems, including valuable wetland habitat, for use as natural field laboratories. The System maintains three reserves on Chesapeake Bay: Otter Point Creek Component, Harford County; Monie Bay Component, Somerset County; and Jug Bay Component, Anne Arundel County. Each reserve is a field laboratory supporting several monitoring, research and educational programs.

The Division administers the Coastal Zone Management Program with grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Program is based upon the laws, regulations, authorities, expertise, and perspectives of six State Departments (Agriculture, Budget and Management, Health and Mental Hygiene, Housing and Community Development, Natural Resources, and Transportation); sixteen coastal counties and Baltimore City; two regional planning agencies; and numerous federal agencies.

The Public Involvement Program seeks help from civic and community associations, environmental groups, businesses, and local governments to protect and restore watersheds.

The Tributary Strategies Program coordinates the development and implementation of nutrient reduction strategies for each of the Bay's major tributaries, as specified by the 1992 amendments to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.


In 1995, geographic information systems from the Water Resources Administration, the Tidewater Administration, and the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission were consolidated to form the Geographic Information Services Division.

The Division includes two programs: Geographic Data Production, and Geographic Systems Management. Together, they provide the basic data for comprehensive watershed management, restoration, and enhancement of the Chesapeake Bay.


The Watershed Management and Analysis Division identifies sources of nonpoint pollution throughout the State as a key element of Maryland's restoration of Chesapeake Bay. The Division also evaluates efforts at and defines options for comprehensive, cost-effective control of nonpoint source pollution.

Through research and technical analysis, the Division evaluates water quality statewide, particularly trends that affect Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The Division also coordinates its work with the Office of the Governor, other State agencies, neighboring states, and the federal government.

To protect Chesapeake Bay and its watersheds, the Watershed Management and Analysis Division provides technical and analytical expertise to agencies and organizations concerned with watershed management and resource protection. The Division works through three programs: Ecological Processes; Watershed Analysis and Modeling; and Watershed Management and Planning.


The Watershed Restoration Division develops and prioritizes watershed management plans and projects to maintain water quality and wildlife habitats. Through technical assistance and training, the Division helps local governments and interested persons assess stream systems and implement watershed restoration plans and projects. The effects of these plans and projects are evaluated by the Division to ensure that environmentally beneficial and cost effective practices are incorporated.

The Division has three programs: Riparian and Wetland Restoration; Watershed Assessment and Targeting; and Watershed Evaluation.


The Waterway Resources Division derives from the Planning and Policy Program formed within the Boating Administration in 1988. The Division received its current name under the Chesapeake and Coastal Watershed Service in November 1995.

For the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, the Division develops waterway management plans that allow for multipurpose use while maintaining resource protection goals. The Division administers a marine sewage pumpout program, petroleum control program, and the State's initiative to provide public access to waterways. The Division has two sections: Clean Waterway Practices; and Waterway Analysis.


Education, Bay Policy, and Growth Management formed in 1995 as Chesapeake Conservation Education. In 1997, it was reorganized under its present name. Now, it oversees four programs: Chesapeake Bay Policy Coordination; Conservation Education; Growth and Resource Conservation; and Tributary Strategies.


Chesapeake Bay Policy Coordination develops Department policy on Bay-related issues, drawing on departmental expertise and advice from citizens and signatories of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.


For the Department, Conservation Education coordinates conservation education programs, publications, and materials to promote environmental awareness in Maryland.


Growth and Resource Consrvation was formed in 1997 from the merger of the Growth Management Program and the Resource Economics Program.

The Growth Management Program was started in 1992 to coordinate the Department's responsibilities under the Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act (Chapter 437, Acts of 1992). The Program assists public and private interests to plan for and manage the adverse environmental impacts from land development, population growth and economic expansion.

As State agencies acquire land and undertake capital projects, the Program helps them develop and implement guidelines to protect environmentally sensitive areas. For local governments, the Program provides technical, educational and financial assistance to prepare comprehensive plans and development ordinances.

The Resource Economics Program was created in 1995. The Program applies economic principles to Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection programs. These principles include risk assessment, cost and benefits analysis, resource valuation, and regional impact evaluations. By demonstrating to business and developers the financial benefits of sustaining the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, the Program induces voluntary participation rather than regulatory control to change adverse business practices that harm the Bay.


Tributary Strategies was organized in 1997 under Education, Bay Policy, and Growth Management.


The Regional Chesapeake Bay Program derives from Maryland's commitment under the 1983 and 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreements to restore and protect the Bay, particularly its finfish, shellfish, wildlife, other aquatic life, and aquatic vegetation.

The Director chairs the Living Resources Subcommittee of the Chesapeake Executive Council, an interstate agency. Under the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, that subcommittee develops and implements plans to protect and restore habitats, ecosystems, and populations of the Bay's living resources.


Tawes State Office Building, C-2
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

Origins of the Resource Assessment Service trace to 19th century legislation safeguarding clams, oysters, and fish. Many later duties stem from the Department of Tidewater Fisheries formed under the Board of Natural Resources in 1941 (Chapter 508, Acts of 1941). That department was reorganized as the Department of Chesapeake Bay Affairs in 1964 and placed under the Department of Natural Resources in 1969 (Chapter 82, Acts of 1964; Chapter 154, Acts of 1969). In 1972, the Department merged with the Fish and Wildlife Administration to form the Fisheries Administration (Chapter 348, Acts of 1972). Duties of the Fisheries Administration were assigned to the Tidal Fisheries Division in 1979, when the Division joined with the Coastal Zone Management Program, and Waterway Improvement to form the Tidewater Administration (Chapter 601, Acts of 1979). Reorganized in 1988, the Administration was made part of Resource Management in 1992. As the Resource Assessment Administration, it joined Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Programs in 1995. Later that year, it became the Resource Assessment Service.

The Service collects and interprets scientific data to support the restoration, protection, and management of Maryland's tidal and nontidal ecosystems. The Service oversees the work of four agencies: the Maryland Geological Survey; the Monitoring and Nontidal Assessment Division; the Power Plant Assessment Program; and the Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Division.


2300 St. Paul St., Suite 440
Baltimore, MD 21218 - 5210

The first State Geological Survey operated from 1834 to 1841. Fifty-five years later, the State Geological and Economic Survey was established in 1896 (Chapter 51, Acts of 1896). The work of the Survey was placed under the Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources of the Board of Natural Resources in 1941 (Chapter 508, Acts of 1941). In 1964, the Maryland Geological Survey superseded the Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources (Chapter 73, Acts of 1964). The Survey became part of the Department of Natural Resources in 1969 (Chapter 154, Acts of 1969). Within the Department, it was placed under Resource Management in 1992 and under the Resource Assessment Service in 1995.

The Survey researches the geology, water and mineral resources of the State so this knowledge can be applied to resolve practical problems related to environmental and natural resources. Publication of maps and technical reports are the primary means of relaying this information to the public, private industry, and local, State and federal government agencies. The Survey periodically publishes County Reports, County and Quadrangle Atlases, Reports of Investigations, Basic Data Reports, Bulletins, Educational Series, and Information Circulars. The Survey also publishes county topographic and geologic maps, a State geologic map, and other maps and charts.

The Survey researches and investigates coastal and estuarine geology related to erosion and sedimentation in the Chesapeake Bay and along the ocean shoreline. As part of its applied earth science research on the Bay, the Survey was one of the principal investigators on the Chesapeake Bay Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Survey's work is carried out by three projects: Coastal and Estuarine Geology; Environmental Geology and Mineral Resources; and Hydrogeology and Hydrology.

The Director is appointed by the Governor upon recommendation of the Secretary of Natural Resources (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 2-201 through 2-203).

Created in 1971 from the Shore Erosion Investigation Program, the Coastal and Estuarine Geology Project investigates the geologic framework and resources of the State's coastal environments extending from the barrier island of the Atlantic Ocean to the wetlands and shorelines of Chesapeake Bay. Orthophoto quadrangle maps from aerial photography, combined with historical shoreline erosion maps, provide the basis to evaluate shoreline changes in the Bay region.

The Project monitors the geochemical components and physical features of sediments around the Hart-Miller Island Containment Facility.

In 1975, the Chesapeake Bay Earth Science Study was added to the Project. This work determines the distribution of sands, silts, and clays; identifies the patterns of erosion and deposition of these sediments; and analyzes the geochemistry of the pore waters in these sediments.

The Environmental Geology and Mineral Resources Project makes geologic, environmental and topographic maps and investigates mineral and energy resources. Project studies provide an earth science framework for managing Maryland's mineral, energy and land resources. The Project was created in 1972 from the former Geologic Investigations Program and the Topographic Maps Program.

Topographic maps are used by the public for activities such as hiking and camping and by State and local governments for a myriad of technical and planning applications. Geologic maps provide data about the kinds of rocks and the location of minerals (predominantly sand, gravel, stone, and coal) and provide background for the intelligent planning and use of Maryland's geologic natural resources.

The Project provides technical advice and assistance for the Geologic Exhibits and Visitors Center at Sideling Hill in western Maryland. Through the Survey's library and the Earth Science Information Center, aerial photos and large-scale maps are available to the public and private industry.

The Hydrogeology and Hydrology Project was formed in 1972. In cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Project maintains a statewide water data network and investigates the hydrologic and geologic characteristics of Maryland's water resources.

The surface water data network provides information on minimum, maximum and average streamflows for the planning of water supply and sewage facilities, water power projects, dams and bridges. The ground water network measures water levels in aquifers and selected springs and relates changes in ground water levels to withdrawals and precipitation. The ground water network also monitors the hydrologic effects of long-term changes in pumpage, land use patterns, and rainfall.

Special resource assessment studies undertaken with local and county governments include the extent of saltwater intrusion, aquifer and streamflow characteristics, water quality and rates of replenishment, and water well sampling for basic chemistry, nutrients, radon and either industrial organic constituents, or agricultural herbicide or pesticide residues.


The Monitoring and Nontidal Assessment Division began within the Tidewater Administration as the Chesapeake Bay Research and Monitoring Division in 1988. The Division was reorganized under its present name in 1995.

The Division consolidates scientific programs of the Resource Assessment Service in the areas of ecological habitat impacts; biological assessments; nonindigenous aquatic species control; and atmospheric deposition. A 49-foot research vessel, the RV Discovery, is used for Bay research projects.

The Division is served by the Acid Deposition Advisory Committee.


The Power Plant Assessment Program originated in 1971 as the Power Plant Siting Program (Chapter 31, Acts of 1971). The Program, by 1986, was renamed the Power Plant Research Program under the Energy Administration. In 1988, the Program was reorganized by the Department under the Tidewater Administration as the Power Plant and Environmental Review Division. In 1995, it received its present name.

The Program conducts environmental research, monitoring, and assessments to evaluate and minimize the environmental effects of power plants without imposing unreasonable costs on the production of electricity. The Program also assists in selecting sites for dredged materials and monitoring the environmental impact of these sites (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 3-301 through 3-307).

The Division is served by the Power Plant Research Advisory Committee.


The Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Division assesses the ecological health of Maryland's tidewater ecosystems, identifies the causes of environmental degradation, and seeks solutions. The Division also manages the State's long-term data bases on water quality and living resources for both tidal and nontidal ecosystems.


Tawes State Office Building
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

The Assistant Secretary for Management Service is responsible for four units: the Finance and Administrative Service; the Human Resource Service; Management Analysis and Auditing; and the Management Information Service.


Tawes State Office Building
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

Public Lands began in 1992 as Public Lands and Forestry and was reorganized under its present name in 1995. Public Lands oversees four programs: the Maryland Environmental Trust; the State Forest and Park Service; the Land and Water Conservation Service; and the Natural Resources Police Force.


100 Community Place, 1st floor
Crownsville, MD 21032 - 2023

The Maryland Environmental Trust was formed in 1967 to conserve, improve, stimulate, and perpetuate the aesthetic, natural, scenic and cultural aspects of the Maryland environment (Chapter 648, Acts of 1967). The Trust also promotes appreciation of the environment and continued interest in its care.

The Trust seeks donations of conservation easements to the State on certain lands to preserve the land from development. By the end of 1995, the Trust had secured 347 conservation easements on 49,533 acres.

The Trust consists of fifteen trustees. Three serve ex officio. The remaining twelve each year elect three of their own successors for four-year terms. The Trust appoints the Director (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 3-201 through 3-211).


Tawes State Office Building, E-3
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

The State Forest and Park Service originated in 1906 when John and Robert Garrett of Baltimore gave the State nearly 2,000 acres of land in the Swallow Falls area of Garrett County. The gift came with a proviso that a forestry service be established to protect woodlands and advance forestry. That same year, the Board of Forestry was created (Chapter 294, Acts of 1906). The Board was replaced by the Department of Forests and Parks under supervision of the Board of Natural Resources in 1941 (Chapter 508, Acts of 1941). In 1969, the Department of Forests and Parks became part of the Department of Natural Resources (Chapter 154, Acts of 1969). The Department of Forests and Parks in 1972 divided into two units: the Park Service and the Forest Service (Chapter 348, Acts of 1972). These agencies were recombined in 1982 as the Forest and Park Service (Chapter 184, Acts of 1982). In 1984, the Forest and Park Service merged with the Wildlife Administration to form the Forest, Park and Wildlife Service (Chapter 136, Acts of 1984). The Department separated the State Forest and Park Service from the Wildlife Program in 1991.

The State Forest and Park Service administers and manages Maryland's State forests, parks, natural environmental areas, natural resource areas, and marinas. While providing recreation sites, the Service preserves natural resources and ensures multiple uses and a sustained yield of forest resources (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 5-101 through 5-219).

The Service is responsible for seven State forests, some forty State parks, five demonstration forests, six natural environment areas, and nine natural resource management areas. The Service also oversees two State marinas. It operates Somers Cove Marina, home of the Annual Crab Derby in Crisfield. It monitors the contract for managing the Fort Washington Marina at Piscataway Bay off the Potomac River in Prince George's County. Parks and recreational activity brochures are available at each park and from the Service.

Under the State Forest and Park Service is the Maryland Conservation Corps. Several advisory committees also aid the Service. Among these are the Scenic and Wild Rivers Review Board; Deep Creek Lake Advisory and Review Committee; Gunpowder Falls Local Advisory Board; and the Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden Advisory Board.


Tawes State Office Building, E-3
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

Authorized in 1982, the Maryland Conservation Corps was funded and began operation in 1984 (Chapter 297, Acts of 1982; Chapter 510, Acts of 1984). The Corps, formerly under the Tidewater Administration, was assigned to the Forest, Park and Wildlife Service in 1988. Since 1991, the Corps has been under the State Forest and Park Service.

The Corps provides Maryland youths, aged 14 to 21, with summer jobs that help develop and maintain the State's natural resources. Corps projects conserve or improve natural resources or enhance and preserve environmentally important lands and waters. Participants may be sponsored by private industry and must be physically fit and have the desire to work out-of-doors, possibly in remote locations.

Through a federal grant in 1992, the Corps started a year-round program for persons aged 17 to 25. In 1995, fifty Corps members worked over 45,000 hours on conservation and Chesapeake Bay restoration, and 3,500 hours of community service. Their work completed the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenways Trail and removed over a ton of trash from the Herring Run watershed. They also planted 45,000 loblolly pine trees in Pocomoke River State Forest; surveyed submerged aquatic vegetation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and constructed and installed 100 wood duck and bat boxes.




The Land and Water Conservation Service began in 1995 as Land Enhancement Services and received its present name in November 1995. Under the Service are Operations and three programs: the Engineering and Construction Service; Resource Planning; and Program Open Space.


Tawes State Office Building, D-3
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

The Engineering and Construction Service was formed as the Capital Development Program, a part of the Capital Programs Administration by 1984. In 1990, the Program was renamed Engineering Services. It became Engineering and Construction Services in 1991 under Public Lands, in 1992 under Public Lands and Forestry, and in 1995 again under Public Lands. The Engineering and Construction Service provides design and construction services to other Department agencies and local jurisdictions; evaluates facilities in order to plan capital expenditures; and helps preserve historic properties owned by the Department.


Tawes State Office Building, E-3
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

Program Open Space acquires outdoor recreation and open space areas for public use. The Program administers funds made available to local communities for open and recreational space by the Outdoor Recreation Land Loan of 1969 and from the Land and Water Conservation Fund of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. The Program coordinates the acquisition of Department lands for the use of all departmental agencies (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 5-901 through 5-910). Program Open Space is assisted by the Rural Legacy Board.


Tawes State Office Building, D-3
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

Resource Planning originated as Land Planning Services under the Capital Programs Administration and was reorganized as Greenways and Resource Planning in 1991. Under the Land and Water Conservation Service, it was renamed Resource Planning in 1995.

Resource Planning provides planning, mapping, environmental review, and capital budget services to help the Department acquire, develop, and manage public lands and scenic rivers. Resource Planning also is responsible for the State wildlands preservation system. The system is composed of areas in Maryland designated by the General Assembly as wildlands (Code Natural Resources Article, sec. 5-1203).

Under Resource Planning are four sections: Environmental Review; Mapping and Property Research; Resource Planning; and Technical Services.

Environmental Review coordinates the Department's review of all proposals that affect Department lands, including leases, sales, and easements. In support of capital budget requests, planners in this section prepare environmental and growth management assessments.

The Mapping and Property Research Section researches property records (deeds, surveys, land patents) and prepares project boundary maps for all Department lands. These maps show properties in the acquisition program, as well as properties owned by the Department or not yet acquired. The Section also conducts surveys, and reviews and updates the maps.

The Resource Planning Section formulates master plans for new State parks or for recreational use and modification of existing State parks. For proposed new Department areas, the Section conducts detailed property reviews as well as environmental reviews for many Department projects and lands. The Section also develops master facilities plans for areas without approved master plans.

The Section prepares resource management plans for the nine rivers of the scenic and wild rivers system to promote the wise use of the rivers' land and water resources and improve resource conservation measures. Planners work with local citizen advisory boards developing recommendations for local governments on resource use.

Technical Services provides computer support for publication and display graphics, and for all the work of Resource Planning. This section also maintains a geographic information system and coordinates the Department's forest management plans.


Tawes State Office Building, C-3
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

As Maryland's oldest State law enforcement agency and one of the oldest conservation law enforcement agencies in the country, the Natural Resources Police Force traces its origins to 1868, when the State Oyster Police Force was created to enforce oyster laws. As the State Fishery Force, it was reorganized in 1874 under the Commissioner of Fisheries and, in 1880, under the Board of Public Works. In 1922, the Force became part of the Conservation Department and was renamed Maryland Patrol and Inspection Fleet. Marine enforcement by the Natural Resources Police Force originated from responsibilities of the early fisheries fleets.

For wildlife and inland fisheries, the creation of the post of State Game Warden in 1896 provided a system for uniformly enforcing conservation laws across the State. After the Warden's appointment, government programs were initiated that still define the inland enforcement duties of the Natural Resources Police Force. In 1922, the State Game Warden joined the Conservation Department along with the State Fishery Force (renamed the Maryland Patrol and Inspection Fleet). In 1939, the Conservation Department split into two departments: the Department of Tidewater Fisheries, and the Game and Inland Fish Commission (later the Department of Game and Inland Fish). The Marine Enforcement Fleet then was named the Division of Inspection and Patrol. Responsible for enforcing the Maryland Boat Act of 1960, it became the Maryland State Marine Police in 1962 and was made part of the Department of Chesapeake Bay Affairs in 1964. That department and the Department of Game and Inland Fish were abolished in 1969 when the Department of Natural Resources was created. In 1972, the Maryland State Marine Police was renamed the Natural Resources Police Force (Chapter 348, Acts of 1972). From 1992 to 1995, the Force was part of Resource Management. Then, it came under Public Lands.

Throughout the State, the Natural Resources Police Force has full police powers. It protects life and property, preserves the peace, prevents crime, detects and apprehends criminals, and safeguards individual rights.

The Force serves as the primary search and rescue agency on Maryland waters and in rural areas of the State. Through enforcement of hunting and wildlife conservation laws, the Force provides the primary law enforcement and emergency services for some remote areas in Maryland.

The Force enforces State laws and regulations on boating, commercial seafood harvesting and sport fishing, waterways pollution, and wildlife conservation, as well as general criminal law enforcement. The Force inspects boats for violations of conservation and boating laws and inspects seafood processing houses and trucks carrying seafood cargo. It arrests and issues warnings to violators. The Force also investigates boating accidents and reports them to the U.S. Coast Guard. Maryland's three State vessels, the yacht Maryland Independence, the work boat H. J. Elser, and the skipjack Anna McGarvey, are operated and maintained by the Force.

Boating and hunting safety education programs are conducted by the Force. In addition, the Force operates the Natural Resources Police Academy at Matapeake, a central maintenance and supply facility, and an aviation unit to provide airborne surveillance and rescue services to enforcement programs and Department agencies (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 1-201 through 1-210).

The Force is organized into four bureaus: Administrative Services; Field Operations; Planning and Education; and Support Services.


Formerly under the Boating Administration, the Administration Program was reorganized under the Natural Resources Police Force as the Administrative Services Bureau in 1995. The Bureau is responsible for budget, fiscal and personnel management; public information; and management information services. The Bureau also schedules the State yacht Maryland Independence.


The Field Operations Bureau primarily enforces wildlife, fish and boating laws, and conducts search and rescue missions. Its officers are cross-trained for assignment to either marine or inland patrols. They also routinely perform police duties involving criminal violations such as possession of controlled dangerous substances, theft, assault, fraud, manslaughter, and homicide. Operating out of four regional centers, the Bureau patrols with a fleet of 30 large inboard vessels, 89 smaller outboard vessels, and 100 vehicles.


Created in 1995, the Planning and Education Bureau educates the public about outdoor safety, ethics, and the use of resources. The Bureau issues certificates to hunters and boaters who complete safety education courses. By law, hunters must have a certificate before they can buy a hunting license. Also, any person born after July 1, 1972, must have a certificate to operate a registered or documented vessel. For Natural Resources Police officers, the Bureau provides specialized training, both entry-level and in-service. The Bureau also conducts research and develops long-range planning.

The Bureau works through the Planning and Development Section, and two divisions: Outdoor Education, and Training.


The Support Services Bureau is responsible for the Aviation Section, the Communications Section, and the Technical Services Division.


Tawes State Office Building
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

The Resource Management Service was organized in 1992 as Resource Management and received its current name in 1995. The Assistant Secretary for the Resource Management Service is responsible for four agencies: the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission; the Fisheries Service; the Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service; and the Licensing and Registration Service.

45 Calvert St., 2nd floor
Annapolis, MD 21401

The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission was created within the Department of Natural Resources in 1984 (Chapter 794, Acts of 1984). At that time, the General Assembly found that "there is a critical and substantial State interest for the benefit of current and future generations in fostering more sensitive development activity in a consistent and uniform manner along shoreline areas of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries." (Code Natural Resources Article, sec. 8-1801).

The law governing the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Protection Program requires that development projects within 1,000 feet of the tidal influence of the Chesapeake Bay meet standards designed to mitigate adverse effects on water quality and fish, plant and animal habitat. The law is administered through critical area programs of local governments. To ensure compliance with State law, the Commission funds local programs and monitors them and local development projects. Periodically, the Commission also meets with the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas.

The Commission has twenty-seven members. With Senate advice and consent, the Governor appoints twenty members to four-year terms and names the chair. Seven serve ex officio (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 8-1801 through 8-1816).


The Fisheries Service was formed in 1995. It administers the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory; Policy and Fisheries Development; Resource Management; and Restoration and Enhancement.



The Freshwater Fisheries Division was organized in 1991. The Division protects, preserves, and restores the freshwater fish resources of Maryland. Through administration of the Fisheries Management and Protection Fund, the Division conducts scientific investigations and environmental review, propagates fish, and manages the nontidal finfish of the State.

Through standardized field surveys, the Division maintains a data base of the physical, chemical and biological properties of freshwater resources as a basis for environmental review and management planning. By analysis of this data base, consultation with the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission, and communication with the angling public, the Division regulates Maryland freshwater fish resources to assure a pleasurable angling experience and preserve freshwater fish stock for future generations.


The Tidal Fisheries Division traces its origin to the Commissioners of Fisheries formed in 1874 (Chapter 150, Acts of 1874). In 1916, functions of the Commissioners of Fisheries were assigned to the Conservation Commission, which oversaw fish hatcheries (Chapter 682, Acts of 1916). The Conservation Department assumed fisheries duties in 1922 and was replaced in 1939 by the Department of Game and Inland Fish (Chapter 354, Acts of 1939). The Department was superseded in 1941 by the Department of Tidewater Fisheries, which became the Department of Chesapeake Bay Affairs in 1964 (Chapter 508, Acts of 1941; Chapter 82, Acts of 1964). That department, in turn, was replaced by the Fish and Wildlife Administration in 1970 and the Fisheries Administration in 1972 (Chapter 252, Acts of 1970; Chapter 348, Acts of 1972). In 1979, the Fisheries Administration was reformed as the Tidal Fisheries Division of the Tidewater Administration. By 1984, the Division was renamed the Fisheries Division and, in 1993, it resumed the name, Tidal Fisheries Division. The Division in 1995 became part of the Fish, Heritage, and Wildlife Administration. Later that year, it was placed under the Fisheries Service. The Division preserves, enhances, develops, and oversees use of fishery resources in Maryland.

The Division's Fishery Management Program plants oyster shells for propagation, transplants seed oysters on public oyster bars, and monitors blue crab movement to gauge fluctuations in annual harvest. The Program studies young fish annually to determine reproductive success; monitors anadromous fish reproduction and harvests; and supports striped bass hatcheries for research and restoration. The Program also issues permits for aquaculture and scientific collections of fish and shellfish, investigates disease and parasite infestations, develops and analyzes statistics for management decisions, and formulates management plans. The Division strives to provide maximum opportunities for public fishing within existing habitat while preserving and enhancing natural resources within the State (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 4-101 through 4-1209).

The Division is served by several advisory committees, including the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission, and the Tidal Fisheries Advisory Commission.


The Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service began in 1939 as the Department of Game and Inland Fish. The Department was placed under the Board of Natural Resources in 1941, and the Department of Natural Resources in 1969. The Department of Game and Inland Fish was renamed the Fish and Wildlife Administration in 1970 and became the Wildlife Administration in 1972 (Chapter 252, Acts of 1970; Chapter 348, Acts of 1972). In 1984, the Forest and Park Service merged with the Wildlife Administration to form the Forest, Park and Wildlife Service (Chapter 136, Acts of 1984). Through a reorganization in 1992, the Fish, Heritage, and Wildlife Administration was created under Resource Management. In 1995, under the Resource Management Service, the Administration was restructured as the Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service to oversee the Forest Service, and the Wildlife and Heritage Division.


Tawes State Office Building, E-1
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 2397

With the Forest Conservancy Districts Act, forestry programs started in 1943 under the Board of Natural Resources (Chapter 722, Acts of 1943). When the Department of Natural Resources was formed in 1969, the Forest Conservancy Districts Program came under the new Department. In 1971, the Program was renamed the Technical Forestry and Reforestation Program. By 1979, it was called Cooperative Forest Management and, by 1983, the Cooperative Forestry Program. It became Forestry Programs in 1991 and the Forest Service in 1992. The Forest Service became part of the Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Service in 1995.

The Forest Service helps private landowners and municipal and county governments manage their forests and trees. The Service seeks to improve and maintain the economic, aesthetic, recreational, and environmental contributions of trees, forests, and forest-related resources for human benefit. Duties include cooperative forest management; urban and community forestry; resource use, planning, and protection; and all matters relating to forestry in the critical areas surrounding Chesapeake Bay.

To private landowners and local governments, the Forest Service provides forest management expertise. Forest fire prevention and control, insect and disease control, land and watershed management, as well as reforestation, and urban and community forestry constitute the main thrusts of Service programs. Through urban and community forestry, the Service carefully plans development and large-scale forestry projects with developers, builders, architects, and city and county planners. Supervision of utility trimming and municipal tree care is an important part of urban and community forestry. The urban forestry concept includes granting individual shade tree consultations to private landowners, as time permits.

Forest Conservancy District Boards function in all twenty-three Maryland counties and Baltimore City. The Boards started as District Forestry Boards in 1943 to assist the then Department of Forests and Parks by promoting forest management on privately owned woodlands. Their original goal was to help assure a continuous supply of wood fiber products through scientific forest management.

Today, Forest Conservancy District Boards work to improve the environment in urban and suburban areas and educate people about the benefits of forests. Board members work closely with foresters throughout the State. The Boards primarily serve as advisory, educational and facilitating bodies. In the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, they approve all forest management plans. The Boards also review proposed laws and represent the interests of forestry with local, State and federal legislatures (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 5-601 through 5-610).

Board members are appointed by the Assistant Secretary for the Resource Management Service to three-year terms on the recommendation of the local forester in consultation with Board members. The chief requirement for membership is an interest in forestry and a desire to see resources used wisely and renewed. Meeting at least four times a year, each board has five or more members.

To improve the management of private forest lands, the Forest Stewardship Program was formed in 1991 by the Forest Service in cooperation with other natural resource conservation agencies, foresters, and forest advocacy groups. Through the Forest Stewardship Program, Resource Conservation Plans are prepared for nonindustrial private forest landowners. Cooperating agencies provide tehnical assistance to private landowners for all their forest resources, including water, recreation, and wildlife. This State program is part of a nationwide effort initiated by the National Association of State Foresters in cooperation with the State and Private Forestry Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Program also oversees forest fire suppression and the State Nursery at Preston.

Urban forestry is the planning for, and management of, a community's forest resources to enhance the quality of life. The process integrates the environmental, economic, political, historical and social values of the community with the management plan for the urban forest.

Urban Forestry and Reforestation began as the Urban and Community Forestry Program in 1984 (Chapter 543, Acts of 1984). The Program implements ecosystem management strategies to enhance urban forests and associated vegetation. The Program tracks forest loss and gain by county and by subwatershed through the inventory mandated by the Forest Conservation Act of 1991 (Chapter 255, Acts of 1991). The Program also oversees Tree-Mendous Maryland, a cooperative effort by citizens, community groups, and businesses to plant trees on public lands.


In 1996, the Wildlife Program combined with the Natural Heritage Program to form the Wildlife and Heritage Division. The Division applies wildlife management techniques to control and assure continuing wildlife, while affording optimum public recreational opportunities compatible with the welfare of wildlife resources. The Division conducts field surveys and research to evaluate public demands on wildlife resources, populations, harvesting parameters, and relevant environmental factors. It plants food and cover vegetation and constructs ponds (primarily waterfowl habitat). It also manages and protects birds, land-based reptiles and amphibians, and mammals. Under its protection are game and nongame species, and threatened and endangered wildlife.

The Division develops and manages thirty-six State Wildlife Management Areas (public hunting areas). It also manages and administers recreational use of cooperative wildlife areas and some State park areas.

Under the Division are Heritage and Biodiversity Programs, and four programs: Game Management; Habitat; Land Management; and Outreach and Technical Services. The Division also is aided by several advisory bodies among which are the Captive Wildlife Advisory Committee; Fur Resources Advisory Committee; Migratory Waterfowl Advisory Committee; Wildlife Advisory Commission; and Wild Turkey Advisory Committee.

Heritage and Biodiversity Conservation Programs began in 1979 as the Natural Heritage Program and received its current name in 1996. This office works to ensure that all Maryland's native ecosystems, natural communities, and species survive. It identifies significant natural areas of the State and sets priorities for their protection. Staff biologists and botanists continuously update a computerized inventory that describes Maryland's rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals, as well as unique and exemplary natural communities. At over 1,000 sites, 875 species of plants and animals are tracked.

Since 1986, a State listing of the threatened and endangered species has been maintained. Currently, the list numbers 344 plants and 114 animals protected by State law. Staff biologists also monitor ecologically vulnerable species and those with declining populations or dwindling habitat. In addition, this office advises federal, State and county agencies and educational institutions on ecological resources in Maryland (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 5-1501 through 5-1506).


The Licensing and Registration Service began as the Licensing and Watercraft Registration Service. Under its present name, it became part of the Resource Management Service in 1995.

The Licensing and Registration Service is responsible for assessing and collecting vessel excise taxes; issuing certificates of registration and title to vessels; issuing recreational fishing, commercial fishing and hunting licenses; and managing a network of sport license agents. The Service also works with Maryland boaters and the marine industry, promulgates boating and waterway regulations, and bienially produces the Guide for Cruising Maryland Waters. It operates regional service centers in Annapolis, Bel Air, Centreville, Cumberland, Prince Frederick, and Salisbury (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 4-601 through 4-1043; 8-701 through 8-740; 10-301 through 10-1108).

Maryland Executive Departments

Maryland Manual On-Line

 Maryland Manual On-Line, 1998

July 10, 1998   
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