Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is a government agency in the state of Maryland charged with maintaining natural resources such as the 66 state parks, public lands, state forests, state waterways, wildlife and recreation areas. Its headquarters are in Annapolis. [1]

Organizational history[edit]

DNR was established in 1969 as part of a reorganization of the Maryland executive branch initiated by Governor Marvin Mandel. DNR assumed the responsibilities formerly held by the Maryland Board of Natural Resources (established in 1941), and consolidated the agency's authority under a single department secretary. The first DNR secretary was former Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes, who served in that capacity until 1971. Other notable DNR secretaries have included James Coulter (1971–1983) and Torrey C. Brown (1983–1995). The department is headquartered in the Tawes State Office building at 580 Taylor Avenue in Annapolis.[2]

Political organization[edit]

The Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources is, for all intents and purposes, the head of the DNR. John R. Griffin is the current Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. He directly heads the Matrix Teams and the Office for a Sustainable Future. He also leads the Deputy Secretary.

Deputy Secretary Joseph P. Gill heads several subcommittees dedicated to the actual implementation of DNR programs. These committees include Mission Support, Land Resources and Aquatic Resources.[1]

Mission support[edit]

William H. Parran, the head of the Mission Support Committee, is in charge of the following terminal committees: Human Resources Services, Leadership/Employee Development, Office of Fair Practices, Licensing and Registration Services, Finance and Administration Service, Audit and Management Review, and Information Technology.[1]

Its principal functions are:

  • Managing over 46,100 acres (187 km2) of public lands
  • Protecting over 17,000 miles (27,000 km) of waterways
  • Lead agency for restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and coastal bays.[3]

DNR does not issue or enforce environmental permits under the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and related laws. Those functions are the responsibility of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).[4]

DNR-Wide Objectives[edit]

The DNR is committed to maintaining healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. This is partially achieved through the efficient use of energy and resources. The DNR emphasizes citizenship, the value of communities and neighborhoods and professional commitment as ways to maintain the environment through shared values and service. The DNR encourages environmental awareness by encouraging outdoor recreation and providing opportunities to take action to improve natural ecosystems.[1]

Department of Land Resources[edit]

Kristin Evans is the head of the Land Resources Committee. She is in charge of the following terminal subcommittees: Maryland Park Services, Maryland Forest Services, Wildlife and Heritage Services, Land Acquisition and Planning, Engineering and Planning, Maryland Environment Trust [1]

Maryland Park Services[edit]

Maryland has 66 state parks. The mission of the Maryland Park Service is to manage the natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources to provide the best use for the benefit of people. The Maryland Park Service provides many services to the public, including: camping, biking, boating/fishing, hiking, outdoor programs, biking, and exploring natural resources. Parks are usually available in the late spring and summer. For more information, visit.[5] There are 2,000 campsites in the state parks and a variety of cabins. Parks offer opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, horseback riding, boating, hiking on the trails, outdoor education, hunting, fishing, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.[5]

The DNR provides accessibility for visitors throughout the park. The DNR staff is trained to help accommodate visitors in need of assistance.[6]

In 2005, Maryland Park Service Merged with Maryland Natural Resources Police, and now MDNRP oversees MPS.

Wildlife and Trees[edit]

DNR closely regulates wildlife, tracking diseases and populations. During the previous hunting season there was a lone reported case of a hunter legally taking a deer only to find out later that the deer tagged was infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, CWD. CWD is a neurological disease that effect deer elk and moose, where the infected have symptoms such as loss of body condition, behavioral abnormalities, and even death (Learn). People are warned to avoid contact with the brain, spinal cord, and lymph nodes due to the fact these are the areas that become infected. To help control this problem each year the MD-DNR is taking samples from the deer harvested to test for any signs of CWD. The main focus is in the western Maryland counties due to the reports of CWD in West Virginia and Virginia (Communications, 2011).[1]

The DNR is also responsible for regulating the 3 million acres (12,000 km2) of wooded land in Maryland. There are over 160 species of trees that help create these millions of acres of forest. This abundant amount of acres makes the forest industry one of the biggest businesses in the state, with more than 18,000 people reliant on wood products. In the two western most counties, Garrett and Allegany, forestry is the largest employer. Over the years there have been many contributing factors that have diminished some of the wooded areas around the state. From the early 80’s almost half a million acres (4,000 km²) have had been infested with gypsy moths that have just destroyed forests. There are also the Southern Pine Bark Beetles that have caused excessive damage to the pine trees on the Eastern Shore. Another reason for damage to the forestry would be due to the cover fires that occur every year. The spring and the fall are the prime times for fires because of the climate changes. There are more than 6,000 fires destroying somewhere from 8,000-10,000 acres each year (Maryland).[1]

Department of Aquatic Resources[edit]

The Director of Aquatic Resources, Frank W. Dawson, heads the following subcommittees: Chesapeake and Coastal Watershed Services, Boating Services, Fisheries Services, Resources Assessment Services, and Critical Area Commission.[1]

Maryland Waters[edit]

Maryland is a state with many water resources, from the Chesapeake to the Potomac River. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is responsible for taking care of these water sources that all unite at the largest estuary in the world, the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been monitoring the water sources and the Chesapeake Bay and other assorted small streams since 1996. The goal is to manage the restoration and protection of these waterways and that ensures Maryland residents get clean water and can participate in activities such canoeing, fishing, and growing crops. MDNR has a huge research and development team committed to providing the best and cleanest possible water sources. Many researched topics include geomorphic assessments, atmospheric and acid deposition, and long term water quality.[1]

Streams, Stream Life and Fishing[edit]

Streams stretch all over Maryland and contain many exotic species of fish and other water life. Maryland’s streams’ biodiversity does not end with just fish and birds but extends to salamanders, mussels, 10 types of turtles and over 100 species of fish. Plants and vegetation surrounding the aquatic habitats provide nutrients, shelter for animals, temperature regulation and can provide erosion control. The MDNR has a few groups set up to survey all the streams and wildlife. One of these groups is MANTA or monitoring and non-tidal assessment and another is the EPA National Rivers and Streams Assessment. Both actively participate in keeping aquatic areas clean and safe. Both of these organizations have websites and statistics on the previous reports of the health of Maryland streams and waters. The MDNR recognizes both commercial and non commercial fishing and keeps reports of the breeds and sizes of fish caught on their website.[1]


The DNR offers many boating services to people of all ages and types of boaters including paddle, sailing, and power boats. Boating programs are financed completely through the DNR Waterway Improvement Fund and have now developed over 300 public boating areas throughout Maryland. The revenue that is acquired from this fund comes from a 5% vessel tax that is paid when anyone titles a vessel in the State of Maryland.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "[1]." Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved on October 6, 2012. "580 Taylor Avenue - Annapolis, MD 21401"
  2. ^ "Contact DNR." Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
  3. ^ Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD (2007). "Annual Report 2007-2008." Document no. DNR01-1242007-184. pp. 5-6.
  4. ^ Maryland Department of the Environment.
  5. ^ a b "[2]." Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved on May 2, 2011.
  6. ^ "[3]." Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved on May 2, 2011.

External links[edit]