DNR By The Numbers
2003 Accomplishments Highlight Bay Restoration and Land Conservation
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary C. Ronald Franks today announced the department’s major accomplishments for 2003.
“2003 presented us with many challenges, including budget restrictions, Hurricane Isabel, decreased shellfish and blue crab harvests, and the algal blooms in the late summer,” said Secretary Franks. “While 2004 will undoubtedly bring new challenges, I look forward to the coming year with confidence in our ability to not only handle these challenges, but increasing our efforts in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.”
DNR employs 1,600 full time and contractual employees, manages more than 435,000 acres of public lands and works to protect 17,000 miles of waterways within the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays watersheds for maximum environmental, economic and quality-of-life benefits.
For approximately 1 percent of the state’s annual budget, Maryland’s citizens receive a significant return on their investment in each of these areas.
The accomplishments listed below fall into four major categories: the Bays and Streams, State Parks, Public and Private Lands, Wildlife, Fish and Shellfish and Education. This list is in no way meant to be inclusive of all of the Department’s achievements during 2003.
Bays and Streams
State Parks, Public and Private Lands
- Surveyed more than 3,000 miles of streams in Maryland where more than 8,000 specific environmental problems have been documented. More than $6 million of restoration work has been initiated based on the results of the survey.
- Monitored and assessed the health of Maryland's 9,940 miles of non-tidal streams and rivers, 58 reservoirs, 2,522 square miles of estuaries, 32 miles of coastal shoreline and groundwater across the state from the mountains to the sea.
- Collected over 6,000 water quality samples that provided critical information for the Chesapeake Bay water quality model used in determining the bay wide nutrient and sediment goals and for establishing guidelines on new water quality criteria.
- Reviewed 2,513 projects statewide for potential impacts to natural resources under the charge of the Department, including transportation projects, tidal and non-tidal wetland permits, water appropriation permits, dam safety permits, mining permits, industrial discharge permits, toxic material permits, and Army Corps of Engineers permits.
- Completed nine non-structural and two structural shoreline erosion projects, protecting more than 4,100 feet of shoreline, created 66,490 square feet of marsh, and preventing 1,982 tons of sediment, 1,442 pounds of nitrogen and 950 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Bay and its tributaries.
- Produced updated shoreline erosion information for over 7,719 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Bays and their tributaries and creating a digital inventory of natural bank features and water access and erosion response structures.
- Completed a $1 million dune reconstruction project at Assateague, which proved effective at protecting the north end during hurricane Isabel.
- Maintained 127 long-term Chesapeake and Coastal Bays fixed water quality and habitat monitoring sites and 24 shallow water continuous monitoring sites that provide data every 15 minutes during April through October. The data is instrumental in characterizing local water quality conditions and extreme events such as Hurricane Isabel and is available online at (http://www.eyesonthebay.net/).
- Developed 10 tributary strategies to meet the water quality goals of the Chesapeake 2000 agreement and engaged over 600 stakeholders statewide in the development of the strategies that will chart the course of future state and local government actions to restore local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.
- Awarded 29 grants to public and private marinas in 10 counties for the purchase and installation of boat sewage pump-out facilities and certified 19 marinas as Maryland Clean Marinas. This enabled more than one million gallons of sewage to be properly disposed of.
- Conducted 105,768 hours of conservation patrols, 150,612 conservation inspections and 46,415 boating inspections.
- Issued 10,632 enforcement actions (warnings, citations or arrests). Increased waterway patrols targeting unsafe boating, resulting in a 20 percent increase in detection of OWI violation (operating a vessel while intoxicated.)
- Provided the public with free access to DNR's Geospatial Data Center where more than 42,000 files were downloaded. (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/gis)
Wildlife, Fish and Shellfish
- Managed conservation and recreation activities on 435,000 acres of public lands including 260,000 acres of the most precious natural resource lands in Maryland, and 17,000 miles of waterways.
- Managed 93 sites including 48 state parks and successfully served more than 10 million visitors in Maryland State Forests and Parks.
- Conserved 4,828 acres in 12 counties under the Rural Legacy Program.
- Completed the 700th land conservation easement under Maryland Environmental Trust, bringing its cumulative total to more than 100,000 acres since 1972.
- Permanently protected 1,409 acres through easements in seven counties under Maryland's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program; initiated new process for easement acquisition.
- Enrolled nearly 20,000 acres of buffers in 15-year contracts.
- Coordinated the addition of over 15 miles of land trails and over 10 miles of water trails to the statewide network of greenways and water trails. The trails currently include over 600 miles of major regional land trails and over 400 miles of water trails on federal, state and county property.
- Completed the Maryland Strategic Forest Lands Assessment, which evaluated 2.6 million acres, all of Maryland’s forest resources, for their ecological and economic value, and their vulnerability of loss to development.
- Worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) after Hurricane Isabel to ensure receipt of all available funding allocations for more than 100 repair projects valued at more than $5 million.
- Sustained the forest products industry, a $2 billion per year industry in Maryland that employs approximately 14,000 people.
- Completed Forest Stewardship Plans on 683 properties, implementing forest management practices on 7,399 acres, including planting more than 5 million seedlings, and 163 miles of riparian forest buffers to meet Chesapeake Bay restoration goals.
- Completed the process for certification of 58,000-acre Chesapeake Forest by Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council, ushering in a new era of forest management in Maryland.
- Planted over 850,000 trees and seedlings on public lands thanks to volunteers.
- Provided protection to Maryland's 2.6 million acres of forestland from wildfires.
- Trained over 750 firefighters for the protection of communities and natural resources from wildfire and Suppressed over 660 wildfires.
- Oversaw 11,000 State Forest and Park Service volunteers, 157 volunteer rangers, and 27 Friends groups who together provided 231,000 hours of volunteer service.
- Oversaw 32,500 Forest Service volunteers who spent 350,800 hours helping to maintain Maryland's healthy urban and rural forests.
- Stocked 3 million American shad, 2.2 million hickory shad, 913,000 yellow perch and 237,030 largemouth bass to provide high value and quality commercial and recreational fishing opportunities
- Planted 222 million or 305,000 bushels of native oyster spat.
- Managed game species to serve approximately 135,000 licensed hunters contributing nearly $301 million to Maryland's economy.
- Responded to more than 10,000 nuisance wildlife calls; including 24/7 emergency response to injured deer or black bears creating human safety problems.
- Funded processing of 100,000 pounds of edible venison for needy families through Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
- Provided specialized hunting services including 1,100 crossbow permits for disabled hunters; 1,750 permits to landowners receiving deer damage to commercial crops, (resulting in a take of +12,000); and 4,000 blind-site licenses.
- Managed 7,313 licensed commercial watermen, processed 588,472 sport fishing licenses and issued or renewed 98,200 vessel registrations.
- Educated 250,000 children on the Chesapeake Bay, the environment and the importance of responsible stewardship through the interactive Bay Game Booklet.
- Involved nearly 7,600 students in Bay Grass restoration projects at nine regional locations.
- Students from 200 schools participated in DNR “Bay Grasses in Classes” curriculum and planted over 10,000 classroom-raised SAV at six regional restoration locations around the Chesapeake Bay.
- Conducted 391 boating safety courses and issued 7,014 boating safety certificates.
- Conducted 223 hunting safety courses and issued 7,207 hunter safety certificates.
- Reached more than 5,000 students via Aquatic Resources Education program.
- Sponsored and organized annual Wade-Ins/Dip-Ins at public locations throughout the State; more than 1,000 citizens participated.
- Trained 500 elementary school educators to become certified teachers of the Project Wild program.
- Supported the efforts of 1,500 students participating in the State Envirothon.
- Over 3,600 volunteers annually participate in Tributary Team events.
- Trained over 650 educators in a variety of environmental education curricula that resulted in providing instruction to over 19,500 students annually.
- Provided the public with over 10,000 pages of DNR-related content via its website (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/). The website received over four million website visits from customers who viewed 13.5 million web pages.
Posted January 13, 2004