News from the DNR Office of Communications

Natural Resources Police, Others Highlight Litter Enforcement Month In DC Metro Area

Annapolis, Md. (April 8, 2011) – The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) has joined the Washington DC Metro Council of Governments and the Alice Ferguson Foundation in supporting the DC Metro Area Litter Enforcement Month. During the month of April, DC metro area law enforcement agencies will conduct a major litter enforcement initiative.

“We are glad to be part of this coalition of area governments and organizations to highlight this problem that affects the quality of life and the environment,” said NRP superintendent Colonel George F. Johnson IV. “The Natural Resources Police hope that this public outreach campaign will encourage the public to become involved in keeping the environment free from litter and report those individuals that violate the law.”

The goal is to heighten awareness and educate the public on the effects of littering and the penalties associated with littering and illegal dumping in the Potomac River Watershed. This month, NRP will provide literature about the impacts of littering to the public throughout the Maryland portion of the Potomac River watershed.

Litter was an important topic to people taking a recent survey conducted in the Potomac River watershed. A survey of 1,000 residents indicated that 63 percent of the respondents are bothered by the amount of litter they see and 39 percent see someone littering sometimes or often. Only six percent of respondents believe that someone who litters will get caught.

Litter can be found in every type of environment, from highways to waterways, and poses direct dangers to wildlife and people. Awareness, education and enforcement are key components in discouraging harmful behavior such as ignoring abandoned vessels, or discarding materials such as plastic six-pack holders.

In Maryland, discarding any litter is a violation of the law and penalties can include up to a $25,000 fine and five years in jail. The severity of the penalty is decided by location and amount of litter that is deposited.

Citizens can report litter violators to the Maryland Natural Resources Police Communication Center at 800-628-9944. This number can also be used to report all natural resources violations, maritime law enforcement and emergency situations throughout Maryland.

The Metro DC Area Litter Enforcement Month coincides with the 23rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Clean-up that will take place on Saturday April 9 from 9 am to 12 pm. For more information on the Potomac River Watershed Clean –up please visit

The Alice Ferguson Foundation is a non-profit organization chartered in Maryland. It provides experiences that encourage connections between people, the natural environment, farming and the Potomac River Watershed which lead to personal environmental responsibility. For more information please visit

   April 8, 2011

Contact: Sgt. A.A. Windemuth
410-260-8003 office | 410-713-8449 cell

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 247 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at