Maryland Manual 1994-1995 Department of Natural Resources /411
By 1868, the State Oyster Police Force was created to enforce oyster laws. The Governor, Treasurer,
Comptroller, Superintendent of Labor and Agriculture, and Clerk of the Court of Appeals were
constituted the Commissioners of the State Oyster Police to oversee the Force. Reorganized as the State
Fishery Force in 1874, it was placed under the Commissioner of Fisheries and, in 1880, under the Board
of Public Works. The Force constituted the "Maryland Navy" in the Bay oyster wars fought between
Maryland and Virginia watermen at the end of the century. By 1886, the State Fishery Force also was
assigned conservation duties, buying oyster shells to be planted or sown in the Bay "for the purpose of
catching spat and experimenting in the propagation of oysters" (Chapter 314, Acts of 1886). In 1892,
county commissioners were authorized "in their discretion" to supplement the Force with boats and officers
at county expense (Chapter 643, Acts of 1892).
Yet, the earliest origins of the Department of Natural Resources trace to geological and mapping functions
of the first State Geological Survey, which operated from 1834 to 1841. In 1896, the State Geological
and Economic Survey was formed (Chapter 51, Acts of 1896). That same year, the State Game Warden's
Office was created (Chapter 293, Acts of 1896). State programs for woodlands were initiated ten years
later, when the State Board of Forestry was established (Chapter 294, Acts of 1906).
The State Fishery Force, the State Game Warden, and the Engineer became part of the newly formed
Conservation Commission in 1916 (Chapter 682, Acts of 1916). The Commission was charged with oversight
of oysters, clams, fish, crabs, terrapin, wild fowl, birds, game, and fur-bearing animals. In 1935, the Conservation
Department was formed, governed by the Conservation Commission (Chapter 523, Acts of 1935).
Conservation agencies were reorganized in 1941. The Board of Natural Resources oversaw five
departments: the Department of Tidewater Fisheries; the Department of Game and Inland Fish; the
Department of State Forests and Parks; the Department of Geology, Mines, and Water Resources; and
the Department of Research and Education (Chapter 508, Acts of 1941). These agencies were consoli-
dated to form the Department of Natural Resources in 1969 (Chapter 154, Acts of 1969).
The Department is responsible for the Maryland membership units of ten interstate bodies: the Atlantic
States Marine Fisheries Commission, Coastal States Organization, Interstate Mining Commission, Ohio
River Basin Commission, Interstate Oil Compact Commission, Interstate Commission on the Potomac
River Basin, Potomac River Basin Advisory Committee, Potomac River Fisheries Commission, Southern
States Energy Board, and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Code Natural Resources Article,
secs. 1 101 through 1-104).
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Torrey C. Brown, M.D., Secretary of
Tawes State Office Building, C-4
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401 (410) 974-3041
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 Ex-
ecutive Council; the Governor's Subcabinet for
Energy Management; the Governor's Council on
the Chesapeake Bay; the Governor's Construc-
tion Industry Employers' Advisory Council; the
Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commis-
sion; the Governor's Pesticide Council; the
Chesapeake Bay Trust; the Interdepartmental
Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs; the
State Soil Conservation Committee; the Scenic
and Wild Rivers Review Board; and the
Chesapeake Bay Commission.
Under the Secretary is a deputy secretary and
three assistant secretariats. There is one assistant
secretary each for Management Services, Public
Lands and Forestry, and Resource Management.
Under direct supervision of the Office of the Secre-
tary is the Chesapeake Bay Program Office.
CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM OFFICE
Verna E. Harrison, Director
The Chesapeake Bay Program Office was created
in 1988. The Director is responsible for the Depart-
ment's relations with citizens groups and the Gov-
ernor's staff concerning the Chesapeake Bay
Program. The Director also is responsible for budg-
etary matters related to the Program.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is the unique re-
gional, federal-state-local partnership that directs and
conducts restoration of Chesapeake Bay Signatories
to the Chesapeake Bay Agreements of 1983 and 1987
have made the commitment to restore and protect the
Bay by improving its water quality and living re-
sources. These signatories, or partners, are Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, the
Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the U. S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency