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Maryland Natural Areas

The Estuary Center and Otter Point Creek have been designated as a Maryland Natural Area. What is a Maryland Natural Area?  

Maryland is often referred to as “America in Miniature” because so many unique landscapes are found within its borders. The Maryland Natural Areas initiative seeks to identify the best remaining natural areas found within our state.

These Natural Areas are truly special places in Maryland. Voluntary recognition as a Natural Area carries a commitment to sustainable management of a given area to conserve the natural features that the area was established to recognize and protect. In most cases, current management practices have maintained the exceptional natural features that distinguish these sites.

In the end, the goals of this effort are to identify and conserve Natural Areas for future generations while increasing public awareness of these special natural places.


Harford County Parks and Recreation

Responsible for operating and maintaining space (passive and active), and providing a comprehensive program of leisure opportunities and activities.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Part of a reserve system established by Congress in 1972 to protect estuarine areas as natural field laboratories for long-term research and monitoring.

Izaak Walton League of America

One of the nation's oldest and most respected conservation organizations.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere.

Other Centers in the Area

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

One of the other two sites within CBNERR - MD. Located in Lothian, MD.

Patuxent River Park

This 2,000-acre tract of land is comprised of various natural habitats that buffer the Patuxent River and provide a critical link in conserving the area's natural resources. Located in Upper Marlboro, MD.

Eden Mill

A local nature center that has 110 acres of wildlife viewing areas, a mill museum, a nature store, and hiking trails. Located in Pylesville, MD.

More Information and Research

Eyes on the Bay

A website of DNR's Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment (TEA) Division provides easy access to near real-time, mapped and historical Chesapeake and Coastal Bays water quality information and data.

This site provides, primarily, an avenue for elementary, middle and high school students, and their teachers, to learn more about estuaries, research, and explore NOAA's Living laboratories - the National Estuarine Research Reserves. But also delivers scientific information and real-time data in a meaningful form for anyone interested in estuaries.

National Estuarine Research Reserve - Centralized Data Management Office

Chesapeake Bay region link to the centralized database monitoring site of weather and water quality data.

Mushroom Observer

Mushroom species list from the 2012 BioBlitz at the Estuary Center.




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Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.



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Anita C. Leight Estuary Center / 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon MD 21009 / 410-612-1688