About Us

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, operated by Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, consists of 1,700 acres of open water, tidal freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, upland and riparian forest, creeks, meadows, pine and sand barrens, and fields along the Patuxent River. View a short video about the Sanctuary.

freshwater tidal marsh (Spatterdock) at high tide

Located in southern Anne Arundel County, 20 miles east of Washington, DC, and 18 miles south of Annapolis, the Sanctuary is a designated site on the Patuxent Water Trail.

The Sanctuary is located in the tidal reaches of the Patuxent River, and its network of habitats, including its extensive tidal freshwater wetlands, provides a safe environment to a high diversity of plants, invertebrates, birds, fish, reptiles, and mammal species. The National Audubon Society has designated the Sanctuary as a Nationally Important Bird Area. To learn more about the Sanctuary, read this excellent description in the Bay Journal.

In 1990 the Sanctuary was designated as one of three components within the Maryland Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR) – a research, stewardship, and education program administered jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources, and Anne Arundel County. Check out the CBNERR fact sheet for a quick and helpful summary.

​Founded in 1986, the Friends of Jug Bay is a non-profit citizens’ organization that acts to preserve the Sanctuary and to support its education, stewardship, and research programs. Through financial contributions and active engagement, FOJB members provide critical support that greatly enhances Sanctuary programs and activities and its long-term protection.

Our mission is to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of estuarine and other natural ecosystems and their conservation through outdoor education, research, stewardship, and volunteering.

1. Outdoor Education
The more people learn and understand about estuaries and their surrounding lands, the more they care about preserving them. Each year, hundreds of people participate in hikes, hands-on activities, explorations, stewardship events and citizen science projects at the Sanctuary. Programs focus on many aspects of aquatic and terrestrial ecology, as well as plants and animals.

2. Research
Staff naturalists and volunteers conduct studies to better understand environmental conditions, wetland ecosystems and the ecology of the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay. Researchers from other institutions, universities and government agencies also conduct research at Jug Bay.

In 2006, County Executive Janet Owens signed an Environmental Covenant to protect the Sanctuary in perpetuity. This document sets land use restrictions and makes explicit the County's intent to manage the Sanctuary exclusively for the purposes of environmental education, ecological research, and habitat stewardship. The Covenant does not allow activities that are inconsistent with these core principles.