Josh Kurtz, Chesapeake Bay Foundation executive, will become Maryland's next Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

Bay Foundation Exec. is Next Md. Secretary of Natural Resources

On Tuesday, Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore appointed a new Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources ahead of the new governor’s Wednesday inauguration.

Maryland native Josh Kurtz will lead the department. He has been the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Maryland Executive Director for the last two years.

Kurtz will take over the role from Sec. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, who was appointed by outgoing Governor Larry Hogan in 2019.

The Crownsville, Anne Arundel County resident led CBF teams in Annapolis, Upper Marlboro, and Easton, Md., working to improve water quality. He led campaigns to plant more trees, conserve forested land, help farmers make environmental improvements, make cities greener, and ensure the state maintains sustainable fisheries.

Before his work at CBF, Kurtz served as policy and government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Maryland, leading campaigns to conserve the environment and reduce climate change. He worked in Washington, D.C.’s first stormwater retention credit market, pioneering private finance projects, according to the Moore administration.

CBF President Hilary Harp Falk praised the governor-elect’s choice of secretary, saying Kurtz “brings a broad and deep understanding” of Maryland’s natural resources. “An environmental policy expert by training and experience, Josh approaches natural resources issues with respect for science, compassion for the people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy environment, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of Marylanders.”

Gov.-elect Moore also announced Tuesday the appointments of Serena McIlwain as Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Kevin Atticks as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. 

-Meg Walburn Viviano