Nanticoke IBA extends along the Nanticoke River and Marshyhope Creek from the Delaware line and Federalsburg respectively, downstream to Wetipquin in Wicomico County. The area is predominantly forested, with two different forest types. The river and its tributaries are flanked by deciduous swamp forests. The upland forests are predominantly loblolly pine, much of which is managed as timber. Different successional stages of pine provide habitat for different bird species at risk. Numerous areas of deciduous forested swamp are embedded within the upland forest. Below Highway 50 the Nanticoke River has extensive areas of tidal freshwater marsh. Most of the site is privately owned, and a number of land parcels near the confluence of Marshyhope Creek and the Nanticoke River are protected by TNC. Protected lands owned and managed by Maryland DNR include Nanticoke River WMA at the mouth of Quantico Creek, and numerous parcels of the Chesapeake Forest.

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