This site includes the shallow marine waters of Delaware Bay and the associated shoals between Cape May Point and the Maurice River. Though these waters are essentially vacant of birdlife in summer and early fall, hundreds of thousands of birds utilize this area throughout the winter and as spring staging grounds before beginning their journey to northern breeding grounds. Large concentrations of diving ducks typically gather west of East Point and in the Maurice River Cove areas.

Ornithological Summary

Significant Congregations of Waterfowl (SM, W)

Significant Congregations-Exceptional Single Species Concentration: Surf Scoter (SM)

Significant Congregations-Exceptional Single Species Concentration: Black Scoter (SM)

Significant Congregations-Exceptional Single Species Concentration: Red-throated Loons (SM)

Conservation Issues

The primary threats to the open waters of Delaware Bay are disturbance and activities that result in degraded water quality that can impact waterfowl food sources. These threats include oil spills and recreational boating and fishing. Heavy recreational boat traffic throughout the bay increases disturbance to birds, degrades water quality and may be depleting the area of its healthy fish populations. Runoff and sewage inputs from dense coastal development are regular occurrences that also degrade water quality. Additionally, oil spills affect this region as it contains the nation?s third largest petrochemical port. The Delaware Bay and River is also the largest oil transfer port on the East Coast. Industrial land use, including chemical industries, in the Delaware River and upper estuary may also impact these waters. Various organizations and government agencies have partnered to develop emergency response programs in the event of an oil spill. Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc., for example, trains and deploys hundreds of volunteers to handle birds affected by oil spills. NJ Audubon Society staff is among those trained to respond in an emergency situation.


Owned by:
Division of Watershed Mgmt.

Contact:Lawrence J. Baier, Director

PO Box 418

Trenton, NJ 08624-0402

Also owned by: US Coast Guard


Shallow open water

Land Use

Site is used for recreational fishing and boating.

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