Sinepuxent Bay WMA

Royal Terns courtesy of US FWS online image library In the 1930's dredge spoils from the establishment of the navigation channel in Sinepuxent Bay created 29 islands from Coffin's Point to Tingle's Island. Thirteen of these original islands remained in 1964, when the Maryland Legislature designated the collection of islands for wildlife protection, effectively creating the Sinepuxent Bay WMA. Later, expanding north of the U.S. Route 50 bridge, Heron and Skimmer Islands were added to the WMA in 1993. Most recently (c. 2015), Reedy Island was acquired, and Mark 12, Mark 14, and Tern Island’s were created with the spoils from a channel maintenance dredging project. Currently, the WMA consists of 10 islands, totaling approximately 20 acres. The islands are a mixture of sand, marsh, and tidal mud flats located in eastern Worcester County.

What To See

Sinepuxent Bay WMA provides important breeding habitats for birds which nest together on predator-free islands in large colonies. Royal terns, Least terns, and black skimmers are among the "Colonial nesting" waterbirds on the islands. Ducks and herons may nest on those islands with grasses or small trees. Beginning in 1987, one of these islands even supported  a colony of nesting Brown pelicans for a period of years.

What To Do

Bird-watching is the primary attraction. The islands can be reached only by boat. Weather conditions in the Coastal Bays can change rapidly and visitors are reminded to use proper boating safety to access the WMA. In the fall, hunters will find ducks, snow geese, Atlantic brant and Canada geese. Fishing is excellent for flounder, sea trout, croaker, spot and bluefish.

Area Regulations

  • Use of Sinepuxent Bay WMA is generally permitted seven days a week, except during the bird nesting season when access is restricted seasonally during the year.
  • Hunting is allowed in accordance with open seasons and shooting hours, from those islands that are not located within the administrative limits of the Town of Ocean City.
  • All State and Federal Hunting Laws and Regulations are applicable.
  • Trapping is by permit only.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed.

Special Areas

  • Most of the islands are closed in the summer months to allow breeding waterbirds to nest safely. Please observe regulatory signs that designate these areas as "off limits.

Non-hunting Users Guide

  • Non-hunting visitors are welcome.
  • Bird watching is the primary attraction of this area.
  • Be aware of waterbird nesting season closures, open hunting seasons, and visit accordingly.
  • Hunting season dates available in newspapers, on the Internet, and at some area stores.
  • Visitors to the management area should be aware that there may be biting flies, mosquitoes, and ticks present during April - November.

Site Management Goals

  • Tidal island habitat conditions on the WMA limit management practices that can be implemented.
  • Vegetation management has been used to enhance nesting habitat for shorebirds and colonial nesting waterbirds.

Sinepuxent Bay WMA is located on the eastern edge of Worcester county on Maryland's eastern shoreDirections

Numerous public ramps in and around Ocean City provide easy access to the group of islands north of U.S. Route 50. To reach the three islands south of U.S. Route 50 take MD 611 south to South Point Road and the boat ramp. For additional information, contact the Wellington WMA Office at (410) 651-2065.​

This area is a part of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the State’s wildlife resources.

Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.

Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.​