Monie Bay is a National Estuarine Research Reserve in the northwest portion of Somerset County, Maryland. Although this 3,426 acre complex is used for a research facility by NOAA the site management is assisted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resource just like its neighbor across the river, Ellis Bay.
Established in 1985 Monie Bay is managed and protected to provide an environment for research, monitoring, education, and coastal management training for the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding areas. Future management of this research reserve is primarily focusing on 3 major topics including 1. Effects of land use, land use change, and best management practices on the tidal creeks 2. Impacts of varying water quality on aquatic species 3. How changes in sea level rise may impact the marsh ecosystem and the services it provides.
Many students and professors have worked here, including Dr. Tom Jones of Salisbury University, who studied and tested water quality of the two creeks that drain into Monie Bay, Little Creek and Little Monie Creek. This testing was done in the mid-1990's in order to measure the levels of the concentrations of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as chlorophyll. To learn more about tests and water quality of the lower river click here.
Like Ellis Bay, Monie Bay consists of low marsh zones dominated by smooth cordgrass, while higher marsh areas in the region are inhabited by salt and big cordgrass, salt and three square grass, needlerush, and marsh elder. Bird and fish species are common in this pristine wetland habitat and many species can be found such as white perch, spot, menhaden, migratory birds and waterfowl, and even a few protected and endangered species such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon.
Some do not include Monie Bay as part of the Wicomico River but we follow the lead of the DNR in doing so, due the close proximity and ecological benefits connections between the river Monie Bay.