People Flocking to New Island in Assawoman Bay

A boat ashore on Collier's Island in the Assawoman Bay. (Photo: WBOC)

ASSAWOMAN BAY, Md. - A new man-made island in the Assawoman Bay has become a popular summer spot for beachgoers.  However, the fun may not last forever if Mother Nature has anything to say about things.

Officials from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program said the new island, called Collier's Island, was completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in March.  When people started making their way to the Ocean City area this summer and jumping in their boats.

"Where did that come from? Our mouths were hanging open looking up at this island. Like, where did this come from? With a flag and everything. So, we quickly came over," said Carolyn DiArchangelo from Spring City, Pa., who was enjoying Friday on the new island.

Officials from the Coastal Bays Program said the island was created to serve as a habitat for local bird species.  Species that need extra care and protection to ensure their continuation, including the black skimmer and both the royal and common tern.  However, this spring, the birds did not take to the island.  Instead, people have flocked to it.

"We come almost every day. We come here and it's awesome. We just pull up with our pontoon boat and our jet skis and we're able to sit here and just hang out all day," said Kristy Fox, from Cornwall, N.Y., who was also enjoying her time on Collier's Island.

Coastal Bays Program officials said the birds could very well start using the island next spring, and if that's the case, the new island will be off-limits to people.  Humans, and their pets they bring to the island, can be very detrimental to the birds as they nest their eggs in the sand.

"That's a tough one," said Matt Thompson from Philadelphia, who was with his family Friday in the island's surf. "We need to make a lot of natural land for the birds, I get that, but it's one of these things where we don't have this many opportunities in the bay with the islands that come up and run the boat on. So, I'd like to keep it for us, if I could."

According to the Coastal Bays Program, if those species of birds arrive on the island next spring, Collier's Island will be off limits to boaters from about Memorial Day to Labor Day.

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