Little Creek State Wildlife Area

Site Description

  • State: Delaware
  • County: Kent
  • Ownership: State


  • Little Creek Center: 146 acres
  • Little Creek North (Port Mahon): 424 acres
  • Little Creek South: 472 acres
  • Little Creek Southwest: 155 acres

Ecology and Management

Little Creek State Wildlife Area (SWA) is situated along the Delaware Bay directly south of Bombay Hook NWF. This site contains four impoundments with the main two being Port Mahon (aka Little Creek North) in the northern section of the SWA and Little Creek (aka Little Creek South) in the south. The four impoundments together provide a total of over 1000 acres of habitat for shorebirds and migratory waterfowl. The site is managed by the DE Division of Fish and Wildlife. This area supports a large numbers of birds with counts of over 5,000 recorded for Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Snow Goose as well as counts of over 1,000 for many other species of shorebirds and waterfowl.


Little Creek SWA is part of a large effort by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to enhance the resilience of their coastal impoundments. The dikes the surrounding the impoundments at Little Creek SWA will be repaired and improved to provide resilience against the impacts of climate change for another thirty years.

Human Value

There is no human use data on Little Creek SWA.

Literature Resources

Below is a list of articles describing research occurring at or near the impoundments:
  • Breese, G., K. Kalasz, J. Lyons, C. Boal, J. Clark, M. DiBona, R. Hossler, B. Jones, B. Meadows, M. Stroeh, B. Wilson, and M. Runge. Structured decision making for coastal managed wetlands in Delaware. Shepherdstown, West Virginia: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center; 2010.
  • Chamberlain, E. B. A survey of the marshes of Delaware. Dover, Delaware: The State of Delaware, Board of Game and Fish Commissioners; 1951.
  • Chan, S., and S. Shulte. A Plan for Monitoring Shorebirds During the Non-breeding Season in Bird Monitoring Region Delaware – BCR 30. Manomet, Massachusetts: Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; 2003.
  • Harding, J. J. 1980. Birding the Delaware Valley Region: A Comprehensive Guide to Birdwatching in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Central and Southern New Jersey, and Northcentral Delaware. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Holgersen, N. E. 1971. Black-necked Stilt nesting in Delaware. The Wilson Bulletin 83:100-100.
  • Hossler, R., K. Bennett, and A. Kane. Coastal Impoundment Decision Making. A presentation given at Connect, Collaborate, and Conserve in an Era of Changing Landscapes: An Interactive Training on State Wildlife Action Plans, June 4-6, 2013. Washington, D.C.: Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.
  • Kneidel, A. 2014. Little Creek: Delaware’s Shorebird Hotspot for 2014. http://www.nemesisbird.com/birding/little-creek-delawares-shorebird-hotspot-2014/ October 9, 2014:1.
  • Lesser, F. H. 1963. Waterbirds of Little Creek. Cassinia 47:22-32.
  • Lunt, D. C. 1986. Taylors Gut: In the Delaware State. Middle Atlantic Press, Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Meredith, W. H., T. J. Moran, and R. E. Meadows. Managing Delaware’s Coastal Wetlands for Biodiversity. Dover, Delaware: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; 2002.
  • Murray, M. 2014. Delaware gets millions to help beaches, wetlands. Delaware Online June 8, 2014:1.
  • Murray, M., and J. Montgomery. 2012. Marsh impoundments create questions on future responses by state officials. Delaware Online October 23, 2012:1.
  • Stocks, K. I., and J. F. Grassle. 2003. Benthic macrofaunal communities in partially impounded salt marshes in Delaware: comparisons with natural marshes and responses to sediment exposure. Estuaries 26:777-789.
  • Wayne, W. J., and T. E. Roberts. 1972. The Summer Scene. The Delmarva Ornithologist 7:4-6.
  • Whitman, W. R. Restoration of migratory and wintering waterfowl habitat in coastal impoundments of Delaware. A paper presented at the Symposium on Habitat Management for Migrating and Wintering Waterfowl in North America, January 24-28, 1988, Jackson, Mississippi. Dover, Delaware: DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife; 1988.