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Motor Island Wildlife Management Area

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Motor Island Wildlife Management Area is a 6-acre island located in the Upper Niagara River off of Grand Island. Currently, there is no public access onto the island. It is posted as a restricted area to protect the colonial water birds. The only access to the island is during the waterfowl hunting season by permit only. There are designated waterfowl hunting blind locations along the shoreline for waterfowl hunting. The permit and lottery for blind selection is coordinated by Beaver Island State Park.

Featured Activities

Wildlife Viewing
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

There are many wildlife species to be seen near Motor Island WMA.

  • Birds: Waterbirds found nesting on the island include mallards, Canadian geese, ring-billed gulls, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, black crowned night herons and great egrets.

Some waterfowl hunting takes place along the perimeter of the island.


The WMA is an island in the Niagara River and can only be accessed by boat. It's located at 42.964515°N, 78.934036°W. Get Google Map Driving Directions (leaves DEC website).

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Activity Rules & Regulations:

The following activities are not permitted in Motor Island WMA:

  • Off road vehicular travel, including: 
    • Cars
    • Trucks
    • All-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorcycles
  • Swimming
  • Boating with motors
  • Camping

Outdoor Safety Tips:

How We Manage Motor Island WMA

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Motor Island WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or "Pittman-Robertson" Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition and archery equipment.

The following highlights some of the principal management objectives and techniques for the Motor Island WMA:

  • To protect habitat for a unique group of colonial nesting birds

At this time, the Bureau of Wildlife is not conducting any land management activities on the island. However, the New York Power Authority recently completed the Motor Island Shoreline Restoration Habitat Improvement Project. This project is part of the requirements in the power authority's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license and NYS Water Quality Certificate for the Niagara Power Project. This Habitat Improvement Project (HIP) was developed jointly with DEC and involves some invasive species removal and shoreline habitat creation.


The area was purchased in 1998 by the DEC with funding from the 1996 Environmental Quality Bond Act. The area was acquired to protect habitat for a unique group of colonial nesting birds which is part of a large significant coastal habitat critical to the Niagara River Ecosystem.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

Visit Buffalo Niagara (leaves DEC website) and the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.