are critical for the survival of many species.
of thousands of birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife depend on
habitats as places to live, feed, and reproduce. Estuaries provide
spots for migratory birds to rest and refuel during their
many species of fish and shellfish rely on the sheltered waters of
protected places to spawn, giving them the nickname "nurseries of
of marine organisms, including most commercially valuable
species, depend on estuaries at some point during their development .