The extensive subtidal, intertidal mudflat, and salt marsh habitat on the Refuge supports a diverse array of species. The fish, benthic invertebrates, and other marine organisms supported on the Refuge provide important food sources for migratory birds and various marine organisms, including species important to commercial and recreational fishing interests. Also important to many fish, birds, and marine organisms are the extensive eelgrass beds present in the subtidal channels and large mitigation ponds.
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The smallest of the North American terns, they are migratory seabirds that breed primarily along the California coast. Their swallow-like flight gave them their earlier common name, Sea Sparrows. They were listed as Federally Endangered in 1970 mainly due to habitat loss.