Tidal creeks begin in uplands, draining into larger creeks until they join a tidal river or bay where their waters flow into the ocean. Tidal creeks represent about 17 percent of the state’s estuarine waters by surface area. Numerous tidal creeks like James Island and Shem Creek wind through the salt marshes of the Charleston Harbor Watershed, forming a network of highly productive habitat and serving as critical spawning areas and nursery habitat for fish, shellfish, birds and mammals. Seatrout, jack crevalle, flounder, spadefish, spot, black drum, blue crab and brown and white shrimp are among the many aquatic animals the mature in the shelter of these shallow, muddy-bottomed creeks before moving into deeper waters. Learn more about the Charleston Harbor watershed’s estuarine habitat.