State Of The Bay

Russ_White_Credit State of the Bay 2017

State of the Bay 2017—Explore our estuary through science!  


Every three years, the Estuary Program releases a State of the Bay report. This science-based assessment of the health of Morro Bay estuary and watershed presents data collected over five years. Through interesting articles, graphs, and illustrations, this publication shares what the data means for water quality, sedimentation, bird populations, eelgrass beds, and many other important aspects of a healthy bay. To accompany this State of the Bay report, the Estuary Program and our partners presented an exciting lineup of science-focused, hands-on activities, talks, walks, hikes throughout April.

Thank you event attendees, sponsors, and partners!

The next State of the Bay report will come out in 2020. Read the 2017 report, or check out current Estuary Program updates by subscribing to our weekly blog.


2017 State of the Bay Report

Pick up your copy at any of our State of the Bay events (details below), at our office, or from our Nature Center.

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Download the 2017 State of the Bay report.





2017 State of the Bay Quick Facts

Is water in the creeks and bay clean enough for fish and aquatic life?
Some areas are healthy and others are degraded.

Is the bay filling in at an unnatural rate?
• Yes, the flow of sediment to the bay is accelerated by human activities within the watershed. In addition, rainfall patterns greatly influence how much sediment is deposited in any given year.

Is Morro Bay safe for swimming?
• Yes, in most areas.

Does Morro Bay support healthy eelgrass beds?
• No, the amount of eelgrass in the bay declined rapidly. Though the rate of decline has stabilized, we have lost 97% of eelgrass in the bay.

Is the bay clean enough to support commercial shellfish farming?
• Yes, in currently active harvesting areas.

Are important natural areas being protected, enhanced, and restored?
• Yes, over 4,000 acres have been protected and over 400 acres have been restored or enhanced.

Are bird populations that depend on the bay habitat stable?
• Yes, most bird populations in the Morro Bay watershed are stable, but some birds face difficult conditions.

How will climate change likely affect the Morro Bay watershed and estuary?
• Predictions suggest changes in precipitation patterns and amounts, sea level rise, and loss of important habitats.

Does the estuary and watershed support a healthy population of steelhead?
• No, the local steelhead population continues to be threatened even with some habitat improvements.

What can you do to help keep Morro bay clean and healthy?

  1. Keeping trash in the can, reduce your water use, let only water go down the drain, use biodegradable pr
  2. Donate to the Estuary Program to support our conservation, restoration, research, monitoring, education, and outreach work.
  3. Volunteer with the Estuary Program.



Morro Bay National Estuary Program brings together citizens, local governments, non-profits, agencies, and landowners to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary.

Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.