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Help keep Morro Bay clean to ensure a great life for all of us! The Estuary Program offers different volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Some opportunities require an ongoing commitment while others are one-time events.

 If you are interested in volunteering with us, please read all the details and fill out the form below. Estuary Program staff will review the information you provide and contact you.

Full Name (required)

Phone Number (required)

Email (required)

City of Residence (required)


Over the age of 18? (required)


Activities of Interest  (required — check up to three)

Please be sure to note the frequency, commitment, and requirements for each volunteer activity you choose.



Use test kits and meters to monitor water quality parameters in local creeks that empty into the estuary. Following training with program staff, teams of two volunteers independently monitor one or two creek sites.

Note: Creek Water Quality Monitoring occurs only on weekdays during office hours.

   Frequency — two hours per month, year-round
   Commitment — six-month minimum
   Requirements — use of personal vehicle and limited hiking



Monitor oxygen, temperature, and salinity levels in the estuary during the early morning hours via kayak.

   Frequency — two hours per month, year-round
   Commitment — six-month minimum
   Requirements — transportation and use of personal kayak



Collect marine phytoplankton, and conduct identification and counts using a microscope.

   Frequency — two hours per month, year-round
   Commitment — six-month minimum
   Requirement — transportation



Collect water samples in the field and conduct a test for bacteria in the lab. Attend staff-conducted training in collection and processing using sterile technique.

   Frequency — two to three hours per month, year-round
   Commitment — six-month minimum
   Requirements — flexibility with scheduling, transportation, and limited hiking


  (Please check box to be notified of training session in spring.)

Hike up local streams to collect stream-bottom invertebrates and assess fish and riparian habitat features. Learn water quality and stream surveying techniques. Attend training with staff.

   Frequency — one training session followed by several monitoring sessions in the spring
   Commitment — four hours per site during spring season
   Requirements — availability to monitor at least one site following training, limited hiking (rough terrain at some sites)


  (Please check box to be notified of opportunities at local events.)

Be a program representative and lend a hand at local events put on by the Estuary Program or partner organizations throughout the year.



Answer questions and provide resources to Nature Center visitors. Participate in an initial three-hour training session and occasional follow-up trainings (no more than three per year).

   Frequency — two-hour shift weekly or biweekly, Thursday through Sunday
   Commitment — three-month minimum, preferably during the summer months
   Requirements — transportation to the Nature Center


  (Please check box to be notified of event details in early September.)

An annual event where volunteers join together to remove trash and recyclables from beaches, streams, and waterways worldwide. Occurs in the morning on the third Saturday of September. The Estuary Program typically hosts a cleanup on the Morro Bay sandspit and registration is limited to 20 people.



What days and times are you typically available?


Tell us about yourself.

Knowing more about you will help us match you with the right volunteer opportunity.


Please list other special skills you’d like to share with the Estuary Program.

The Estuary Program frequently needs help from writers, graphic designers, photographers, fundraisers, performers, teachers, and others.

Opportunities with our Partner Organizations

Many of our partners need volunteer help, too. Here are some other volunteer opportunities around the bay.


Small Wilderness Area Preservation (SWAP) and Elfin Forest Work Parties – First Saturday Work Parties are generally held from nine to noon on the first Saturday of each month. Visit SWAP’s website for more info and to contact organizers.


Morro Coast Audubon Society needs volunteers at the Sweet Springs Preserve and for the Christmas Bird count, among other events. The Audubon Society provides a list of contacts for their different volunteer opportunities on their website.


Eco Rotary Club of Morro Bay hosts a monthly cleanup of Bayshore Bluffs Park, and provides other volunteer opportunities from time to time. Visit Eco Rotary’s Facebook page or check out their website for a calendar of club events.


The Central Coast State Parks Association  informs visitors about natural and cultural aspects of the Central Coast. Volunteer locations include the Morro Bay Natural History Museum. Visit Central Coast State Parks Association’s docent program webpage.


Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCCMB) consistently holds work parties across the watershed to maintain, design, and build sustainable biking trails. Visit CCCMB’s website to connect with other bikers and help keep up Central Coast  trails.


Morro Bay in Bloom is part a nationwide network that encourages civic beautification. This local chapter strives to make Morro Bay a better place with regular two-hour cleanups and special projects to engage with the community. Check out Morro Bay in Bloom’s volunteer page to sign up for a two-hour gardening session.


San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden strives to show the diverse native plant life that thrives in the county’s Mediterranean climate, and to highlight sustainable gardening practices. SLO Botanical Garden lists a variety of volunteer opportunities on their website.


The Central Coast Aquarium is located slightly south on Avila Beach, however they share their knowledge of marine science across the Central Coast. Find out how you can apply your skills to educate others about aquatic life and our role as neighbors to the ocean.

California Native Plant Society, SLO Chapter teaches about flora native to SLO County while helping to preserve plant collections for future scientific research. Find an updated calendar with volunteer opportunities and other events on their website.

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.