Dec 31, 2015

Looking Back Over 2015


2015 was a big year for the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. In the following post, Adrienne Harris, current Executive Director, and Joel Neel, Bay Foundation Board President, look back over the year.


 A Message from the President and Executive Director

In our community, we have a long history of working to protect Morro Bay, our estuary. This effort has taken many forms over the decades, but all with the same goal, to protect the special nature of this place. Morro Bay was designated as a State Estuary in 1994, and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program was established in 1995 after many years of hard work by our community, in particular, the Bay Foundation of Morro Bay and the Friends of the Estuary. The individuals who served in these organizations never quit until they reached their goal of National Estuary designation. Many still work today to protect our bay.

2015 was filled with milestones. The Morro Bay National Estuary Program celebrated 20 years of service to our bay and community. We acknowledged our long-time supporters and thanked new friends who gathered together to recognize all we’ve accomplished.

The Estuary Program’s Executive Director, Adrienne Harris (left), talks with Bay Foundation Board Member, Deanna Richards.
The Estuary Program’s Executive Director, Adrienne Harris (left), talks with Bay Foundation Board Member, Deanna Richards (right).

Adrienne celebrated five years with the program, and Joel took on his second term as Bay Foundation President. We both have thoroughly enjoyed working with this dedicated group of community members and partner organizations, and while Adrienne is departing in 2016, she will always be grateful to have worked with such passionate supporters.

This year, we worked together to keep 6,000 cubic yards of sediment from entering creeks in our watershed by fixing chronic erosion issues on rural roads. We began planning for our largest floodplain restoration project yet along Chorro Creek. Community members used 250,000 bags provided by our Mutt Mitts program to keep pet waste out of our bay. And, all year long, we celebrated the beauty of our bay through art and storytelling.

Franczeska Angel's acrylic painting "Estuary/Morro Bay Fog"
Franczeska Angel’s acrylic painting “Estuary/Morro Bay Fog,” featured in our estuary-themed traveling art show.

As Jeremiah O’Brien, a local fishermen, put it in his 20th anniversary Bay Story interview, “We all love this place that we get to call home and work in. It’s certainly special to all of us, that’s why we’re here in Morro Bay.”

We live in this place, we work in this place, we love this place. Each of you reading this report has helped the Estuary Program throughout the last 20 years. Thank you for your service to our bay.

Our work is not over. Our estuary still faces threats from pollution and climate change. The National Estuary Program is dedicated to solving the complex problems that face our bay and ocean now and in the future. We have work to do, and together we will continue this important work in the decades to come.

Adrienne Thankful 2015
Adrienne Harris looks out over the estuary with her son.

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