Dec 22, 2023

From the Director’s Desk: 2023 in Review

It has been a remarkable year for the Estuary Program. Our team has grown to help support many new restoration, monitoring, and education efforts in the bay and watershed. Our team, volunteers, partner organizations, and community members have always played a critical role in the work we do. These people bring their passion, dedication, and stewardship to help create a more resilient and healthier bay and watershed.  

Community Engagement and Education Efforts 

This year we launched a series of estuary and watershed-based teacher training workshops and ramped up field trips for students. We also hosted dozens of outreach events, several clean-ups, and organized community-based restoration opportunities. Providing these education and restoration opportunities for all ages is essential to strong stewardship.  

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

Expanding Monitoring Projects 

Our monitoring team has also been busy this year undertaking several new scientific field data collection efforts including investigating phytoplankton communities in the bay, conducting fisheries surveys with the rebound of eelgrass beds, and tracking the movement of Central California steelhead trout to better understand actions we can take to help this threatened species. Our research and monitoring efforts aim to help us better understand our environment, stressors, and opportunities for positive action. Our volunteer monitoring program, academic collaborators, and partner organizations have helped tremendously in our monitoring and research efforts.   


Restoration Work for Habitats 

Restoration projects like the Chorro Creek Ecological Reserve and Los Osos Creek Wetlands Restoration Project have helped restore functional floodplains that provide habitat and help disperse flowing water during storm events. On the ground efforts are also underway to restore sections of the sand spit by managing invasive plant species. This allows native vegetation to flourish and provides enhanced habitat for the many species that call the estuary home.  

Reflecting and Looking Ahead 

Exploring and investigating helps us get the information we need to make informed decisions to improve our natural environment. Jane Goodall said, “Only if we understand, we will care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.” This stewardship concept is at the core of our work, and something we can all practice. While Estuary Program staff have been hard at work, it is everyone’s responsibility to be good stewards of our natural environment. It is, after all, one thing we all share. I encourage you to participate in one of our events, to explore, experience, and learn about our beautiful natural spaces, and to take action to help conserve these resources for future generations.  


Melodie Grubbs, Executive Director

Help us protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary!