Community Projects

Community Projects Program

Our Community Projects Program encourages and inspires work that helps to implement at least one Action Plan listed in our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The CCMP document helps to guide the Estuary Program’s work to protect and restore Morro Bay.

The CCMP includes 58 Action Plans that directly address priority issues. The goal of this Community Project Program is for the Estuary Program to work collaboratively with partner organizations to implement these Action Plans.


The Morro Bay National Estuary Program works to protect and restore Morro Bay and the lands that surround it by conducting monitoring and research to track ecosystem health, repairing natural habitats to protect water quality and wildlife, and educating residents and visitors on how to be good stewards of the bay. 

Our partnerships with agencies, nonprofits, landowners, and private citizens is crucial to our work. One aspect of this partnership has been our long-running Community Projects Program. The program supports community-based projects that help to implement specific actions identified in our CCMP. 

Two SeaLife Stewards volunteers paddle out on the Morro Bay estuary.

Program Goal

We want to work with you to complete a project of your choice that also addresses an Action Plan in our CCMP! The CCMP outlines the priority issues for our estuary and watershed. The goal of the Community Projects Program is for the Estuary Program to work collaboratively with partner organizations to implement our Action Plans. Ideally, projects have a component to increase public awareness. Projects can be focused on:

– Monitoring

– Research

– Restoration

– Education & Outreach

All projects should seek to:

Engage the community

Create public awareness & participation

Implement an Action Plan from the CCMP

Use cost-effective measures to implement projects

Leverage funds through other community partnerships


Project partners can be individuals, organizations, and government agencies in the Morro Bay watershed, including the following:

– Nonprofit organizations (i.e., either 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) IRS status)

– Governmental or public agencies that work within the Morro Bay watershed (e.g., environmental commissions, planning boards, public works, parks, etc.)

– Private businesses and professional organizations whose activities affect the Morro Bay estuary and watershed

– Educators in the Morro Bay watershed with projects that can serve as models for others

Timing of Funding

The program’s annual budget is $15,000. We encourage projects needing funding in the range of $2,000 to $10,000. We have one primary round of funding in the fall of each year with the application due the second Friday in September. If all funding has not been given out, then a second round of applications may take place in the spring with an application due date of the second Friday in March. 

Steps to Partnership & More Information

Read our “Steps to Partnership” document below for all of the details on eligibility requirements, the geographic focus area, and the project development process. If you meet the eligibility requirements and feel that your project could be a good fit, please email us at or leave a message for us at (805) 772-3834. 

Past Project Examples

Click the photo to read more about the project

Sweet Springs Native Garden

Microplastics Monitoring

SeaLife Stewards Docent Program