We have adjusted our State of the Bay event offerings and schedule due to COVID-19. Please see our revised events and access links below.

Morro Bay Science Explorations with the Estuary Program: Creek and Watershed Health Update

Thursday, May 7, 4:00 p.m. on Zoom

Join here:

Password: 617287

Learn about water quality, restoration projects, land conservation, and land management from Estuary Program staff and guest speakers from the San Luis Coastal Resource Conservation District and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo. Download a PDF flyer. Download a PNG flyer.

Speakers include

Lexie Bell, Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Executive Director

Lexie plans and directs the program’s work, and collaborates with many partner organizations to further the mission of protecting and restoring Morro Bay. Lexie first came to the Central Coast as a graduate student at the UC Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and has been on the Estuary Program team since 2010. In addition to her Master’s degree, Lexie has a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami. Previously, Lexie worked as a marine science educator, scientific diver in the Caribbean, and coastal watershed researcher. Lexie loves paddling the bay and exploring the varied landscapes of the Central Coast with her family.

Carolyn Geraghty, Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Conservation Projects Manager

Carolyn develops and oversees watershed and estuarine restoration projects and conservation efforts. Prior to joining the Estuary Program, Carolyn was an Environmental Scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute supporting research of river and estuarine environments. Before that, she worked as the Restoration Director for the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust and oversaw implementation of stream restoration projects. She has also worked on a variety of aquatic ecology and water quality monitoring studies with The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, and USGS. Carolyn received a master’s in Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley focusing on watershed science. Her research evaluated stream restoration projects to inform restoration practices and planning in Oregon’s Klamath Basin. She also holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Aquinas College, MI.

Karissa Willits, Morro Bay National Estuary, Monitoring Program Manager

Karissa coordinates implementation of monitoring projects, communicates information on health of the bay, and serves as a liaison and trainer to our many Volunteer Monitoring Program volunteers. Karissa received a Marine Biology degree from U.C. Santa Cruz. Since graduating, she has worked on a variety of monitoring and restoration projects across the California coast, including two terms as an AmeriCorps Watershed Steward Project member with the San Luis Obispo Steelhead Initiative.

Hallie Richard, Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District, Conservation Programs Manager

Hallie has supported agricultural and restoration projects across San Luis Obispo county since 2016, from helping farmers improve irrigation water use efficiency to writing and administering grants for large-scale habitat restoration.  Hallie has a BA in Environmental Studies from SFSU and started her career working as a viticultural technician in Mendocino County and Northern Italy. She worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer alongside indigenous cacao farmers on soil health initiatives, water quality projects, and native seed propagation nurseries in Panama, then returned to the states to work for the NRCS in rural Utah, until she felt herself pulled back to the coast, landing her current position with the RCD where she is able to blend her agricultural background and natural resources experience.

The Coastal San Luis RCD is a special district that has been working with landowners in Coastal San Luis County on projects that protect and restore natural resources on working lands and wildlands since 1953. The RCD’s small, versatile staff specialize in restoration of riparian, dune, wetland, and upland habitats, planning and permitting for conservation projects, and providing technical assistance for ranchers and farmers developing innovative and sustainable land management practices, and restoration of dune and wetland habitats.

Kyle Walsh, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, Conservation Director

Kyle Walsh is the Conservation Director for The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County. He has worked on land conservation on the Central Coast since 2014. Kyle has studied the drivers of land conversion in San Luis Obispo and has worked with ranchers, landowners, and conservation professionals through the County to permanently protect our unique landscapes. He holds a Master’s in Geography from San Diego State University. In his free time, Kyle enjoys running our local trails, playing music, and exploring California.

One a Day for Morro Bay Trash Pickup Challenge

Every day in May

Though we can’t gather together to clean up the beach and bay, we can still make a difference! Every day this month, we encourage you to pick up one piece of trash that you find on the ground or on the water while you’re already out exercising.

Post photos of the trash you find or even pose for a #trashyselfie with #1aDay4MorroBay. Tag us with @mbestuary on Facebook and @morrobaynep on Instagram and Twitter. Let’s make a difference together!

Download a PDF flyer.

Download a PNG flyer.

Guided Hikes From Home

We’ve transformed our guided hikes into blogs with lots of photos and videos. That way, once we’re all able to go out hiking together again, you’ll be able to get even more out of these trails!

Please see our blogs published April 10 and May 8 for these Hikes from Home blogs.

Poetry contest

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s poetry contest! The student entries are in and will be in our judges’ hands this week. Please stay tuned for an announcement of our student poetry winners.

We look forward to seeing everyone in person again as soon as possible. 


From science-based activities, celebratory mixers, shoreline cleanups, informative talks, active hikes, and more, here are some other local events put on by Estuary Program partners around the community.

The Central Coast State Parks Association has a variety of walks, talks, hands-on science workshops, and activities hosted by docents, California State Park officials, and other experts. Learn about the collection of happenings for all ages on their Events page.

ECOSLO organizes activities including docent-led hikes to promote healthy lifestyles and an engaged community in protecting natural resources locally and beyond. Check out the ECOSLO calendar on their website for info about upcoming activities.

The Land Conservancy of SLO leads hikers and bikers throughout the county. Their regular docent-led hikes and biking tours for a variety of levels provide special access to some private lands and information about the areas they work to protect. The LCSLO calendar of walks, tours, and special events as well can be found on their website.

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden indulges guests in many hands on activities for all ages as well as informative walks through the property. See the SLO Botanical Garden’s events page where they list recurring as well as special workshops and activities.

Small Wilderness Area Preservation (SWAP), The Los Osos and Morro Bay Chapter holds Third Saturday Walks monthly. Stroll through the Elfin Forest with a guest speaker presenting on a topic related to the natural history of the area. Visit SWAP’s website for this month’s presenter and topic.



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.