Monitoring & Research

The Morro Bay National Estuary Program collects year-round and seasonal monitoring data that help determine how different human and natural factors affect the health of Morro Bay. Our monitoring effort has two primary goals: to track long-term trends and to determine the effectiveness of specific conservation projects. High quality data is critically important in prioritizing future projects, evaluating the effectiveness of existing projects, and assessing long-term changes in health.

The Estuary Program’s monitoring data provide valuable information to local non-profits; state, federal and local agencies; and private citizens to support our mutual goal to protect and preserve this unique area.

Data Availability

The Estuary Program uses staff and trained volunteers to collect data. Ambient water quality data are collected monthly from creek and bay sites for a variety of parameters. Bioassessment data are collected annually at ten sites. Quality assurance information is documented in the Estuary Program’s Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). This document is reviewed and approved by EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board. 

Data are available for download from the California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) at, and from the California Open Data Portal at

Updates from the Field

Each month, Monitoring Program staff compile a blog post that highlights what we’ve been up to in the field over the past month. To check out some of our past blogs, check out the links below, or visit

Interested to Volunteer?

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 visit our volunteer page at