Our Impact - Morro Bay National Estuary Program

The Morro Bay estuary is a national and state treasure; its heath affects our health and the vibrancy of our community and economy. The Morro Bay National Estuary Program helps residents and visitors learn how to keep Morro Bay clean and healthy through community outreach as well as formal and informal education efforts. Well-informed public participation combined with the best science available is essential for effectively preserving the Morro Bay estuary.

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The Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s work is guided by our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (Management Plan), which identifies problems (called priority issues) that threaten the ecological and economic resources of the estuary and watershed and defines action plans to effectively reduce those problems. The Estuary Program updates this Management Plan in response to changing conditions in and around the estuary as well as global phenomena like sea level rise. This management plan was updated in 2012 and the Estuary Program is currently finishing work on a new version to be released this year. In addition to the Management …

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We track the health of our bay and watershed through a robust, citizen-supported monitoring program. We collect data about water quality at more than a dozen sites with the help of highly trained and dedicated volunteers. We also monitoring issues of critical importance, such as eelgrass acreage and presence of important marine species in the bay. The data we collect helps us understand: How the bay is changing Whether restoration projects are generating success What future projects are needed How to best educate the public about the state of our bay Monitoring data also helps inform other research efforts to …

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We prevent erosion at the source to keep sediment from entering the bay and muddying the waters of our creeks and estuary. We also work to capture sediment downstream by restoring floodplains, areas where waters can slow down and sediment can settle out onto the creek bank. Floodplains keep sediment from entering the bay, provide flood protection to private lands, and increase available habitat for wildlife.

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We restore flow, clean water, and native vegetation to creeks that feed the bay. Healthier, well-functioning creeks improve bay water quality and provide high-quality habitat to steelhead and other important aquatic life. Creek restoration also reduces erosion and keeps sediment from entering the estuary, keeping the water clear and helping prevent the bay from filling in. Together, these actions help keep water flowing in our creeks, minimize future runoff pollution, and protect special places for people and wildlife.

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We protect land and natural areas to provide refuge to native plants and animals, prevent future development (which often comes with increased water use), and preserve the rural nature of our watershed. These actions help keep water flowing in our creeks, minimize future runoff pollution, and protect special places for people and wildlife.

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The Morro Bay National Estuary Program is a nonprofit that works collaboratively to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary and watershed for people and wildlife.

The project focus areas and summaries below provide a snapshot of our collective impact since 1995.

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.