Monitoring Our Bay and Watershed
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 deepen our understanding and inform restoration in the bay and watershed.
Since 2002, the Estuary Program has monitored the extent and health of eelgrass in the Morro Bay estuary. Methods have evolved considerably from hands-on mapping and location triangulation to the use of sonar via boat, multispectral imaging technology via aerial survey, and high-definition drone imaging. This ongoing dataset allowed the Estuary Program to track the precipitous decline of eelgrass in the estuary between 2007 and 2012, and to plan for and evaluate restoration efforts in the years since.
Monitor Water Quality Data in Tributaries
Since the beginning, the Estuary Program has involved our community in collecting high-quality data across the estuary and watershed. Staff and highly trained volunteers return to established monitoring sites monthly to collect data on dissolved oxygen levels, temperature, salinity, flow, and other parameters. They collect and analyze samples of water from areas that have historically high bacteria counts and report on how safe the water in these areas is for recreation on a long-term basis.
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.