State of the Bay 2020: How Healthy is Eelgrass in Morro Bay?

Eelgrass forms underwater meadows that add oxygen to the bay and give fish, crabs, and other wildlife a place to forage for food and hide from predators. Unfortunately, more than 95% of the eelgrass in the Morro Bay estuary disappeared between 2007 and 2012. See how eelgrass in Morro Bay is doing today and learn what the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, researchers at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, and other partners are doing to help bring back this essential aquatic grass.

More than 95% of eelgrass in the Morro Bay Estuary disappeared between 2007 and 2012. This loss is devastating for the bay, because underwater eelgrass meadows form the base of the foodweb, providing a place for wildlife small and large to forage for food and shelter from predators. Scientists at the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and our partners are determined to bring this essential aquatic plant back to the bay. Learn more about the disappearance of this essential habitat-forming plant and see what work is being done to restore eelgrass and support the wildlife that depend on it.

See why we collect bugs for science, and learn what those bugs can tell us about local creeks.

The Chorro Creek Ecological Reserve floodplain project was implemented in 2019. See the video to see the drone images of the floodplain project.

Under natural circumstances, estuaries fill in over over thousands of years. Human activities can dramatically speed up this process, called sedimentation, so that it takes only hundreds of years. See how sedimentation affects the Morro Bay estuary and what it means for wildlife and people. Video Presentation by the Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s Assistant Director, Ann Kitajima.


This short documentary film weaves the story of concerned individuals whose efforts mobilized a community in central coast California to protect and preserve Morro Bay. Watch it and see why Morro Bay is a natural treasure that we can’t afford to lose. By filmmaker Simo Nylander and Tom Wilmer Funded by the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, PG&E, and private donors.