Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Morro Bay Estuary receives federal funding for conservation management plans

Screenshot (79).png / @catchlightdon
American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) prior to take-off at the Morro Bay National Estuary in Morro Bay, CA

The Morro Bay National Estuary Program has received federal funding to support its work. They say that’s especially important amid recent storms which have shown the need to preserve the estuary.

An estuary is a closed body of water connected to another flowing body of water, like a stream or river.

Morro Bay’s estuary is one of 28 national estuary programs. It provides a home to a wide amount of marine species in the area, and is one of the most important wetlands on the Central Coast.

At the end of last year, the Morro Bay National Estuary Program received nearly $2 million in funds from a bipartisan infrastructure law. The funds are meant to support the estuary’s conservation management plans.

Melodie Grubbs, the Executive Director of the Estuary Program said she’s excited to get funding to support such a diverse ecosystem.

“Morro Bay’s pretty unique in that it's a pretty small but very intact and healthy system that provides a lot of coastal resources to the small nearby communities,” Grubbs said.

Benjamin Purper
The Morro Bay Museum of Natural History has interactive exhibits for visitors to learn about the local estuary.

The series of winter storms on the Central Coast have caused waters to rise in the estuary this year.

Grubbs said part of the funds they receive will be used to improve water infrastructure, including stormwater control. She said that’s especially important amid rising sea levels from the effects of climate change.

“It can shape the habitats that are here and how we implement different projects. I think that's one thing we really look forward to playing a part in,” Grubbs said.

Suzanne Marr is a Project Officer with the Environmental Protection Agency. She helped the Morro Bay National Estuary Program receive its nearly 2 million dollar funding. Marr said the recent flooding in Morro Bay is a reminder of the need to plan ahead to preserve the estuary.

“This definitely fits in with helping us figure out how to make that road system more resilient, how to make that bridge more resilient, how to help that community be more protected from floods coming down the creek,” Marr said.

Along with improving water infrastructure, the federal funding will go towards projects like tracking the health of eelgrass and fish habitats, improving open space access, and planning equity strategy and climate adaptation actions.

More information on the Morro Bay Estuary Program is on their website,

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
Related Content