Hind Foundation Networking

Eelgrass Recovery Program

For Morro Bay National Estuary Program

In 2013, the Hind Foundation granted $15,000 to the Morro Bay National Estuary Program to complete Step 4 (Aug 2013 Planting Effort) of the five-step strategy to be implemented over five years, 2012 thru 2017. The steps include 1.) Back Bay Pilot Plantings; 2.) Bay-Wide Submerged Vegetation Mapping; 3.) Pilot Plot Monitoring; 4.) Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Planting; and 5.) Future Planting & Monitoring. Historically, Morro Bay contained the largest remaining eelgrass acreage south of San Francisco Bay. While eelgrass acreage naturally oscillates, local eelgrass has dramatically declined in the last six years. In 2007, there were 344 acres of eelgrass beds. In 2010, there were only 176 acres. In early 2013, an estimated 70-100 acres remained. Seagrass habitats are ranked one of the most biodiverse community-types on earth, supporting an array of species with their complex structure and organic nutrients. Eelgrass beds serve as nursery grounds for economically important fish, and provide important filtering services for estuaries, thus helping to improve water quality for sea life, wildlife, and people. 

Noteworthy Outcomes

•    Doing It Right the First Time
In a typical eelgrass planting phase, crews normally plant 1,500 planting units/day, which equals 7.5 planting plots/day. This grant allowed the Estuary to plant an additional 2,250 eelgrass planting units or 11.25 plots (recovery nodes), increasing the planting success rate.

•    Goal Exceeded
The final count was 9,775 units processed and 49 plots planted, exceeding the project goal of 8,000 and 40.


Area of Funding: Ecosystem Conservation
Type of Funding: Standard Grant
Amount Funded: $15,000
Year Funded: 2013
Year Completed: 2013

About the Organization
Morro Bay National Estuary Program
601 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-3834

Bring together citizens, governments, non-profits, agencies, and landowners to protect Morro Bay.