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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Informing Biodiversity Conservation and Water-Quality Management in the Morro Bay Watershed

Not Pictured

Group Members: Heather Dennis, Stephanie Falzone, Hilary Walecka, Kari Zajac, Ashley Zavagno

Faculty Advisors: Ben Halpern

Client: Morro Bay National Estuary Program


Final Report


The Morro Bay National Estuary Program works to protect and restore the health of the Morro Bay estuary and watershed through collaboration, restoration, conservation, and education. The watershed supports diverse habitats and several threatened and endangered species, but is impacted by water quality degradation from nonpoint sources and one point source. Because there is limited funding for conservation and water quality improvement projects, this project sought to identify areas of the watershed to prioritize for conservation, while also identifying areas where water quality improvements should be focused. The effect of land use change on water quality was modeled to explore synergies between biodiversity conservation and water quality improvements. Climate change projections for climatic water deficit were also analyzed, with recommendations for conservation and restoration in the context of climate change.

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