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U.S. EPA CHOOSES MORRO BAY FOR NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM

Release Date: 7/6/1995
Contact Information: Arnold Robbins, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1486

    (San Francisco)--  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(U.S. EPA) today announced that it has chosen the Morro Bay
Watershed in San Luis Obispo County for inclusion in U.S. EPA's
National Estuary Program.  The designation will make federal
funds available to the state and local governments to continue
developing a long-term conservation plan for this scenic, 44,000-
acre area of California's central coast.


     "The communities surrounding Morro Bay are taking advantage
of a rare opportunity to plan for the management of an existing,
biologically diverse ecosystem, rather than waiting for an
environmental crisis to occur," said Felicia Marcus, regional
administrator of U.S. EPA's western region.  "We're pleased to
support this cost-effective, future-oriented approach to
environmental protection."


     Through the National Estuary Program, U.S. EPA focuses the
resources of state, local, and federal agencies on planning
coordinated conservation measures to protect these fragile,
highly productive coastal ecosystems.  In California,
conservation efforts under the auspices of this program have
already been underway for the past several years for the San
Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and Santa Monica Bay watersheds.

    Because of the large number of species which rely on Morro
Bay and the strong support of local leaders, Governor Wilson last
year signed legislation naming Morro Bay the first State Estuary.
Since then, state and local governments and a group of local
residents, the Friends of the Estuary At Morro Bay, have been
working to develop a conservation plan for the area.


     Under the National Estuary designation, the state would
provide funds to match federal funds allocated to the project.
The Morro Bay Watershed, located northwest of the city of San
Luis Obispo, includes all the lands whose waterways drain into
Morro Bay, including the watersheds of Chorro and Los Osos
Creeks.


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