State of the Bay

The State of the Bay is a science-based assessment of the environmental conditions of the Santa Monica Bay, conducted periodically by the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program (SMBNEP), as required by the U.S. EPA.

It includes seven major habitats in the Bay and Bay watershed—Pelagic, Soft Bottom, Rocky Reefs, Rocky Intertidal, Sandy Shores, Coastal Wetlands and Freshwater/Riparian.

Annual State of the Bay Habitat Updates

Periodic updates will be generated in a serial manner across the seven major habitats as outlined in the SMBNEP Comprehensive Monitoring Plan, (CMP). Each update will provide an overview and analysis of the condition and extent of one of the seven habitats based on available data for a set of key indicators as recommended by SMBNEP’s panels of experts. An update may also incorporate progress that has been made to improve the extent and condition of these habitats through active and passive forms of resource management. These efforts include emerging issues that will need to be addressed in the coming years, i.e., climate change related stressors.

The intended purpose is to:

People looking at the water


The CMP is a long-term framework for long term environmental monitoring to determine the condition and extent of habitats and seek the cause(s) of environmental degradation. 

The approach to this work is identified in the SMBNEP CMP.

Creatures under the sea

Identify & Inform

The information provided in the State of the Bay is used to identify potential issues and inform approaches to improving the condition and maintaining or expanding the extent of a healthy environment. This can be achieved through the reduction of pollutants, toxins, or nutrients harming water quality and wildlife. Other efforts may involve ecological restoration, by reestablishing or enhancing biological, physical, and chemical aspects of a natural system to benefit wildlife and people. 

A person working under water


Actions undertaken to achieve these benefits to Santa Monica Bay and its Watershed are identified in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the SMBNEP. This plan is science based and locally developed. It is periodically revised to reflect emerging concerns and modified based upon information gained from environmental monitoring.



Effective communication that engages people to further the impact of the SMBNEP is a central aspect of the work. Periodic updates to the State of the Bay are one of many avenues to learn and share more about the results of the SMBNEP. Please consider attending meetings of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, (SMBRC), or follow the efforts of The Bay Foundation, (TBF), and other partners in their collective work to benefit Santa Monica Bay, and its Watershed. 

Get To Know Santa Monica Bay Habitats



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School of Fish

Soft Bottom

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Rocky Reefs

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Sunset by the Sea

Sandy Shores

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Rocky Intertidal

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Coastal Wetlands

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Freshwater & Riparian

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Fish under water

Climate Change Affecting Santa Monica Bay

Along the coast of Los Angeles, climate change is causing warmer ocean water, more frequent intense storms and wave events, changes in precipitation, warmer weather, increased acidity in the ocean water, and sea level rise. These changes can place a great deal of stress on a system by organisms having to cope with high temperatures, drought, flooding, erosion, lower dissolved oxygen levels, and storm related damage from wind and waves. These same events impact people, cherished places, property, and many aspects of our local economy and quality of life. 

Thus, SMBNEP needs to be responsive to these changing conditions through the collection and incorporation of scientific information to successfully protect and restore Santa Monica Bay and its Watershed for current and future generations.

Help to Protect and Improve Our Local Habitats

Refer to 2015’s State of the Bay Report and SMBNEP’s Comprehensive Monitoring Program to understand the framework that can be used to monitor data and inform managers, practitioners, and the public on conditions and trends that will result in meaningful actions.

State of the Bay 2015 Report
Sea shore
Comprehensive Monitoring Program
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Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is a non-regulatory, locally based state entity that serves as the Management Conference for SMBNEP.


The Bay Foundation (TBF) is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) whose missions is to restore and enhance Santa Monica Bay through actions and partnerships that improve water quality, conserve and rehabilitate natural resources, and protect the Bay’s benefits and values. TBF serves as Host Entity for SMBNEP.