The Nearshore and Bay Management Project (NBMP) focuses its research on the management of important habitats and species within bays, estuaries, and the nearshore that support commercial and recreational fisheries. Over 20 large bays individually covering 500 acres or more currently exist along the State's 3,400 miles of tidal shoreline. This group includes San Francisco, Humboldt, Morro, Tomales, Bodega, and San Diego bays, with San Francisco Bay being the largest. California bays and estuaries sit at the confluence of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. They are partially enclosed water bodies influenced by the tides of the Pacific Ocean. Estuaries are often referred to as "nurseries of the ocean" because many marine species spend much of their early life stages there. Several species of fish, birds, invertebrates, and marine mammals use these areas for feeding, over-wintering or breeding.
NBMP includes staff directed towards monitoring, assessment, and management of California's commercial Pacific Herring and bay shrimp fisheries, the State's kelp and other marine algae resources, the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP), and provides input and oversight of marine aquaculture. The project also conducts baseline monitoring of estuarine habitats and helps coordinate assessments of impacts to these sensitive areas.