Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
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Morro Bay National Estuary

Morro Bay High School Students Make a Difference for the Estuary

  This spring, sophomore students at Morro Bay High School were asked to answer an important question, “How can we get young people to care about our local endangered species?” It’s an important question and a difficult task. To tackle it, they first had to learn about local species. So, they invited guest speakers in to teach them about twelve different species that are or have been under protection, including peregrine falcons and sea otters.   The students and their teachers decided that the best way to reach kids was through stories. So, while they studied these twelve species in their science classes, they …

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Do Your Spring Cleaning the Bay-Friendly Way

There’s a month left of spring, which means you still have time to do some serious spring cleaning. While you’re gutting your garage, polishing your furniture, and making sure your kitchen and bathroom are sparkling, please keep the estuary in mind.   The cleaners you use and the ways you discard old chemicals, paints, and other household items play a big role in the health of the bay. Use the bay-friendly cleaning tips below to make sure the estuary keeps sparkling, too.   Kitchen     When the kitchen mess gets overwhelming, you need a good all-purpose cleaner. To make …

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Reduce Your Water Use for the Morro Bay Estuary

It’s no news that we’re facing a prolonged drought in California. The drought affects both people and wildlife. With less rainwater running down hillsides, into creeks, and ending up in the Morro Bay estuary, the plants and animals that live in the watershed and the bay have to make do with less.   Fish, like the native California steelhead that travel down streams in our watershed, through the estuary, out into the ocean, and back again, face an especially grim fate. We can help steelhead and other species thrive by using less water, so that more is left for them. …

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Mother’s Day on the Bay

  Mother’s Day is this Sunday. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your mom, or in her honor, why not come to Morro Bay? You can stroll along Windy Cove, explore the Embarcadero, and–if you know where to look–you might be able to catch some wild animals mothering their young. Here are your best bets: Great blue herons and more at the rookery To see great blue herons and their young, visit the heron rookery near the entrance to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History. When you arrive, look up into the tree boughs. Herons can nest …

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Clean Boating on the Morro Bay Estuary

  Summer’s around the bend, and there’s nothing like taking it all in from your boat. If you’re looking forward to getting out on the water, there are a few things you can do now to get ready for some good clean fun. 1. Make sure what goes in the head stays in the holding tank: Check your Y-valve for leaks You’d rather focus on the wind and the waves, but sometimes nature calls.  When you flush the head on your boat, untreated sewage moves into your holding tank. Your Y-valve is the only thing standing between that sewage and …

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Where Art and the Morro Bay Estuary Mix

Franczeska Angel's acrylic painting "Estuary/Morro Bay Fog"

  Estuaries are places where freshwater meets the saltwater of the sea. They are places of mixing, mingling, and coming together. We’re working to bring that spirit of togetherness into our 20th anniversary events this year. So far, we’ve gathered in City Park for DogFest 2015, an event that brought together dog owners and their furry friends to learn how simple habits can positively affect the health of Morro Bay. We’ve kicked off a poetry contest that asks kids and adults to write about the Morro Bay estuary in order to help people far and wide see why it’s such …

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Write a Poem, Preserve the Bay

  The sea darkens; the voices of the wild ducks are faintly white.                                   —Basho   Nature has always inspired writers. It makes us slow down and observe the landscape. It encourages us to take in the sights, sounds, and smells around us. It makes us consider our place in the world. The poem above was written by the famous Japanese poet Basho during the 17th century. Despite the 300 years and over 5,500 miles that separate us from Basho, this haiku might remind …

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Opportunities at the Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s Nature Center

  The Estuary Nature Center invites visitors to experience the beauty of the estuary and learn about protecting its sensitive habitats and wildlife. At the Nature Center, you can view aquariums of steelhead trout and eelgrass, and learn about the threats they face. You’ll see 3-D images of the estuary, learn about the watershed that supplies it with freshwater, and much more. Visitors can also enjoy the spectacular view and take advantage of the center’s binoculars to do some wildlife watching. To enhance visitors’ Nature Center experience, the Estuary Program is excited to continue our Nature Center Docent Program, which …

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Monitoring the health of local creeks with bioassessment

Volunteer surveys stream

Each spring, Estuary Program staff and volunteers gear up for Bioassessment, an important monitoring tool that allows us to assess the health of local streams to determine their value as fish habitat. We conduct monitoring at creek sites throughout the Morro Bay watershed, which involves collecting macroinvertebrate or “macro” samples (insects that are visible to the naked eye) and taking measurements of the health of creek habitat. Here’s what a day of monitoring involves. Water quality monitoring Upon arriving at the site, we use water quality meters to collect information such as pH, temperature, turbidity, flow, and oxygen levels. Fish …

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Gardening in a Morro Bay-Friendly Way

  Gardening—whether you’re filling a large yard or tending a few potted plants outside your window—is a great hobby. It allows you to get your hands dirty and to reconnect with nature. It beautifies our neighborhoods and can provide valuable habitat to native birds, butterflies, insects, and other species. However, it’s important to remember that the choices we make in our gardens have a big impact on the watershed. Some products that are used to keep plants looking lush (like pesticides and fertilizers) can be harmful to the natural environment. Some plants need a lot of water, reducing the amount of …

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