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

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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Why do you love Morro Bay?

We love the Morro Bay National Estuary. We’re inspired by the wildlife that lives here, the natural beauty of the place, the important role it plays for migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway, the seafood bounty it brings, the joy and peace that come from getting out on its waters. The list goes on. We wanted to hear why others love Morro Bay. So, we asked local filmmakers Simo Nylander and Tom Wilmer to interview over 20 locals whose lives are intertwined with the bay and the estuary. These stories give us personal reasons to continue to protect and restore …

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Morro Bay Mutt Mitts to the Rescue

The sun’s just coming up, and Spot’s already scratching at the door for a morning walk. You throw on your jacket, secure her leash, and you’re off. Spot trots and sniffs along happily, and then does her business right in the middle of your neighborhood park’s lawn. You’re ready to head home for your morning cup, but first things first. You’ve got to scoop the poop. You reach into your pocket…and come up empty. You forgot to bring a bag! Now what? Well, if you’re at one of over 20 locations in the Morro Bay watershed, you’re covered. You head …

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Eelgrass Update

Eelgrass beds are important in bays and estuaries throughout the world. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) stabilizes sediment, filters toxins, and takes up nutrients, heavy metals, and CO2. Healthy eelgrass is an indicator of good water quality.   Eelgrass also provides habitat for and food for the estuary’s animals such as the California sea hare, sea slugs, Brandt geese, various types of fish, and many other species. Eelgrass is sensitive to changes in the environment—both natural ones, and those caused by people—and almost 97% of the eelgrass in Morro Bay has been lost since 2007. Migratory waterfowl populations, fisheries, and other species …

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Come celebrate the Morro Bay Estuary through art!

Exciting things are always happening at Art Center Morro Bay, but the show that opens today is close to our hearts. Morro Bay Estuary—Celebrating a National Treasure focuses on the beauty of Morro Bay, its wildlife, and the people who love it. Art Show: Morro Bay Estuary–Celebrating a National Treasure Opening reception Sunday, March 1, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Art Center Morro Bay The Morro Bay Art Association; the Historical Society of Morro Bay; the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art; the Office of Deanna Richards, Edward Jones; and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program collaborated to produce the show …

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Volunteers at Work

After a long and fulfilling career as a geriatric nurse practitioner, Charlotte Kelly and her husband settled on the beautiful Central Coast of California two years ago. An avid rower, birder, and fisherwoman, Charlotte loves water. She decided to volunteer with the Estuary Program last spring, after hearing our Executive Director, Adrienne Harris, describe the different volunteer opportunities we offer. Volunteers at the Estuary Program take to the creeks and bay to collect different types of environmental data. We use this data and share it with our partners to determine if the bay and creeks are healthy enough to support …

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Why King Tides Matter

King Tides are the highest tides of the year—they push docks to their limits, nibble at seaside vegetation, and can even swallow the bottoms of beach stairways. Click here to see the photograph above and others like it on Flickr. Though they may be dramatic, King Tides are a natural, predictable phenomenon. They occur in winter, when the earth is closest to the sun and when the sun, moon, and earth are all in alignment. So, if King Tides are a normal part of the tidal cycle, why do they matter? King Tides matter because they offer a glimpse into …

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