Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.

Morro Bay National Estuary

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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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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