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Morro Bay National Estuary

Finding Poetry in Science through Morro Bay

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    Sometimes, in some places, science and poetry unite. When these seemingly unlike things come together, it’s like the confluence of fresh and salt water in an estuary, forming a space entirely new, rich, and nuanced. The Estuary Program’s annual poetry contest, A National Treasure in Words, is such a place. This year, we are asking writers to create free verse poems about the scientific issues and data discussed in our 2017 State of the Bay report. When you open the report, you might be inspired by the migration patterns of brant geese, the flow of creeks from the hills …

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Photograph Friday: Enjoying Morro Bay and Beyond

Sticky Monkey Flower on Cerro Cabrillo Trail

  The Morro Bay estuary and the lands that drain into it are very special places. They provide sustenance, shelter, and other necessities for many diverse lifeforms. The tiny invertebrates clinging to rocks in the creeks, crabs hunting for food in the eelgrass beds, pelicans diving down into the bay, and harbor seals that search for fish below the waves all depend on the bay and watershed. These areas also provide ample opportunities for people to fulfill their need to connect with the land and the water in their free time. We were struck by the variety of ways that people can enjoy …

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State of the Bay 2017: Habitat Protection, Steelhead, and Birds

Brant geese. Photograph courtesy of Ruth Ann Angus.

    Our State of the Bay 2017 report contains data that the Estuary Program and our partners have collected over the years. We release this report every three years to answer common questions about the health of Morro Bay and its watershed. Last week’s blog discussed eelgrass, sedimentation, and climate change. In this week’s blog, we address the indicator questions related to habitat protection, steelhead, and birds. Protecting Habitat for People and Wildlife Habitats are the natural environments where animals, plants, and other organisms live. The Estuary Program and its partners work to protect, enhance, and restore habitats to …

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State of the Bay 2017: Eelgrass, Sedimentation, and Climate Change

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  Our State of the Bay 2017 report contains data that the Estuary Program and our partners have collected over the years. We release this report every three years to answer common questions about the health of Morro Bay and its watershed. Last week’s blog post discussed the condition of water quality in the bay and creeks. This week, we address eelgrass, sedimentation, and climate change. Eelgrass: Tracking Current Conditions Eelgrass is a blooming underwater grass that puts down roots in sandy soils. Its long blades form an underwater forest, offering wildlife a place to rest, find food, and spawn. …

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State of the Bay 2017: Bay and Creek Water Quality

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    As a science-based organization, an important focus of the Estuary Program is to collect monitoring data that will inform our management decisions. As part of this process, we compile and analyze data every three years to create an environmental report card called the State of the Bay. Our 2017 report contains data that the Estuary Program and our partners have collected over the years. In this series of posts, we present some of the highlights from the State of the Bay 2017 report. This first post discusses water quality in the bay and local creeks. The second post …

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Countdown to State of the Bay 2017

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Every three years, the Estuary Program releases a State of the Bay report. This science-based assessment of the health of Morro Bay estuary and watershed presents data collected over the years. Through interesting articles, graphs, and illustrations, this publication shares what the data means for water quality, sedimentation, bird populations, eelgrass beds, and many other important aspects of a healthy bay. We are happy to announce that the 2017 State of the Bay report is here. Read it online, or pick up a copy in our Estuary Nature Center or office. One of the best parts of our State of the …

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Field Updates February 2017

Carolyn does a test planting using bamboo garden stakes as an anchor and twine to mimic eelgrass.

Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and animals requires a lot of hard work in the field. Read on to see what our staff and volunteers have been up to during the month of February. Sediment monitoring February was a quieter month for sediment monitoring, compared to January. We monitored two storms on Walters Creek in February, and we spent plenty of time processing sample bottles at our lab at Cuesta College, trying to empty them for future rounds of monitoring. Karissa went out with Catie, our Communications and Outreach Intern, to pick up bottles from …

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Sea Otters and Morro Bay

A mother sea otter and her pup float on Morro Bay above a seagrass bed.

  If you’ve walked the Embarcadero and stopped by the South T-pier recently, you may have noticed a lot of otters in the water. In a recent interview with KSBY, Mike Harris, Senior Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that prior to 2010 there were typically fewer than 10 sea otters in Morro Bay. In May of last year, a record 36 adults and 9 pups were counted. (Fun fact: a group of sea otters in the water is called a raft.) KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News   Sea otter …

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What to Read to Keep Up on the Weather

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  Rainfall totals impact the estuary. Lack of rainfall increases the salt content in bay, since less fresh water is flowing into it. Large storms send an influx of fresh water down streams, decreasing salinity levels and sending sediment out to the bay. Because of this, we keep an eye on the weather and its impact on the estuary. Sometimes, that means heading out during a break in the storm to check sediment monitoring equipment, like the two staff members below just did.   If you don’t have monitoring equipment to check on, we recommend staying inside this weekend. If you …

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Stormwater Runoff and Morro Bay

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    We’ve had a lot of opportunity lately to watch the rain come down. After it hits the ground, though, where does it go? Stormwater sometimes runs down a gutter before flowing into the street. It joins water that is running off other streets and sidewalks, and makes its way into a storm drain like this one. It picks up natural debris, like leaves and sticks, as well as anything else in its path. That water eventually drains out into Morro Bay. To keep yourself safe from fast-flowing water and higher bacteria levels, it’s a good idea to stay out …

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