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

Clean Water, Great Life – Bay Water Quality Update Part I

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  The Morro Bay estuary is a special place that is central to many of our lives, providing a beautiful place to live, work, and visit. We play in these waters and enjoy the food they provide. These waters are also home to countless species of plants, fish, and invertebrates. This week, we’ll discuss our findings on bacteria in the bay. Morro Bay – is it safe for swimming? Each month, Estuary Program volunteers monitor bay shoreline sites at popular access points. They test the waters for indicator bacteria like Enterococcus and E. coli. If these indicator bacteria are present, …

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What we’re thankful for

Adrienne Thankful 2015

  Today and every day, we are thankful for you, our supporters. The Estuary Program was established through a grass roots movement, fueled and funded by passionate people in the local community. Your interest in the estuary, and your desire to protect and restore it, is a big part of what keeps us going. Thank you! Hear about the Estuary Program’s roots from founder Bill Newman. We are also thankful for the estuary itself. As the best-preserved estuary in central and southern California, it’s something to be proud of. It acts as a nursery for many plants and animals, sustains …

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Clean Water, Great Life: Creek Water Quality Update

Monitoring Coordinator, Karissa, checks dissolved oxygen levels in Chorro Creek.

  The Morro Bay watershed, the area of land that drains into the estuary, is a special place. Our watershed’s creeks provide valuable habitat to aquatic life, including iconic steelhead. These fish are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater, such as our watershed creeks, and then venture out to the ocean. After several years in the ocean, they return to the creeks where they were born to spawn and continue the life cycle.   Here on the Central Coast, we are host to a distinct population of steelhead known as the South Central California Coast Steelhead.   The formerly …

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Your Bay-Friendly Fall Garden

Photograph by mystuart.

  It feels like fall in Morro Bay. The air is cooler—especially at night, the monarchs are coming back, and we’ve even had a little rain  (with more forecast for this weekend!). While lower temperatures make many plants slow down, you can still use bay-friendly techniques to keep your garden active through the fall and winter. Plant natives in the fall Fall is a great time to plant California natives. While you can put most natives in the ground throughout the year, the California Native Plant Society recommends planting them in the fall or early winter so that they have …

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Estuary Program Volunteers of the Year

Charles Payton, Monitoring Volunteer of the Year, monitors water quality at a local creek.

  We have the privilege of working with many volunteers who dedicate their time, exercise their expertise, and focus their energy on helping the Estuary Program. These volunteers fill essential roles. They are members of our governing board, they provide advice through our committees and working groups, they monitor the health of the bay and watershed, they stock our Mutt Mitt dispensers, and they act as docents in our Nature Center, among other roles. Every fall, we hold a volunteer appreciation party to thank everyone for their contributions. We also recognize two volunteers who have gone over and above in …

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Have a Happy, Bay-Friendly Halloween!

Photo by Operabug.

  Halloween is a lot of fun; it means candy, costumes, and light-hearted mischief for everyone. But—between candy wrappers, disposable decorations, and party supplies—it can also create waste. If you’re celebrating, don’t fret; you can make it a bay-friendly day by following the tips below. Have your candy, and keep the bay clean, too. Food wrappers and containers are consistently one of the most common forms of trash picked up during International Coastal Cleanup Day. (This year, according to the Ocean Conservancy, volunteers snagged 1,140,222 wrappers and containers—wow.) If light-weight candy wrappers escape from eager trick-or-treaters’ hands, they can easily land on …

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Give a Day for the Bay Success by the Numbers

We picked up 18 pounds of trash from the sandspit, which is essential habitat for many birds, including the snowy plover.

  Our Give a Day for the Bay volunteer campaign came to a close this past weekend, and we are very happy with the results! Here is a breakdown by the numbers: 6 partner organizations offered volunteer opportunities to benefit the bay. 10 cleanups happened, with 9 along the water’s edge, and 1 under the water. 192 volunteers gave a total of 572.5 hours to keeping Morro Bay clean and healthy! Thank you partners and volunteers for your hard work! Below, you’ll find pictures of Give a Day for the Bay volunteers in action. Enjoy!   Tsunami Debris Cleanup on the Sandspit at Montana de Oro …

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Give a Day for the Bay with Eco Rotary

Doreen rakes the path along the water’s edge. Photograph courtesy of Ruth Ann Angus.

  On Saturday, we headed down to Bayshore Bluffs Park to Give a Day for the Bay with our local Eco Rotary. Club members were ready to receive cleanup volunteers with a smile, a delicious spread of brunch items, and a storage shed full of tools for cleaning up the park. How could you resist? Volunteers were happy to get to work. They consulted with Eco Rotary Club members, gathered the tools they needed and were on their way. This Saturday, a dozen volunteers put in about 25 collective hours cleaning up the park, or as Eco Rotary Club President …

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Microbeads and Ocean Pollution

Microbeads and other microplastics show up on beaches worldwide.

  Your toothpaste might have more in common with the Pacific garbage patch than you ever thought possible. Microbeads—tiny little particles of plastic that have a way of getting into everything—are often found in both places. They’re used in many health and beauty products, including toothpastes and face washes, because they can help scrub surfaces clean. Unfortunately, once you spit out your toothpaste, or rinse off your face, they go right down the drain, and eventually end up in our oceans. Once there, they are extremely difficult to get rid of. Microbeads, along with other small pieces of plastic, compose …

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A Celebration to Remember

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  This past weekend, we had the privilege of celebrating our 20th Anniversary with many of our founders, supporters, partners, and community members—all while admiring beautiful views of the bay. Some of the people who came to the event had been involved with the Bay Foundation and the Friends of the Estuary—two organizations that were instrumental in establishing protection for Morro Bay at both the state and the national levels. Many of them still work to protect our bay to this day. Some had worked hard, along with over 700 other community members and experts, to create the comprehensive management plan for the …

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