Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
Blog

Morro Bay National Estuary

Birds and Morro Bay

bc3176an

  At least one billion birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway each year. (One billion birds!) Most of these birds migrate at night. They take off near sunset, moving together in groups that can be seen as large colorful swirls on Doppler radar. In the winter, thousands of these migrating birds make a much-needed stopover in Morro Bay, foraging for food and resting on and near its clean waters in order to conserve energy for the continuation of their journeys. The Estuary Program recently talked with Dave Tyra, President of the Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) about Morro Bay’s birds. …

Continue Reading

What Estuary Program stories compel you?

IMG_2676

  The Estuary Program blog turns one at the end of January! In this first year, we’ve been happy to bring you an in-depth look at our projects, program updates, information about bay-friendly living, stories about people who are making a difference, and ideas for fun activities that you can do around the estuary. If you missed any of our posts, you can catch up by scrolling down our main blog page. If you’re looking for the highlights, here are links to our top five posts of 2015:   1. Morro Bay Estuary Poetry Contest Winners 2015 Each year, we ask poets …

Continue Reading

El Niño, Rain, and the Estuary

An increase in water flowing through local creeks helps fish and other aquatic species. This picture was taken at Pennington Creek in 2011.

  Everyone is talking about El Niño: the rain, the wind, the warmer ocean temperatures, and whether or not it will impact the drought. At the Estuary Program, we are keeping our eyes on this weather phenomenon because it directly affects our local waterways. In this post, we’ll discuss what extra precipitation might mean for the Morro Bay watershed and estuary. How much rain can we expect? According to an article by local meteorologist John Lindsey, the historical average rainfall for our area is about 23.5 inches during the rainy season, but previous strong El Niño events have brought almost …

Continue Reading

Looking Back Over 2015

DSC_0937

  2015 was a big year for the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. In the following post, Adrienne Harris, current Executive Director, and Joel Neel, Bay Foundation Board President, look back over the year.    A Message from the President and Executive Director In our community, we have a long history of working to protect Morro Bay, our estuary. This effort has taken many forms over the decades, but all with the same goal, to protect the special nature of this place. Morro Bay was designated as a State Estuary in 1994, and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program was …

Continue Reading

Great Family-Friendly Hikes Around the Estuary

The boardwalk path through the elfin forest winds through eight different habitat types, and offers beautiful views of the estuary.

  It can be hard to find family-friendly hikes, but we’re lucky to have quite a few to choose from around Morro Bay. Here are a few that allow you to enjoy views of the estuary with your holiday guests! Marina Peninsula Trail This accessible boardwalk trail is only .5 miles long, and it begins close to the parking lot at the Morro Bay State Park Marina. It winds through a variety of habitats, and offers views of the Morros, the salt marsh, the mud flats, the sandspit, the estuary, and Morro Rock. Your view will be different depending on …

Continue Reading

Be a Bay-Friendly Host this Holiday Season

View of Morro Rock from Montana de Oro

  If you have guests coming to visit this holiday season, you can help them be bay-friendly during their stay on the Central Coast. Reduce waste Take your coffee or tea in reusable tumblers Many people enjoy visiting local shops for a warm cup of coffee or tea at the holidays. It’s a nice way to warm up before a visit to Windy Cove, or a walk along the Embarcadero. If you plan to grab your morning cup on the road with family or friends, consider bringing a reusable cup. Disposable cups are often lined with plastic to prevent them from …

Continue Reading

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

Volunteers monitor DO levels in the early morning hours because that is typically when we find the lowest levels of the day.

  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. The monitoring efforts of the Estuary Program and its volunteers help to determine if Morro Bay provides clean waters that can support sensitive marine life, as well as activities such as swimming, boating and fishing. Last week, we looked at what the Estuary Program’s monitoring efforts can tell us about …

Continue Reading

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

CW1_1

  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, …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading