Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
creeks

Field Updates May 2017: Bioassessment Surveys

Just three of our twenty-one great volunteers.

    As you know, 2017 has been a little rainy. Since the start of the 2017 water year, the county rain gauge at Camp SLO received 33.29″ of rain. This exciting water year has so far kept our staff busy collecting sediment samples, doing site checks to see if our equipment was still there and anxiously waiting for flows to subside to levels safe enough to monitor. This has also been enough rain to keep more sites wetted enough to conduct bioassessment surveys on. After a few years of only conducting about 5–7 surveys, for 2017 we had 12 …

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Photo Friday: Focus on Water

Water levels in the salt marsh depend on the tides. Here, California horn snails are visible in a pool left behind as the tide went out.

  This is the time of year that we start hoping to see more rain falling along the Central Coast. Rain feeds the creeks that flow into the Morro Bay estuary. Having enough fresh water in those creeks helps fish, other animals, and aquatic plants to grow and thrive. (See this article from local meteorologist John Lindsey for more information on how the drought affects Morro Bay.) Today, we’re paying a photo tribute to water as it moves from creeks, through the salt marsh, and out into the bay.   Creeks     Tidal Channels and Salt Marsh     …

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Where is the water? Tracking water in our creeks

While pressure transducers and other automated equipment collect important data, much of our long-term dataset is collected by hand. Volunteers measure water quality each month by going out to creek or bay sites with equipment in hand. They take note of things like water temperature, dissolved oxygen content, and other measures that indicate creek health.

    Measuring the water level in local creeks gives us valuable data. We collect this data with pressure transducers. A pressure transducer is a water-level measuring device that we install by submerging it in the creek. It continuously measures the pressure of the water pushing down on it and converts it into a height measurement. These instruments can collect data for months or even years. Pressure transducers can be used in a wide range of applications, from weather stations, to flood control, to tracking reservoir water levels. We use these devices in our local creek systems to estimate how much …

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April Field Updates: Monitoring

We trained volunteers in water quality monitoring to collect data such as temperature, pH and oxygen levels.

Bioassessment Training We kicked off our spring bioassessment season with our annual training. We had 27 volunteers attend.     Bioassessment Surveys The field season is underway. Four of our eight surveys for the year have been completed with the assistance of 13 dedicated volunteers.                 Subscribe to get the Estuary Program’s blog delivered to your inbox each week!  Donate to help the Estuary Program protect and restore Morro Bay.    

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Spring Bioassessment – Join the Team!

Estuary Program staff complete a habitat assessment during a bioassessment survey in 2015.

  Each spring, the Estuary Program and our volunteers engage in a bioassessment monitoring effort at a variety of sites along local creeks. This monitoring process follows a detailed protocol to collect habitat data and samples of macroinvertebrates or “macros,” which are insects that are visible to the naked eye. Some macros are very sensitive to pollution, so if you find them in a creek, you know that the water quality is good. This water penny, for example, is found in the creeks in our watershed. It spends from one to two years of its life cycle in this larval …

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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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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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