Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
eelgrass

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 …

Continue Reading

December Field Updates, 2016

This horn shark hid in the eelgrass bed at State Park Marina as the tide receded. Horn sharks aren’t known for their speed and graceful swimming. Rather, they move slowly and like to hide among crevices in rocks, in kelp, and in eelgrass beds like this one was doing.

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 December. Eelgrass Monitoring In 2005, with help from the Battelle Marine Sciences staff, we established four permanent transects for annual eelgrass monitoring in Morro Bay. These transects were chosen to represent different zones of the bay and capture differences between these zones. We added an additional transect in 2012. In December, we monitored two of these transects along with our other surveys. …

Continue Reading

November Field Updates, 2016

Karissa with fins

Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and wildlife 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 November.   Eelgrass Monitoring November was a busy month of eelgrass fieldwork for the monitoring staff. We continued monitoring the eelgrass restoration bed near Coleman beach and also took advantage of the great negative tides to conduct bed condition monitoring. These negative tides are great for fieldwork because of how much of the intertidal zone (the area that is exposed at a …

Continue Reading

October Field Updates, 2016

Here, Shane places the quadrat at meter 75 of our 150-meter transect.

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 October.   Fish trawl study We started off the month by helping Cal Poly Professor and California Sea Grant Extension Specialist Dr. Jennifer O’Leary conduct fish trawls in Morro Bay. In 2007, seven different sites around Morro Bay were trawled to catalog what species were present. Now, after the decline of eelgrass beds in the bay, the same sites are being trawled again …

Continue Reading

September Field Updates

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  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 September. Eelgrass September kicked off our busy fall season of eelgrass monitoring. We started the monitoring of eelgrass restoration beds planted in 2012–2014 for the presence and condition of eelgrass. To conduct this monitoring, our staff heads out on paddleboards with handheld GPS units and snorkel gear to find each restoration bed in search of eelgrass. Information gathered from this monitoring …

Continue Reading

August Field Updates

They got a calm, glassy morning for monitoring. 

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 August. Monitoring Staff Updates August was a quiet month for field work. Our monitoring staff spent time entering data and planning for upcoming eelgrass monitoring projects, but still got out into the field a few times. Our Field Technician, Evan, put on his snorkel gear and helped CalPoly professor Jenn Yost collect more eelgrass samples for genetic analysis.    We collected water …

Continue Reading

July Field Updates

group shot 2 - Tenney Rizzo

  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 July.   Eelgrass Surveys We had an exciting month of eelgrass surveys in July. Our monitoring staff helped CalPoly Professor Jenn Yost collect eelgrass samples for genetic analysis. Thanks to Tenney Rizzo from Cal Poly for some great group shots!   Fish seining at Windy Cove We also got to help CalPoly graduate student Erin Aiello seine for fish at Windy …

Continue Reading

March Field Updates

A surfboard works as the perfect desk for a day of eelgrass monitoring

  Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and animals requires a lot of hard work in the field. Today, we’re bringing you our first set of monthly field updates to show you what our staff and volunteers are doing on the ground. Monitoring Updates With the help of NOAA/CCC Veterans Corps members, we reinstalled one staff plate (a long ruler that can be used to measure water depth) that was knocked out during winter storms.     We monitored for sediment during the big rain at the beginning of March.   We completed …

Continue Reading

Sea Otter Awareness Week 2015

Sea otter eating in Morro Bay. Photograph courtesy of “Mike" Michael L. Baird, flickr.bairdphotos.com

  It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week, which makes us remember how lucky we are to have a group of southern sea otters living in Morro Bay. Sea otters don’t have the blubber that other marine mammals depend on to keep them warm. Instead, they have water-resistant coats that are very thick, with up to one-million hairs per square inch. Because of this, their pelts were prized by hunters and furriers in the 18th and 19th centuries, leading to a huge reduction in the worldwide otter population. The situation along the California coast was so dire that otters were thought to be …

Continue Reading

Understanding Eelgrass Decline and Evaluating Restoration Activities

Restoration Projects Manager, Jen Nix (on right) readies materials for our eelgrass seed dispersal project.

  Morro Bay’s eelgrass beds are a critical resource. They provide food and shelter to many plants and animals, including juvenile rockfish, steelhead trout, various shorebirds and waterfowl, and the southern sea otter. Eelgrass also helps to improve water quality. It increases water clarity, produces oxygen, sequesters carbon, and absorbs excess nutrients. Studies have shown that eelgrass is also capable of removing toxic contaminants from marine sediments. Unfortunately, eelgrass beds are diminishing worldwide. Nearly ¼ million acres of eelgrass have been lost globally over the last 30 years. This rate is comparable to losses reported for mangroves, coral reefs, and …

Continue Reading