Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
estuary program

iNaturalist: Bringing Technology and Nature Together in Morro Bay

    In Morro Bay, the natural world surrounds us, no matter where we are. It’s right outside our windows. It lines the paths we walk, bike, and hike. It reminds us just how much life depends on its waters. Nature is why so many of us choose to visit and live in Morro Bay. If you’re the kind of person who loves to be surrounded by nature and who is also interested in science and technology, you might like iNaturalist. It’s a smart phone and tablet app that allows people to upload pictures of the plants and animals they see. …

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Save the date for DogFest 2016

  Estuary Program staff, like many Central Coast residents, love going out and about with our dogs. We take them to the beach, we bring them hiking, we play with them at local parks, and walk them around town.     Dogs give us many wonderful things like companionship, love, and slobbery kisses. They also give us some stinky things…like an average of 3.5 pounds of poop per week. About 281,000 people live in San Luis Obispo County and more than 62,000 dogs (roughly 1 dog per 4.5 people) make their homes here, with about 5,500 dogs located in Morro …

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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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An Update on Microbeads and Ocean Pollution

  In October 2015, we showed you how plastic microbeads cause problems for the world’s oceans. When we use face wash, toothpaste, and other products that contain microbeads, the tiny plastic particles flow down the drain and can end up in our waterways. Eventually, some of these beads add to the plastic pollution in the five gyres, including the Pacific Garbage Patch. Today, we are revisiting microbeads because a new study published in Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences showed that polystyrene microplastics affect oyster reproduction in a negative way. Oysters, which are filter feeders, can mistake microplastic particles for phytoplankton, consuming the …

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What Estuary Program stories compel you?

  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 …

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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 …

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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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A Celebration to Remember

  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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