Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
estuary

Morro Bay Wildlife Spotlight: California Horn Shark

    The tide was very low at our recent beach cleanup at the Morro Bay State Park Marina, and volunteers took the opportunity to look for trash amongst rocks that are often submerged beneath the water’s edge. They picked up bottles, bags, cups, cigarette filters, and other items, ensuring that the bay wouldn’t pull them back in when the tide rose. While looking for trash, one volunteer found an unexpected and beautiful surprise: a horn shark’s egg case. It was a wonderful reminder of how much life there is beneath the surface of the Morro Bay estuary. Horn sharks …

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Keeping Morro Bay Clean

  There are many wonderful local groups that work to keep Morro Bay clean and healthy. Several of them are hosting community cleanup events tomorrow, Saturday, July 9. Put on some sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and layered clothing, then head out to join the fun! Shoreline Cleanup with the Estuary Program, State Parks, & California Coastal Trail Association State Park Marina, 9 a.m., Saturday, July 9 Overview Join the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, California State Parks, and the California Coastal Trail Association), to clean up Windy Cove and the Morro Bay State Park Marina. You’ll help keep Morro Bay clean and healthy, and get …

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June Field Updates

Wooly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum), one of the many native plants we saw on the field tour.

    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 are doing on the ground. A Busy Month We went out and got our new Monitoring Coordinator, Shane, up to speed on our intertidal eelgrass monitoring efforts. Shane joins Evan, our Field Technician, and Erin, a grad student at Cal Poly, to look at the density of eelgrass at Windy Cove.   We found a handful of what we believe are the egg collars of Moonsnails. …

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Textures of Morro Bay Photo Contest

  The Morro Bay estuary and the surrounding watershed are full of different textures. Water droplets fall from a great egret’s feet as it takes off into the air, marking the glassy surface of the water with ripples. The egret’s feathered wings contrast with the clear blue sky.   The fuzzy seed pods of the hummingbird sage contrast with its smooth petals.   The receding tide ripples the mud along the shoreline before a raccoon visits the water’s edge, leaving its footprints.   The rocky sides of the morros seem to glow in the sun.   Any time you visit the estuary …

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Free Summer Fun: Morro Bay Estuary Nature Center

The image above is just a section of the beautiful mural in the Estuary Program Nature Center that shows the different animals and plants that live in local habitats. The portion above shows some of the fauna native to the upland creeks, the salt marsh, and the mudflats. Visit the Nature Center to see more of the mural and learn the names of these organisms.

    Have you visited the Morro Bay Estuary Nature Center lately? This free center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and it’s a perfect stop for travelers and locals of all ages. Wildlife viewing station You can sight see even on a foggy day at our wildlife viewing station. Use our binoculars to scan the water, sky, and sandspit for life. You might see pelicans and other seabirds, sea lions, or sea otters—we’ve even seen bat rays floating by.     Steelhead exhibit Our Saving Steelhead exhibit offers you the chance to see steelhead trout and learn about what …

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May Field Updates

seagrasses

    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 are doing on the ground.   National Aquatic Monitoring Conference  Karissa, Estuary Program Monitoring Coordinator, attended the National Aquatic Monitoring Conference in Tampa, Florida. A highlight of this conference was seeing a freshwater spring bubbling into an estuary while on a kayak tour to look at seagrasses in the Gulf of Mexico.         Final bioassessment surveys completed We completed four more bioassessment surveys …

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Help Morro Bay on World Oceans Day

    Estuaries are places where the salt water of the sea meets fresh water from the land. Because of this connection, the health of both the oceans and creeks can make a difference for our bay.   We invite you to help keep Morro Bay healthy by participating in World Oceans Day next Wednesday, June 8. This year, we’re focusing on ways to help keep plastics out of our waterways. We know that plastic waste can cause big problems for wildlife and water quality in the ocean. As it biodegrades into ever smaller particles, it attracts toxins and can …

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Fun Ways to Explore Morro Bay on Memorial Day

A beautiful view of the estuary channels taken from one of the many hiking trails above South Bay Boulevard in the upper reaches of Morro Bay State Park.

  Whether you’re a Central Coast local who’s staying home this holiday weekend, or a visitor coming from the valley or further out of town, Morro Bay offers a host of fun outdoor activities. Here are some of our favorite ways to explore the bay and surrounding watershed. Go birding Bring your scope or binoculars and visit one of the area’s numerous birding spots. The Elfin Forest in Los Osos offers the chance to see species that thrive in the Coastal Dune Scrub and a variety of other local habitat types. You can also head down to the estuary overlook to …

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Photograph Friday: Four Views from the Morro Bay Watershed

    Morro Bay  is a beautiful place and a valuable resource. This week, we want to share four photographs with you—all of them taken within the month. Each picture shows a different view from the watershed. Please enjoy these photographs, and feel free to send us your own images of this beautiful place. We’d love to feature them in a future blog post or on our website.             So many different views. So many ways to help protect and preserve Morro Bay for future generations. Subscribe to get the Estuary Program’s blog delivered to your inbox each week!  Donate …

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Announcing Winners of Morro Bay Estuary Poetry Contest 2016

  The third annual Morro Bay Estuary Poetry Contest asked people to celebrate native wildlife in poems of any form, and to capture the essence of the Morro Bay National Estuary in haiku. 72 poets from across the county and beyond sent in 96 poems for consideration. Guest judges Marguerite Costigan, Jerry Douglas Smith, and Patty Sullivan were very impressed with the entries. Guest Judge and current San Luis Obispo Poet Laureate, Marguerite Costigan.   Guest judge Jerry Douglas Smith.   Guest judge Patti Sullivan.   The judges have spoken, and the winners are in. Please read their poems below, …

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