Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
morro bay

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

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    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

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  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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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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It’s Earth Day, Be a Super Hero for the Bay!

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  In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to encourage you to be a super hero for Morro Bay by taking the clean water pledge. The pledge asks you to do simple things at home and around town to help keep Morro Bay healthy.  Click here to take the pledge today, and be entered to win a stainless steel Estuary Program water bottle! 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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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 …

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How could climate change affect Morro Bay?

100-year flood map

  The Estuary Program recently developed a climate vulnerability assessment for our estuary, which analyzes the likelihood and severity of climate change effects and presents an adaptation action plan to address them. When considering the possible impacts from climate change, we consulted climate change models, historic data, and local experts to prioritize the possible impacts and our adaptation strategies. This blog post summarizes some of the conclusions from the effort. Temperature rise According to EPA analysis, average global temperatures are expected to increase by between 2°F and 11.5°F by the year 2100, depending on future carbon emissions levels. The impacts …

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Look Who’s Swimming in the Estuary Program Nature Center…Trout!

The steelhead trout eggs were transported to us in protective netting.

  If you’ve been to the Estuary Program Nature Center, you’ve probably seen our Saving Steelhead exhibit. Many visitors stop and watch, entranced, as the fish dart by. It’s important for us to share the steelhead’s story. Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a special kind of trout. While they are genetically identical to rainbow trout, their behavior sets them apart. Rainbow trout spend their entire lives in freshwater. Steelhead trout hatch in freshwater streams and then migrate to the ocean. They grow big at sea, before returning to the stream where they hatched to spawn. Steelhead are a sensitive species. They …

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The Morro Bay Estuary Poetry Contest Goes Wild

While monitoring eelgrass, our staff spotted this California sea hare under the water at Coleman beach.

  Our annual poetry contest opens on April 1, and we’re excited to announce a new twist on the contest’s theme. We will continue to accept haiku that focus on any and all aspects of the estuary—we still can’t resist the haiku’s history and its ability to preserve the moment and capture the beauty of nature. We’re also introducing a new contest category that asks writers to pen poems that focus on wildlife native to the estuary or the surrounding watershed. (See our complete contest rules, here.) We hope that this new contest category will give people a chance to learn …

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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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