Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
national estuary program

Morro Bay Wildlife Spotlight: Bat Rays

Estuary Program Monitoring staff got a good view of this bat ray while monitoring eelgrass beds.

  Bat rays (Myliobatis californica) are a key predator along the coast of California and Oregon. They can grow to six feet wide and weigh as much as 200 pounds, though most rays are smaller than this. The largest ray caught off the coast of California was recorded at 181 pounds. These fish eat a variety of foods including mollusks (like abalone and clams), invertebrates (like crabs), and some smaller fishes. They dig up clams by flapping their pectoral fins, which look like wings, to create suction, and then rooting in the sand with their snouts. Rays crush the clams whole, …

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From Morro Bay to New Orleans, Estuary Programs Make a Difference

Marshland in Plaquemines Parish is disappearing quickly as waves and currents wash land away.

  This past week, Executive Director Lexie Bell and Communications & Outreach Coordinator Rachel Pass journeyed all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana. There, they met with staff from the 27 other National Estuary Programs across the country and toured the local Barataria-Terrebonne estuary. National connections Congress established the National Estuary Program in 1987 through the Clean Water Act. There are currently 28 estuaries in the country included in the non-regulatory program. Each of these estuary programs works to address critical water quality issues in their area. National Estuary Programs protect bays big and small. Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, …

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Help Morro Bay on World Oceans Day

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    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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Be a Citizen Scientist

This years King Tides combined with the higher sea levels experienced during El Nino covered the stairs at Tidelands park.

    If you are curious about the natural world, scientists need your help! Citizen science projects harness the power of interested people to gather data for use in important research. Many of these projects ask people to observe and document the plants, animals, or natural phenomena around them with a camera or smart phone, whenever they wish. Others require more specific training, or ask for in-person participation. Our own Monitoring program uses data gathered by citizen scientist volunteers and staff members to keep an eye on long-term trends in water quality, bacteria levels, and other factors that influence stream …

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