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.
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 Walters Creek during the spectacular Friday, February 17 storm. While they were out there, they saw rain sheet sideways across the valley and watched the creek rise a foot (from a safe distance away)!
Karissa and Carolyn spent much of February planning for an upcoming small-scale eelgrass restoration project. This is a combined effort with researchers from CalPoly, and—based on the favorable weather forecasts—it looks like we will be completing this next week! Staff spent time scouting out sites for the planting and testing different planting techniques.
We went out with Erin Aiello, CalPoly graduate student, on a boat at high tide to visit the restoration sites and check the water depths. Taking water depths at a variety of different tides will help us ensure that we are planting the eelgrass at the correct elevation in the bay.
While scouting out a potential restoration location at low tide, Karissa and Carolyn tested different eelgrass anchoring methods.
Stay tuned for more information about this restoration effort in future blog posts.
New staff and Volunteers
We are happy to introduce Kelley to our team as our Eelgrass Technician. Kelley will be working with the Estuary Program to support our eelgrass monitoring and restoration efforts. Kelley came to us through CalPoly, where she also works part time with Dr. Jennifer O’Leary, California Sea Grant Extension Specialist, doing fieldwork and data management.
We also conducted two volunteer trainings and welcomed two new volunteers to our creek water quality monitoring program.
Bioassessment volunteers needed
Are you interested in volunteering for the Estuary Program? We are currently looking for volunteers for our annual bioassessment surveys which will be held later this spring. For more information about these surveys and to sign up for the training, visit our bioassessment page: https://www.mbnep.org/bioassessment/.