Nov 09, 2018

Field Updates October 2018: bioassessment scouting, Pismo Preserve, sharing data, and getting ready for rain



Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and wildlife requires a lot of hard work in the field. At the Estuary Program, that often entails doing research, restoration, and monitoring work out on the estuary and along the creeks that feed into it. Read on to see what we’ve been up to during the past month.

Scouting a new bioassessment site on Camp SLO

Monitoring Coordinators Tim and Karissa ventured out to upper Chorro Creek, on Camp SLO property, to scout out new locations for conducting bioassessment surveys.

This site would help tell us about the quality of creek water and habitat in the upper portions of the watershed.


Staff field trip to Pismo Preserve

Our office had the opportunity to spend a few hours at the Pismo Preserve, a 900-acre preserve owned by one of our local partners, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo.

Estuary Program staff members hike a trail on the steep hillside.
Estuary Program staff hiked to two different project sites in the Pismo Preserve, including a restored wetland and a footbridge.

We enjoyed getting to learn about their plans for restoration and conservation projects on the preserve and how they are incorporating recreation into the land. Access to the preserve has been limited since the summer due to construction.

The Pismo Preserve offers spectacular views.
The Pismo Preserve offers spectacular views of the ocean.

Monitoring data entry, analysis, and reporting

We are still working on data entry and reporting. We recently completed the 2017 Eelgrass Monitoring Report, which is available in our online library.

Estuary Program staff and partners planting eelgrass shoots within designated one-meter squared plots, during low tide. Our 2017 Eelgrass Report details this and other eelgrass transplanting efforts

We also put the final touches on some additional reports, including updates on bay and creek health.


As part of our efforts to ensure we are collecting high quality data, we participate in a USGS Sediment Lab Quality Assurance program. This is a single-blind quality assurance study, where we are sent samples of unknown sediment concentration. We must process them to determine the amount of sediment in them, which USGS already knows. If our data is accurate, it will match the USGS numbers. This test gives us an opportunity to verify that our lab protocols, techniques, supplies, and equipment are not introducing error to our sediment analysis process.

Staff spent time working on these samples in this month, while also getting equipment ready for winter sediment monitoring. This process helps us understand how much sediment enters our creeks and flows to the bay during storm events.

Our Monitoring Coordinator, Karissa, makes sure the sediment bottles in our automated creek sampler are ready to go to sample the water rushing down a local creek during last winter’s storms.

Help us protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary!

Thank you for your support!