Eelgrass in Morro Bay grows at a range of intertidal and subtidal depths throughout the estuary. Intertidal areas are exposed at high tide, while subtidal locations are always under water. Over the last few years, the Estuary Program has focused on transplanting eelgrass at intertidal locations. Focusing on shallower intertidal locations has been ideal for getting access to the mudflats on foot, and has allowed us to maximize our volunteer support. (Thank you, volunteers!) This spring, we are excited to have additional funding to expand our planting efforts to subtidal locations, too, as many intertidal areas off the main tidal channel in the estuary are now growing strong with eelgrass (hooray!).
Subtidal Eelgrass Plantings
With support from Tenera Environmental, we were able to plant eelgrass in deeper areas of the forebay and midbay using scuba gear. Tenera staff used planting methods similar to those used in our earlier intertidal plantings. In three transplant sites, they anchored eelgrass with garden stakes, rebar pieces, and bamboo pieces to test the success of different anchoring techniques while using scuba.
2020 Eelgrass Restoration Monitoring
This year, we planted 3,000 eelgrass plants across ten subtidal and intertidal sites. So far, all of our sites look pretty good. We will report again on how both the intertidal and subtidal plantings are doing in a future blog post. Please stay tuned!
With more eelgrass growing in the bay, it has been great to hear about community members seeing leopard sharks, bat rays, and other wildlife finding home in the new eelgrass patches.
Estuary Program staff found this nudibranch in one of the intertidal restoration plots planted this past spring.
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Help us protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary!
- Donate to the Estuary Program today and support our work in the field, the lab, and beyond.
The Estuary Program is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We depend on funding from grants and generous donors to continue our work.
- Support us by purchasing estuary-themed gear from ESTERO. This locally owned and operated company donates 20% of proceeds from its Estuary clothing line and 100% of Estuary decal proceeds to the Estuary Program. Thank you, ESTERO!
- Purchase items from the the Estuary Program’s store on Zazzle. Zazzle prints and ships your items, and the Estuary Program receives 10% of the proceeds. Choose from mugs, hats, t-shirts, and even fanny packs (they’re back!) with our fun Estuary Octopus design, our classic Estuary Program logo, or our Mutts for the Bay logo.