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Native Plant Series #5: Riparian

    This series of native plant blog posts has explored the different plants found throughout the Morro Bay watershed. A watershed is an area where freshwater creeks and streams flow from higher ground down towards the ocean. Riparian zone plants reach deep when streams run dry In the Morro Bay Watershed, some creeks and streams flow year round, and some don’t. Even though they’re not full of water, dry creek beds are still bordered by vegetation. This is due to the presence of groundwater, which is water that exists beneath Earth’s surface in soil pore spaces (the space between …

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Native Plant Series #4: Coast Live Oak Woodlands

    Oak woodlands are so characteristic and unique to our state that many think the plant community should be declared California’s state vegetation type. Not sure what a plant community is? Take a look at our introductory post to the Morro Bay Native Plant Series, an exploration of our watershed’s diverse native flora! The term “woodland” is used instead of “forest” because the canopies in a woodland rarely overlap, allowing for more space and sunlight between trees. Woodlands also typically occur on drier soils and at lower elevations than forests. While oak woodlands occur in other states, most of …

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Native Plant Series #3: Maritime and Mixed Chaparral

    Covering almost nine percent of the state, chaparral is one of the most widespread plant communities in California. Not sure what a plant community is? Take a look at our introductory post to the Morro Bay Native Plant Series, an exploration of our watershed’s diverse native flora! In the Morro Bay watershed, we see chaparral plant communities occurring in close association with the southern coastal scrub community and on higher, drier slopes. Since they are typically further inland from the immediate coast, chaparral plants experience greater temperature fluctuations (hotter summers and cooler winters) than coastal scrub plants, but …

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Native Plant Series #2: Southern Coastal Scrub

    The Southern coastal scrub plant community is one of the most common plant communities found in our watershed. Not sure what a plant community is? Take a look at our introductory post to the Morro Bay Native Plant Series, an exploration of our watershed’s diverse native flora! Climatic conditions, soil type, topography, and other features determine what types of plants will grow in a particular region, and the coastal scrub plant community occurs on relatively dry soils in areas where a Mediterranean climate prevails. The Mediterranean climate exists along the Central Coast of California along with a handful …

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Native Plant Series #1: Pioneer Sand Dunes and Foredunes

This is our first exploration of a specific plant community found within the Morro Bay watershed. Today, we will learn about the pioneer dunes and foredunes communities located on the Morro Bay Sandspit. This area is probably the harshest environment for plants found in the Morro Bay watershed. Because of its direct exposure to the Pacific Ocean, the Sandspit is a very windy place: the constant salty, sandy wind coming off the ocean keeps plants at a low, small stature. Since sand does not hold water very well, these plants experience moisture conditions similar to a desert. Because of these …

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The Morro Bay Watershed Native Plant Series

    The Morro Bay watershed is one of the most botanically diverse regions in California. This diversity can be traced back to the ice ages as California’s coastline receded and advanced over thousands of years, and the tectonic plates settled into their current position. Many communities and species of plants have evolved here as a result of such active geologic change. These plant communities have continued to exist and thrive because San Luis Obispo County still resembles its natural state, despite increasing human habitation and land use development. Because the natural areas of Morro Bay have been so well …

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Photo Friday: California Natives Benefit Pollinators

  We depend on pollinators like bees, birds, and butterflies. They subsist on nectar and pollen and, in turn, help about 75% of the world’s plants and crops produce fruits and seeds. Many of these plants are cultivated to provide food for people. Many native California plants also rely on pollinators in order to reproduce. The fruits and seeds that are created in the process provide necessary sustenance for our native wildlife. (Some animals even eat the fruit of poison oak!) Winter is a perfect time to add California native plants to your garden. The higher rainfall amounts that we …

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Photograph Friday: When Plants and Animals Swap Names

Hummingbird sage, salvia-spathacea.

  The protected waters of Morro Bay support a diverse range of plants and wildlife, as do the coastal habitats that surround the bay. In today’s Photograph Friday post, we’re celebrating that biodiversity in a fun way, by taking a peek at a selection of local plants and animals with interesting common names. Specifically, we’re focusing on plants that are named after animals and animals that are named for fruiting plants. Check them out below! See the bottom of the post for a giveaway opportunity. Find out how sea lemons taste and smell to predators.   Learn about sticky monkey flower. …

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Declare your independence from invasive plants!

Independence Day is less than 10 days away, and there are many traditional ways to celebrate. You might barbecue, take a picnic to the beach, head to Morro Bay’s Family Funday, watch a fireworks display, or just spend time with family and friends. This year, we’re asking you to add a new bay-friendly tradition to your day by declaring your independence from invasive plants. Invasive plants are non-native species that can quickly spread out of control, taking over the habitat of native plants. When this happens, local ecosystems are often damaged and degraded. According to the California Invasive Plant Council, …

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Bay-Friendly Gardening

SAVE WATER! RESTORE HABITAT! FEED YOUR PLANTS! I WANT NATIVE PLANTS! I WANT TO LEARN MORE! Become a Bay-Friendly gardener and steward of our beautiful estuary! HOW YOU CAN GARDEN WISELY AND WHY YOU SHOULD As citizens living in the Morro Bay watershed, everything we do impacts the bay. Our yards and gardens are great places to connect with nature, and it is important to remember that how we manage these spaces impacts the surrounding habitat and bay. There are many things you can do that lessen your negative impact and actually improve the health of the bay. It turns …

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