Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
Morro Bay National Estuary Program

Earth Day in Morro Bay 2019: Biodiversity and Blue Carbon

  Our choices, both big and small, affect the estuary At the Estuary Program, we work toward the health of the Morro Bay estuary for the benefit of people and wildlife every day. We complete big projects that have a correspondingly large impact, like our rural road restoration project that is projected to keep more than 12,200 tons of sediment from entering the estuary through 2027. We also make small day-to-day decisions, like choosing to stay on established trails when we conduct fieldwork or hike on our own, rather than cutting new ones. We don’t usually announce those small choices, …

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Get Ready for Clean Boating on Morro Bay

  With the spring winds whipping along the Embarcadero and whitecaps on the bay, summer might seem far away. But, in just a couple of months, school will let out and prime boating season will begin. Helping boaters keep our bay clean This fall, the Morro Bay Harbor Department distributed kits that included spill prevention, containment, and response materials to all 27 boat-docking stations along Morro Bay’s shoreline. These kits make it easier for boaters to avoid spilling oil and other hazardous materials into the estuary. They also provide instructions, personal protection equipment, and cleanup materials that enable boaters and …

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Get Inspired by History: Morro Bay Estuary Poetry Contest 2019

A view of Morro Rock over a long stretch of dunes on the sandspit.

Every year, we hold a poetry contest that asks writers to focus on Morro Bay. Our haiku category theme is always the Morro Bay estuary, but our free verse theme changes each year. This year, we are asking writers to focus on local history. Writers could choose to focus on the geological forces that carved the bay, formed the sandspit, and shaped Morro Rock. Maybe the many thousands of years of annual bird migrations will spark their imaginations. Maybe the 10,000 years or more of human habitation along the estuary’s shores and across watershed will call to them. They might …

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The business of recycling: How international policy has changed what you can recycle at the curb in California

Plastic waste is compacted and bound together for transport.

  POP QUIZ!   Which of these items are recyclable? Paper coffee cups Styrofoam plates, cups, and bowls Receipts Find the answer at the end of the blog.   Did you struggle a little? If you did, that’s okay! It’s really hard to know what is recyclable, especially if you don’t know where to look. The guidelines change from county to county—even neighboring Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties differ in what they accept—and even more so from state to state. Why recycling guidelines aren’t standardized A lot of this variation is due to the fact that there are …

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Film: Community makes history in Of Marshes and Morros

We'll help keep beautiful Windy Cove, pictured above, and the Morro Bay State Park Marina clean.

In March of 2017, Of Marshes and Morros debuted at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival to a full house. There, it earned accolades from the crowd and won the award for Best Documentary Short. In April of the same year, officials chose the film from thousands of entries to show live at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festivals where it won both Best Documentary Short and an additional award for Best Cinematography. The documentary is very close to our hearts at the Estuary Program because it tells how the community banded together to protect and restore the Morro Bay …

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Best spring hikes around the Morro Bay estuary

  This year, the hills and valleys that surround the Morro Bay estuary are alive with green grasses and golden poppies just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. If you take a closer look, you’ll also see the deep pinks and purples of hummingbird sage, the dawn-sky blue and light purple hues of wild hyacinth, and the bright colors of many more wildflowers. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite springtime hikes in the Morro Bay watershed. Family-friendly hikes We’re lucky to have quite a few hikes for the whole family around Morro Bay. Here are a few that will …

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The Red-Throated Loon and Pacific Wildlife Care

We found this injured bird, which we later discovered was a red-throated loon, lying injured on the wet sand of Morro Strand Beach.

    Guest post by Charlotte Ross Charlotte Ross is a third-year journalism student at Cal Poly. In addition to her major, she is working toward dual minors, one in Spanish and the other in Biology with a concentration in Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation. Charlotte would like to pursue a career in travel and wildlife reporting so that she can surround herself in nature and see the beauty of the world while writing about it. Outside of work and school, she likes spending time at the beach, hiking, traveling, playing with her dog or chameleon, and watching the sunset in …

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Field Updates February 2019: Wet weather, eelgrass restoration, and creek monitoring

A picture from the bridge at our monitoring site on Canet Road, overlooking Chorro Creek. What a difference a week and some good rain storms will do!

    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 during this wet weather. Eelgrass February eelgrass restoration details This past month, we have been busy taking advantage of some of the year’s lowest tides to replant eelgrass throughout the estuary. The weather didn’t want to …

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Photograph Friday: Morro Baycam Captures Rainbow, Moonset, and Noctilucent Cloud

A rainbow arches over Morro Rock on a February morning.

    This Photograph Friday, we bring you some of our favorite photographs from this winter. Our Baycam captured boats and birds passing by, part of the lighted boat parade, a rainbow, and a fascinating weather phenomenon called a noctilucent cloud. (Scroll to the bottom of the post to watch a timelapse video that includes a moonset and the noctilucent cloud!) Boats Sunrise and Sunset Rain Cloud patterns Weather phenomena   Timelapse video Watch the timelapse video below to see the moon set, the sun rise, the afternoon roll by, and a rare noctilucent cloud flash across the sky just …

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Director’s Desk: #IHeartEstuaries 2019 in Morro Bay

Locals and visitors alike enjoy walking along the estuary at sunset.

    This week we are celebrating #IHeartEstuaries to highlight the value that estuaries play in our lives. How do you value our very own estuary, Morro Bay? Maybe you cherish early morning bird walks along the shore, evening paddles as the tide shifts underneath your oar, or the satisfaction of landing a fish off the T-pier. These personal moments are precious and palpable and drive much of our local community’s support for a clean and healthy bay. We also think beyond our watershed here at the Estuary Program—how important is our bay to our whole community? To our state …

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