Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
Blog

Morro Bay National Estuary

Local painters celebrate the Central Coast and give back to Morro Bay

Bernie Kurtz's painting, Morro Bay Estuary, was inspired by the view of the sun reflecting off the water and backlighting the brush. She painted it at the corner of Main St. and South Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay.

  California’s Central Coast is full of beauty. Splashing and crashing back and forth, waves wear down rock formations along waterlines. Pelicans fly low, their wings still, gliding gracefully in line. Silvery morning light reflects off the back bay, illuminating the undersides of leaves and glowing through fog. The estuary channels snake through the salt marsh, appearing deep brown at low tide and shining white or blue when the water is high. The fiery red tips of pickleweed plants contrast with the cool green that surrounds them. A group of local artists called San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment (S.L.O.P.E.) …

Continue Reading

Factors That Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay #4: Sediment and Light Part 2

Erin Aiello, guest author. Photograph courtesy of Kyle Nessen. Light and soil chemistry study

In the first two blog posts of the Factors that Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay series, we learned that there are many factors that influence eelgrass growth in estuaries. In this two-part post, PhD candidate Erin Aiello explores the importance of light levels and sediment properties and how they change across the bay. This is the second half of the post; read the first half here. Erin Aiello, Guest Author Erin Aiello is a native of the central coast, having grown up in Cambria. She spent most of her childhood running barefoot through pine forests, which instilled in her an undying …

Continue Reading

Factors that Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay #3: Sediment & Light Differences Part 1

The illustration above shows hands holding sand on the left and clay on the right.

  In the first two blog posts of the Factors that Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay series, we learned that there are many factors that influence eelgrass growth in estuaries. In this two-part post, PhD candidate Erin Aiello explores the importance of light and sediment properties and how they change across the bay. Erin Aiello, Guest Author Erin Aiello is a native of the central coast, having grown up in Cambria. She spent most of her childhood running barefoot through pine forests, which instilled in her an undying love of nature. Erin received her BS and MS degrees in …

Continue Reading

Field Updates December 2018: Eelgrass, Wildlife Sightings, Creeks, and Rainfall Totals

Watershed Stewards Program members Melia and Doug work on counting the number of eelgrass shoots within a 0.5m by 0.5m area.

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.  Eelgrass monitoring Each fall, we monitor eelgrass on our permanent transects. These transects are sample areas across the bay where eelgrass has grown historically. We chose the specific locations of the transects to represent different zones in the …

Continue Reading

Factors That Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay #2: Biological Conditions and Human Factors

    There are a variety of physical, biological, and direct human factors that affect eelgrass growth in estuaries. We have partnered with researchers at Cal Poly and Cuesta College to better understand these conditions in Morro Bay. This blog series, Factors that Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay, highlights our partners’ research. This second post will introduce you to the biological conditions and human factors that can impact eelgrass in our estuary. You can find the first post on physical conditions that affect eelgrass here.   Biological conditions Disturbance caused by crabs Crabs can disturb eelgrass blades by clipping them. However, …

Continue Reading

Factors That Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay #1: Physical Conditions

    There are a variety of physical, biological, and direct human factors that affect eelgrass growth in estuaries. We have partnered with researchers at Cal Poly and Cuesta College to better understand these conditions in Morro Bay. This blog series, Factors that Affect Eelgrass Growth in Morro Bay, highlights our partners’ research. This first post will introduce you to the physical conditions that can impact eelgrass in our estuary. Physical conditions that affect eelgrass growth Turbidity Eelgrass needs sufficient light to grow. Turbidity (a measurement of the cloudiness of water) can reduce the amount of light that is able …

Continue Reading

Preview Sea Level Rise with King Tides in Morro Bay

    The highest tides of the year are on their way. These tides, commonly called King Tides, often encroach on infrastructure along California’s coast. They submerge stairways to the beach, overwhelm boardwalks, surge into storm-drain systems, flood roads, and even crash against the windows of waterfront buildings. Read on to see what causes these tides, how they affect Morro Bay, why they matter, and what you can do to help. (Read all the way through to find info on our Morro Bay King Tides Photo Contest.) What causes King Tides These exceptionally high tides occur each winter when: Earth …

Continue Reading

Field Updates November 2018: Eelgrass Monitoring and Rainfall Totals

    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. Eelgrass Monitoring In November, we went out and checked on all of our 2018 eelgrass restoration plots, as well as some planted in 2017. While we were out monitoring, we noticed lots of new patches of …

Continue Reading

Photograph Friday: Elfin Forest

    The El Moro Elfin Forest is full of surprises. Although it lies just on the edge of a neighborhood, near a school, and close to busy South Bay Boulevard, it feels a world apart. The winding boardwalk path brings you to lookout points high above the estuary and salt marsh and then pulls you deep under the cover of pygmy live oaks in Rose’s Grove. And, though the preserve covers only 90 acres, it boasts eight distinct habitat types. (You can read about some of these distinct plant communities in our Native Plant blog series.) Each season brings new …

Continue Reading

Thankful in Morro Bay, 2018

Drone photograph of the Morro Bay estuary. Courtesy of Nic Stover, StoverPhoto.

  At the Estuary Program, we are grateful to have the opportunity to work collaboratively for the health of the Morro Bay estuary, its watershed, the wildlife that depend on it, and the people who love it. We are thankful for the many citizens, landowners, agencies, and organizations who make this work possible by funding, advising, volunteering, and otherwise participating in projects that benefit the bay. We asked local business owners, volunteers, and artists to share what they are thankful for in and around the Morro Bay estuary. Read on to see the many ways that the bay has touched …

Continue Reading