Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
Blog Posts

Meet Sea Otter Savvy

Gena Bentall drives a boat during a sea otter study.

  This is an introductory post to our new blog series, Be Sea Otter Savvy, written by Gena Bentall, a sea otter biologist and Program Coordinator for Sea Otter Savvy. Future posts in this series will include tips on how to help sea otters thrive and information about sea otters’ behavior, biology, and their role in the estuary and ocean ecosystems. Why should we care about sea otters? Our news is filled with the dire predictions of climate change and daily reminders of national and global discord. Our daily lives focus on the challenges of providing for ourselves and our …

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Sea Slug of the Month: Morro Bay’s ‘Gateway Nudi,’ Opalescent Nudibranch, Guest Post by Robin Agarwal

Three Opalescent Nudibranchs (Hermissenda opalescens). Photograph courtesy of Robin Agarwal via Flickr Creative Commons License

    “Whoaaaa…what is THAT?” “It’s gorgeous, whatever it is.” “It’s moving!” “Dude, check this out!” “So BLUE!” “What IS it?” Music to a science educator’s ears, of course, thanks to the astonishing colors and reasonably viewable size of one of California’s most iconic sea slug species, the Opalescent Nudibranch (Hermissenda opalescens). Found throughout the Central California coast, these brightly-colored carnivores are often the first nudibranchs to astonish and delight the humans venturing into their intertidal world during seasonal low tides. Photograph of Opalescent nudibranch, (Hermissenda opalescens) taken in Monterey, California. Courtesy of Robin Agarwal, under Creative Commons license via …

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Photograph Friday: Red, White, and Blue

As 4th of July comes and goes let us take a moment to be thankful for our country. Maybe, go on a hike, take a trail that you haven’t done before. Enjoy the lush black sage found on Black Hill and the white wings of an egret as it soars above the bay. Take a kayak out to enjoy the crisp, cool, calm water of the bay. Red, White, and Blue of the Bay  In today’s post, we are celebrating independence day with nature’s own red, white and blue! Red This is an Indian paintbrush (Castilleja affinis) and even though …

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Mutts for Clean Water 2019 Photo Contest: A Dog’s Tale

The Estuary Program invites subject area experts to share their knowledge on topics important to the health of the Morro Bay estuary and watershed. Please enjoy the following guest blog post by Callie. Callie is a Boston terrier mix who is a self-taught expert in Scatology. She established her authority on the subject before her second birthday with the best-seller, To Poo is Canine, to Pick Up Divine. When Callie isn’t investigating droppings from other dogs and local wildlife, she enjoys long walks, playing fetch, holding two toys at once, and silently approving when her people pick up after her …

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The truth about sunscreen: Is mineral sunscreen really good for us and the environment?

This is part two of our sunscreen series, so if you missed the first part click here.  Is mineral sunscreen really a good replacement for chemical sunscreen? The answer is, kinda? So it’s true that mineral sunscreen is much better for you and the environment than chemical sunscreens. However, there is still a negative side to mineral sunscreen. Evelyn is shocked to find out her mineral sunscreen can have negative effects on the environment *gasp* it’s okay we convinced her to keep it. But, hold on! Don’t throw away all your mineral sunscreen just yet. You need to protect your …

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The truth about sunscreen: its effects on us and the environment

Summer is coming in hot! Iced tea, pool days, and movie nights are fast approaching. With all the excitement that comes with summer, you might not be thinking about the invention that allows our skin to survive the brutal rays of the sun—sunscreen. Whether you are a fan of old-school white goop or spray-on, most sunscreens are made out of the same basic ingredients. The main difference lies in how the active ingredients work to keep you from burning. There are two types of sunscreen, chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen, which is also known as physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen vs. …

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Field updates April & May 2019: Monitoring Eelgrass and Creek Health

Two members from the Watershed Stewards Program lay out eelgrass blades on a white board for counting and photographing.

    Fieldwork season is in full swing now for us here at the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, and we have been busy hiking around the creeks and estuary to continue monitoring our local watershed. In April and May, we monitored eelgrass and conducted bioassessment monitoring to help us see how healthy our creeks are. Eelgrass monitoring Eelgrass monitoring continues as usual when the tides are low enough to let us collect data. This past month, there was a good window spanning multiple days where we were able to monitor for a couple hours each day to check on …

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Document Morro Bay’s Biodiversity During Snapshot Cal Coast

    Most of California, and the entire California coast, is identified as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, called the California Floristic Province. Like the other Global Hotspots, this area has a high number of species that are endemic, meaning that they are native to this area and are found nowhere else. Every year, The California Academy of Sciences (CAS) asks people to document this extreme biodiversity through a bioblitz event called Snapshot Cal Coast. During the bioblitz, citizen scientists use iNaturalist to document all of the flora and fauna that they find in a specific coastal location. This year, Snapshot Cal Coast …

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Photograph Friday: Morro Bay Mystery Species Contest

Mystery species number 3

  Today, we bring you four photographs of species native to San Luis Obispo County. Do you know what they are? Share your guesses for a chance to win an Estuary Octopus mug!  Post your answer and tag us @mbestuary on Facebook or @MorroBayNEP on Instagram and Twitter. Use #MBmystery1, #MBmystery2, MBmystery3, and MBmystery4. We’ll be looking for your guesses through Wednesday, May 22. You will be entered into the drawing one time for each correct answer you submit. So, if you correctly identify all four species, you will be entered into the drawing four times.  The winner will be …

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Morro Bay Estuary Poetry Contest Winners 2019

  Spring is one of our favorite times of the year at the Estuary Program. The wildflowers are blooming, the days are long, and we get the chance to read a selection of poems crafted by talented writers in honor of the Morro Bay estuary. What more could we ask for in a season? This year, our Morro Bay Estuary Poetry contest asked writers to pen haiku about any aspect of the Morro Bay estuary that called to them as well as free verse poems about the history of Morro Bay. Local writers responded generously, sharing their love of the …

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