Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
central coast

Sea Slug of the Month – Yellow Blobs of Awesomeness, Guest Post by Robin Agarwal

    Yellow Blobs of Awesomeness: Sea Goddesses, Sea Lemons and That One with the Tentacles Guest post by Robin Agarwal   Humans like sea slugs. They’re harmless to humans, but voracious predators if you’re a hydroid or a sponge. They come in a variety of cool shapes and sizes, and have fascinating life histories that allow one to throw around words like ‘nudi’ and ‘hermaphrodite’ with impunity in mixed company. But best of all, nudibranchs appeal mightily to humans’ attraction to pattern and color. We cannot resist taking a closer look at something bright and colorful as we explore …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

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

From the Director’s Desk: Finding Inspiration on Morro Bay

Lexie Bell, Executive Director of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program.

    From the Director’s Desk is a twice-yearly blog series, written by Executive Director Lexie Bell. Lexie plans and directs the program’s work, and collaborates with the Estuary Program’s many partners to expand our collective success in the watershed.  Lexie first began working in Morro Bay as a graduate student at the UC Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Her graduate work analyzed the economic impact of visitors’ perceptions of environmental quality in Morro Bay. In addition to her Master’s degree, Lexie graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology. …

Continue Reading

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 …

Continue Reading

Photo Friday: Watching the Rain

Chorro Creek at Canet Road was at 6 feet on Thursday, January 19.

  This winter has been exciting for weather watchers across California. The Morro Bay watershed received almost four inches of rain in the month of December, and January has started out wet, too. We are currently experiencing the effects of an atmospheric river—a long, narrow section of the atmosphere that transports a large amount of moisture. Local weather forecasts predict that Sunday, January 22, will be the biggest storm yet. We’ve been keeping an eye on the sky and paying close attention to the streams that are transporting all of this precipitation to the estuary. Below, you’ll find images of the …

Continue Reading

Fun Ways to Explore Morro Bay on Memorial Day

A beautiful view of the estuary channels taken from one of the many hiking trails above South Bay Boulevard in the upper reaches of Morro Bay State Park.

  Whether you’re a Central Coast local who’s staying home this holiday weekend, or a visitor coming from the valley or further out of town, Morro Bay offers a host of fun outdoor activities. Here are some of our favorite ways to explore the bay and surrounding watershed. Go birding Bring your scope or binoculars and visit one of the area’s numerous birding spots. The Elfin Forest in Los Osos offers the chance to see species that thrive in the Coastal Dune Scrub and a variety of other local habitat types. You can also head down to the estuary overlook to …

Continue Reading

Clean Water, Great Life: Creek Water Quality Update

  The Morro Bay watershed, the area of land that drains into the estuary, is a special place. Our watershed’s creeks provide valuable habitat to aquatic life, including iconic steelhead. These fish are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater, such as our watershed creeks, and then venture out to the ocean. After several years in the ocean, they return to the creeks where they were born to spawn and continue the life cycle.   Here on the Central Coast, we are host to a distinct population of steelhead known as the South Central California Coast Steelhead.   The formerly …

Continue Reading