Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
MBNEP

Mutts for the Bay Dispensers Make an Impact

We show our thanks for each sponsor with a custom sticker on their dispenser. This dispenser at the Morro Creek Bridge is sponsored by "Jack" Thomas and the Little White Dog Society of Morro Bay. They may be our fluffiest group of sponsors to date!

  Estuary Program staff and volunteers work on a variety of projects that help the bay. Many people know about our work to help restore eelgrass to the estuary, our efforts to repair rural dirt roads to prevent sediment runoff, and our decades-long volunteer monitoring program that collects extensive data about water quality in our bay and creeks. Fewer people are familiar with the Estuary Program’s work to help dog owners put their pets’ waste in the trash, where it belongs. This is an important part of fulfilling the Estuary Program’s mission because keeping dog poo off the ground means …

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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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Field Updates January 2018

    Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and animals requires a lot of hard work in the field. At the Estuary Program, that often means spending time doing research and monitoring work out on the water. Read on to see what our staff and volunteers have been up to during the first month of 2018! Eelgrass Monitoring We started the new year by monitoring the eelgrass we transplanted in March and July of 2017.  With the help of Cal Poly, including graduate student Erin Aiello, we have been monitoring these plots regularly …

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2017 Accomplishments: Eelgrass Restoration Update

Tim, a Watershed Stewards Program member, plants seeds.

  If you have been following along with our blog, you know that eelgrass has drastically declined in Morro Bay since 2007, and that we’ve been working hard to address this issue. Our staff members have been collaborating with agencies, researchers, and volunteers to conduct extensive monitoring and research efforts that will help us better understand eelgrass growth and the conditions that might be impacting it. Read on to learn about our eelgrass restoration work and other eelgrass efforts that we took on in 2017.   Experimental eelgrass transplants and transplant monitoring In 2017, we put the knowledge we have …

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2017 Accomplishments: Collaborating for a Healthy Pennington Creek

Pennington Creek waterfall closeup

  The cold clear waters of Pennington Creek provide a home to many species, including our iconic steelhead. Pennington Creek is also home to the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) Escuela Ranch and the Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School. The Estuary Program works with these landowners and other partners to protect and enhance habitat in and around the creek for sensitive species like steelhead. During 2017, we collaborated to put past projects to good use and to complete groundwork for important upcoming projects. Helping the Waters Run Clear At Cal Poly’s Escuela Ranch, the university is training the next …

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2017 Accomplishments: Community Projects Funded

Western snowy plover. Photograph by Pacific Southwest Region Fish and Wildlife Service, via Flickr.

    Our 2017 Accomplishments blog series highlights some of the Estuary Program’s work during the past calendar year. Community Projects for 2017 Twice per year, the Estuary Program reviews proposals for community projects that benefit the Morro Bay estuary and watershed. Each successful application must address at least one of the goals of our management plan. Past community projects have addressed a wide range of issues, including bay-friendly and fire-safe gardening, rainwater harvesting, and estuarine-science education. All incoming applications must first pass a staff review before moving on to our advisory work groups, committees, and the Bay Foundation Board …

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Field Updates December 2017

We also spotted this crab in the eelgrass.

  Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and animals requires a lot of hard work in the field. Read on to see what our staff and volunteers have been up to during the month of December. We’re looking forward to another productive year of field work in 2018! Permanent Transects In 2005, with help from the Battelle Marine Sciences staff, we established four permanent transects for annual eelgrass monitoring in Morro Bay. These transects were chosen to represent different zones of the bay and capture differences between these zones. We added an additional …

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What are those snails in Morro Bay? Investigating the bubble snail boom

These are snail larvae in a sample taken from Morro Bay, illuminated in a microscope.

  Guest post by Jennifer Ruesink, a scientist and Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. Jennifer Ruesink has been a faculty member at the University of Washington, Seattle, since 1999. Her expertise is in the ecology of estuarine ecosystems, especially structure-forming species such as seagrass and oysters. For her sabbatical in 2017-2018, she is visiting as many estuaries as possible along the Northeast Pacific coast, starting in Washington, as far south as Baja California, and finally around to Alaska before coming back down the coast. All these estuaries contain the same species of eelgrass, and many have commercial oyster …

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Field Updates November 2017

Our Field Technician, Kelley, and two CalPoly student volunteers work on measuring blade length and taking photos.

    Fulfilling our mission to protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary for people and animals requires a lot of hard work in the field. Read on to see what our staff and volunteers have been up to during the month of November. For some people, the big November negative tides provide a great opportunity for going tide pooling or to surf a low tide break. For the Estuary Program, these low tides are the start of our busy fall and winter eelgrass monitoring season. Eelgrass Bed Condition Monitoring This is our third year of conducting an eelgrass survey …

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King Tides and Morro Bay: A Glimpse into the Future

King Tides high and low comparison at the Tidelands staircase in Morro Bay.

    Have you ever wondered what sea level rise might look like in the future? The naturally occurring King Tides, the highest tides of the year, could provide some insight into that question. They occur annually during the winter when the earth, moon, and sun are all aligned and the earth is closest to the sun. (The astronomical term that describes when the earth is closest to the sun is the “perihelion.”) King Tides push coastal boundaries by engulfing the bottoms of stairwells and raising the water level up to the very tops of piers. King Tides in Morro …

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