Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
morro bay national estuary program

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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Morro Bay Wildlife Spotlight: Mystery Species Revealed

Mystery species number 1

  In last week’s post, we shared photographs of four species native to San Luis Obispo County and asked you to identify them. Today’s post reveals all four mystery species and shares information about each one. Wildlife Spotlight: Mystery species #1 Common salp (Salpa fusiformis) These ethereal-looking creatures are sometimes mistaken for jellyfish, but they are much more complex. In fact, they are more closely related to humans than they are to jellies. This is because, as larvae, salps have a simple backbone called a notochord, which is composed of a tissue similar to cartilage. Though the notochord all but …

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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 Wildlife Spotlight: Western Pond Turtle

Three western pond turtles sunbathe at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. Photograph by Jerry Kirkhart, via Flickr Creative Commons License.

  Morro Bay Wildlife Spotlight Guest Post by Tess Badrigian Tess is a Morro Bay native who has always loved the estuary and the wildlife that call it home. She studies biology and Geographic System Information at Cuesta College. After she receives her Associate Degree, Tess plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Protection. Tess also enjoys writing, kayaking, and volunteering in the local community. Western pond turtles: habitat and range If you want to see a western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata), you must be light on your feet. If they sense something strange, they will …

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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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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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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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