Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
native plants

Native Plant Series #5: Riparian

    This series of native plant blog posts has explored the different plants found throughout the Morro Bay watershed. A watershed is an area where freshwater creeks and streams flow from higher ground down towards the ocean. Riparian zone plants reach deep when streams run dry In the Morro Bay Watershed, some creeks and streams flow year round, and some don’t. Even though they’re not full of water, dry creek beds are still bordered by vegetation. This is due to the presence of groundwater, which is water that exists beneath Earth’s surface in soil pore spaces (the space between …

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Native Plant Series #2: Southern Coastal Scrub

    The Southern coastal scrub plant community is one of the most common plant communities found in our watershed. 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! Climatic conditions, soil type, topography, and other features determine what types of plants will grow in a particular region, and the coastal scrub plant community occurs on relatively dry soils in areas where a Mediterranean climate prevails. The Mediterranean climate exists along the Central Coast of California along with a handful …

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Native Plant Series #1: Pioneer Sand Dunes and Foredunes

This is our first exploration of a specific plant community found within the Morro Bay watershed. Today, we will learn about the pioneer dunes and foredunes communities located on the Morro Bay Sandspit. This area is probably the harshest environment for plants found in the Morro Bay watershed. Because of its direct exposure to the Pacific Ocean, the Sandspit is a very windy place: the constant salty, sandy wind coming off the ocean keeps plants at a low, small stature. Since sand does not hold water very well, these plants experience moisture conditions similar to a desert. Because of these …

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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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Photograph Friday: When Plants and Animals Swap Names

Hummingbird sage, salvia-spathacea.

  The protected waters of Morro Bay support a diverse range of plants and wildlife, as do the coastal habitats that surround the bay. In today’s Photograph Friday post, we’re celebrating that biodiversity in a fun way, by taking a peek at a selection of local plants and animals with interesting common names. Specifically, we’re focusing on plants that are named after animals and animals that are named for fruiting plants. Check them out below! See the bottom of the post for a giveaway opportunity. Find out how sea lemons taste and smell to predators.   Learn about sticky monkey flower. …

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June Field Updates

Wooly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum), one of the many native plants we saw on the field tour.

    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 are doing on the ground. A Busy Month We went out and got our new Monitoring Coordinator, Shane, up to speed on our intertidal eelgrass monitoring efforts. Shane joins Evan, our Field Technician, and Erin, a grad student at Cal Poly, to look at the density of eelgrass at Windy Cove.   We found a handful of what we believe are the egg collars of Moonsnails. …

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Your Bay-Friendly Fall Garden

  It feels like fall in Morro Bay. The air is cooler—especially at night, the monarchs are coming back, and we’ve even had a little rain  (with more forecast for this weekend!). While lower temperatures make many plants slow down, you can still use bay-friendly techniques to keep your garden active through the fall and winter. Plant natives in the fall Fall is a great time to plant California natives. While you can put most natives in the ground throughout the year, the California Native Plant Society recommends planting them in the fall or early winter so that they have …

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Give a Day for the Bay with Eco Rotary

Doreen rakes the path along the water’s edge. Photograph courtesy of Ruth Ann Angus.

  On Saturday, we headed down to Bayshore Bluffs Park to Give a Day for the Bay with our local Eco Rotary. Club members were ready to receive cleanup volunteers with a smile, a delicious spread of brunch items, and a storage shed full of tools for cleaning up the park. How could you resist? Volunteers were happy to get to work. They consulted with Eco Rotary Club members, gathered the tools they needed and were on their way. This Saturday, a dozen volunteers put in about 25 collective hours cleaning up the park, or as Eco Rotary Club President …

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