Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
rain

Photograph Friday: drought and big storms around the Morro Bay estuary

In the heavy rains of March 2018, the willows and other plants in the restored flood plain at Twin Bridges along with the wide expanse of salt marsh at the waters edge gave the rushing runoff a place to slow down and sink in. Without these natural spaces, flood waters continue on toward the bay in full force and the possibility of increased erosion and damage to infrastructure rises.

    Today, we’re sharing photos that depict drought and large storms, two extremes that are expected to occur more frequently on California’s central coast due to climate change. Historic drought The 2021 water year, which began on October 1, 2020, has been historically dry. The California Department of Water Resources expressed concern about the dry winter conditions back in January 2021. In his Weather Watch column, John Lindsey tackled the future of drought across the state in June 2021, and the Central Coast’s quick dive from a state of Severe Drought to Extreme Drought in July 2021. Big storms …

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Field Updates January 2021: Wildlife, Rainfall, and Flow Monitoring

A San Diego Dorid in eelgrass.

    The Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s fieldwork has been deemed an essential service by the County of San Luis Obispo. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, we are not working with volunteers at this time and our field staff are following updated monitoring protocols. We look forward to working with volunteers and other community members again as soon as it is safe for us to do so. Thank you, readers, for staying engaged and supporting the Estuary Program’s work during this difficult time.  What’s Living in the Eelgrass? Estuary Program staff have continued to monitor eelgrass into January 2021, …

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Morro Bay Watershed Native Plant Series: 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! Mediterranean climate 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 …

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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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Photograph Friday: Spring Rain in Morro Bay

At the Estuary Program office, we are always excited to see the rain come down. When enough rain falls, creeks flow at adequate levels, giving fish and other aquatic wildlife a better chance to survive and thrive. On the other hand, rain can wash trash, sediment, and other substances into storm drains, creeks, and out into the bay. It’s important to make sure that we dispose of trash, pet waste, debris, and chemicals properly. so that they can’t catch a ride into our waterways. Today, we are sharing some of our favorite pictures of the most recent storm. If you …

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Join the Morro Bay Rain Gauge Network

In the photograph above, sediment erodes from a dirt road during a rainstorm. This sediment can enter streams and end up in the bay.

    Rain is in the forecast, which makes it a perfect time to debut our Rain Gauge Network. This new webpage will display rainfall data from the area surrounding Morro Bay and beyond. Now, we need you to join the network and help us gather that data. Why track rainfall? All precipitation that falls within the Morro Bay watershed can eventually make its way into the estuary through creeks and storm drains. This video shows runoff from roofs, streets, parking lots, etc. entering Morro Bay through a storm drain near the Estuary Program office. Runoff can contain sediment, bacteria, …

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Field Updates February 2017

Carolyn does a test planting using bamboo garden stakes as an anchor and twine to mimic 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 February. Sediment monitoring February was a quieter month for sediment monitoring, compared to January. We monitored two storms on Walters Creek in February, and we spent plenty of time processing sample bottles at our lab at Cuesta College, trying to empty them for future rounds of monitoring. Karissa went out with Catie, our Communications and Outreach Intern, to pick up bottles from …

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What to Read to Keep Up on the Weather

  Rainfall totals impact the estuary. Lack of rainfall increases the salt content in bay, since less fresh water is flowing into it. Large storms send an influx of fresh water down streams, decreasing salinity levels and sending sediment out to the bay. Because of this, we keep an eye on the weather and its impact on the estuary. Sometimes, that means heading out during a break in the storm to check sediment monitoring equipment, like the two staff members below just did.   If you don’t have monitoring equipment to check on, we recommend staying inside this weekend. If you …

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Stormwater Runoff and Morro Bay

We’ve had a lot of opportunity lately to watch the rain come down. After it hits the ground, though, where does it go? Stormwater sometimes runs down a gutter before flowing into the street. It joins water that is running off other streets and sidewalks, and makes its way into a storm drain like this one. It picks up natural debris, like leaves and sticks, as well as anything else in its path. That water eventually drains out into Morro Bay. To keep yourself safe from fast-flowing water and higher bacteria levels, it’s a good idea to stay out of the …

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January Field Updates, 2017

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 January. 2017 started off with an exciting series of storms. On January 4, the Morro Bay watershed received an impressive 3.84 inches of rain within a 24-hour period. Our staff went out to check on different creek sites and discovered that Chorro Creek rose more than 9 feet, overtopping a county bridge on Canet Road. This is the first time that has …

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