Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
south central California coast steelhead

Bioassessment Survey Results 2019: Tracking the Health of Local Creeks

Two volunteers wear waders and dark red plaid shirts. The one on the left holds an algae-covered rock that is about 12 inches long. The volunteer on the right uses a red ruler to measure the width of the rock. The data that they collect will be used to calculate the overall bioassessment survey results for the year.

  What we learn from bioassessment survey results One of the goals of the Estuary Program is to monitor the bay and the lands that surround it to better understand conditions and how they are changing over time. As part of this effort, the Estuary Program conducts spring bioassessment surveys. This data allow us to assess the health of our creeks and determine if they support sensitive aquatic life. What we collect during bioassessment surveys Each spring, staff and volunteers head out to local creeks to collect habitat measurements such as the depth of the water, the size of the …

Continue Reading

Look Who’s Swimming in the Estuary Program Nature Center…Trout!

The steelhead trout eggs were transported to us in protective netting.

  If you’ve been to the Estuary Program Nature Center, you’ve probably seen our Saving Steelhead exhibit. Many visitors stop and watch, entranced, as the fish dart by. It’s important for us to share the steelhead’s story. Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a special kind of trout. While they are genetically identical to rainbow trout, their behavior sets them apart. Rainbow trout spend their entire lives in freshwater. Steelhead trout hatch in freshwater streams and then migrate to the ocean. They grow big at sea, before returning to the stream where they hatched to spawn. Steelhead are a sensitive species. They …

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