Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
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 …

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Chorro Creek: home to steelhead and voracious non-native pikeminnow

Sacramento pikeminnow are a non-native voracious predator found in Chorro Creek. This pikeminnow is an adult that is about 20 inches long.

  Guest post by Ken Jarrett, Fisheries Biologist Ken Jarrett’s interest in fisheries biology began at an early age while fishing in the Sierras, the Central Valley, and in San Francisco Bay. He began his career in Alaska and has slowly worked his way south to California’s Central Coast. Although Ken works with many fish species, steelhead have captured his heart. He is currently working in several Central Coast watersheds including the Salinas River, Santa Rosa Creek, San Luis Obispo Creek, and Chorro Creek. In his spare time, you can find Ken playing with his two daughters or fishing for …

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Field Updates March 2018: Eelgrass Transplanting and Sediment Sampling

No, that’s not a grass skirt. That is 25 eelgrass rhizomes tied onto rebar, ready to be planted.

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 the progress that our staff and volunteers have made in our eelgrass work during March of 2018.  Eelgrass In the last few months, you might have seen our staff and volunteers in waders at Coleman Beach or trudging through the mud in the back bay during the last few months. They have been busy …

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State of the Bay 2017: Habitat Protection, Steelhead, and Birds

    Our State of the Bay 2017 report contains data that the Estuary Program and our partners have collected over the years. We release this report every three years to answer common questions about the health of Morro Bay and its watershed. Last week’s blog discussed eelgrass, sedimentation, and climate change. In this week’s blog, we address the indicator questions related to habitat protection, steelhead, and birds. Protecting Habitat for People and Wildlife Habitats are the natural environments where animals, plants, and other organisms live. The Estuary Program and its partners work to protect, enhance, and restore habitats to …

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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 …

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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 …

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Opportunities at the Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s Nature Center

  The Estuary Nature Center invites visitors to experience the beauty of the estuary and learn about protecting its sensitive habitats and wildlife. At the Nature Center, you can view aquariums of steelhead trout and eelgrass, and learn about the threats they face. You’ll see 3-D images of the estuary, learn about the watershed that supplies it with freshwater, and much more. Visitors can also enjoy the spectacular view and take advantage of the center’s binoculars to do some wildlife watching. To enhance visitors’ Nature Center experience, the Estuary Program is excited to continue our Nature Center Docent Program, which …

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