Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
water quality

2018 Volunteers of the Year

    The Morro Bay National Estuary Program, like many nonprofits, relies on volunteers who generously donate their time and expertise. Volunteers make up our governing board and committees, reach out to students at events and in classrooms, collect and analyze water samples, transplant eelgrass, and keep our Mutts for the Bay dog waste bag dispensers stocked and ready. Estuary Program volunteerism by the numbers During the past year: Volunteers spent 156 hours working to restore eelgrass to Morro Bay and another 27 hours on other restoration work in the watershed. 55 people volunteered through our Monitoring Program, spending 805 …

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Field Updates April and May 2018: Bioassessment Monitoring and New Team Members

Monitoring team works in the middle of the creek.

    Bioassessment Monitoring Each spring, the Estuary Program conducts bioassessment monitoring throughout the Morro Bay Watershed. Bioassessment monitoring is an important tool that allows us to assess the health of local streams to determine their value as fish habitat. This monitoring involves collecting macroinvertebrates, insects visible to the naked eye, and taking measurements of things like water depth and canopy cover that tell us about the health of the creek. Check out this blog post to learn more about what bioassessment monitoring tells us about the health of our local creeks. Our bioassessment season kicked off on Saturday, April …

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State of the Bay 2017: Bay and Creek Water Quality

    As a science-based organization, an important focus of the Estuary Program is to collect monitoring data that will inform our management decisions. As part of this process, we compile and analyze data every three years to create an environmental report card called the State of the Bay. Our 2017 report contains data that the Estuary Program and our partners have collected over the years. In this series of posts, we present some of the highlights from the State of the Bay 2017 report. This first post discusses water quality in the bay and local creeks. The second post …

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What Are Our Bugs Telling Us? Our Data is Here!

The Tricorythodes pictured here was collected from our local creeks. This small mayfly is popular with fish, but they swarm upon hatching, making conditions difficult for fly fishing.

  Our Monitoring Program and its dedicated corps of volunteers use various scientific methods to track the health of our waters. One tool in our arsenal is bioassessment monitoring, a detailed effort where we gather habitat data and collect macroinvertebrates or “macros,” bugs visible to the naked eye. Our 2016 Bioassessment Effort In April and May of this year, over 20 volunteers joined our staff in collecting habitat data and macro samples from eight sites on local creeks. Collectively, these volunteers put in over 100 hours of time to collect this data. At each site, they recorded over a thousand …

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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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Estuary Program Volunteers of the Year

Charles Payton, Monitoring Volunteer of the Year, monitors water quality at a local creek.

  We have the privilege of working with many volunteers who dedicate their time, exercise their expertise, and focus their energy on helping the Estuary Program. These volunteers fill essential roles. They are members of our governing board, they provide advice through our committees and working groups, they monitor the health of the bay and watershed, they stock our Mutt Mitt dispensers, and they act as docents in our Nature Center, among other roles. Every fall, we hold a volunteer appreciation party to thank everyone for their contributions. We also recognize two volunteers who have gone over and above in …

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Keeping it Clean – Our New Video “Clean Water, Great Life”

Morro Bay is a unique place that is dear to many of our hearts. We value it for different reasons—fun on the water, delicious seafood, our livelihood, or even its restful views. All of this is made possible by clean water. The work of the Estuary Program is to protect this special place for many generations to come. As part of this effort, the Estuary Program conducts monitoring activities throughout the bay and watershed to track long-term trends in water quality. One parameter we track regularly is the level of bacteria in the bay. Volunteers venture to eight sites each …

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