Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
watershed

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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Photograph Friday: Predators and Prey Around Morro Bay

A coyote stands, alert, in a field at El Chorro Regional Park.

    The Morro Bay estuary and watershed are home to many species of plants and animals. The ability of this small geographic area to support such biodiversity is part of what makes it special. The animals around Morro Bay form complex food webs in which some species are both predator and prey. The following images give a glimpse into these relationships.         If you have taken photographs that illustrate predator and prey relationships in or around the Morro Bay estuary, we’d love to see them! Post them to our Facebook page, tag us on Instagram, or email …

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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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2017 Accomplishments: Collaborating for a Healthy Pennington Creek

Pennington Creek waterfall closeup

  The cold clear waters of Pennington Creek provide a home to many species, including our iconic steelhead. Pennington Creek is also home to the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) Escuela Ranch and the Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School. The Estuary Program works with these landowners and other partners to protect and enhance habitat in and around the creek for sensitive species like steelhead. During 2017, we collaborated to put past projects to good use and to complete groundwork for important upcoming projects. Helping the Waters Run Clear At Cal Poly’s Escuela Ranch, the university is training the next …

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Field Updates May 2017: Bioassessment Surveys

Just three of our twenty-one great volunteers.

    As you know, 2017 has been a little rainy. Since the start of the 2017 water year, the county rain gauge at Camp SLO received 33.29″ of rain. This exciting water year has so far kept our staff busy collecting sediment samples, doing site checks to see if our equipment was still there and anxiously waiting for flows to subside to levels safe enough to monitor. This has also been enough rain to keep more sites wetted enough to conduct bioassessment surveys on. After a few years of only conducting about 5–7 surveys, for 2017 we had 12 …

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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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Photograph Friday: Four Views from the Morro Bay Watershed

    Morro Bay  is a beautiful place and a valuable resource. This week, we want to share four photographs with you—all of them taken within the month. Each picture shows a different view from the watershed. Please enjoy these photographs, and feel free to send us your own images of this beautiful place. We’d love to feature them in a future blog post or on our website.             So many different views. So many ways to help protect and preserve Morro Bay for future generations. Subscribe to get the Estuary Program’s blog delivered to your inbox each week!  Donate …

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Learn about the Morro Bay estuary with our staff

A group of students note the plants and animals they've seen on a walk through the elfin forest.

  With the start of the new school year just around the bend, it’s an exciting time for teachers and students alike. Estuary Program staff are excited about the school year, too. Education and outreach have always been an essential part of our mission, and our staff members work routinely with students and other interested groups to teach them about our bay and watershed. Recently, we have worked with a wide range of interested parties including college students from both Cal Poly and UCSB who are studying science, a group of girl scouts who traveled across the county to see …

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