In 1995 the Morro Bay Estuary gained National Estuary status and this year will be celebrating 20 years as a preservation site. Rachel Pass, the communications and outreach coordinator for the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, said that the team is very excited to have reached this milestone and has plans to celebrate with the community throughout the year.
“We have big plans for our 20th anniversary year,” Pass said. “One project we’re really excited about is our Bay Story Videos. Talented local filmmakers Simo Nylander and Tom Wilmer are interviewing over 20 residents who’ve lived near, worked on, played in, and helped to protect Morro Bay. We’re incredibly excited to share their stories with you. They’ll be broadcast on the radio, featured in a roving art show, and showcased on our YouTube channel.”
Other plans for the year’s celebration include a traveling arts show from March to April 13. Then March 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the second annual Dog Fest will take place at the city park. There will be fun
and treats for humans and dogs alike. The next event, March 20, kicks off from noon to 1 p.m. and will include an opportunity to learn how to grow a lush, bay-friendly garden with the staff at Sage Ecological
Landscapes and Nursery. There will be an opportunity to sign the “clean water pledge” and receive 20 percent off your purchase of anything except consigned artwork.
On May 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., come to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art during Art After Dark to see the “Morro Bay Estuary — Celebrating a National Treasure” art show. This is the traveling show mentioned above and focuses on the beauty of the bay and will feature our Bay Story Videos. Then June 12, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., come to the office of Deanna Richards and Edward Jones for a last look at the “Morro Bay Estuary — Celebrating a National Treasure” art show in Los Osos.
For MBNEP looking back at the past 20 years has helped to see where they should be going with the project as well as where they have been. Cynthis Milhem who has been with the nonprofit long enough to know how it began explained that the process of preserving the estuary would not have been possible without the efforts of the Friends of the Estuary and the Bay Foundation.
“In the beginnings of our organization there were two groups that emerged in our community; the Friends of the Estuary and the Bay Foundation made up of all volunteers who achieved National Estuary Program status in 1995,” She said. “This was a complex process where the state would have to recognize the estuary as an area for preservation before the Morro Bay Estuary could be recognized by the Federal government as a National Estuary. Since the formation of the National Estuary Program through the efforts of these groups we have created a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan and completed numerous projects to improve water quality and to restore the natural ecosystem. Currently we are the smallest National Estuary in the country and were one of the last preserved sites after the states deadline lapsed for these types of preservation sites.”
The MBNEP has plans for more events as the year progresses and as a nonprofit they can always use support and volunteers for clean up days. To help the MBNEP further their endeavor to preserve these amazing habitats, visit www.mbnep.org