Friday, August 29, 2008

Morro Coast Audubon acquires 8 acre bay front addition to Sweet Springs Nature Preserve

The charming East Sweet Springs property includes 400 feet of Morro Bay’s southern shoreline including critically important coastal wetlands, marsh, mudflats, and upland coastal scrub.

“We are thrilled to expand the Nature Preserve to include this important shoreline property. We look forward to expanding our restoration efforts and trails on this new property and opening the site up for public enjoyment and education,” says Jan Surbey, president of the Morro Coast Audubon Society.

In 1995, the Morro Bay Estuary was included in the National Estuary Program (NEP) due to its water quality issues and critical importance for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. A community and multi-agency effort known as the Morro Estuary Greenbelt Alliance (MEGA) emerged shortly thereafter to protect the multiple endemic special status species, the remaining undeveloped lands on the shoreline, and important habitat lands and trails between Montana de Oro State Park and Morro Bay State Park. Audubon California includes Sweet Springs in the Morro Bay Important Bird Area identified in 2004.

“Every year, Morro Bay ranks among the Audubon Society’s Top Ten Birding Areas in the nation. This acquisition will greatly expand birding opportunities for everyone,” says Henry Pontarelli, Strategic Development Chair of MCAS.

A special community event to celebrate the new addition to the Preserve will be held on Sunday, September 21, 2008, at 2pm. The event is open to the public and will include a brief ceremony about the project and land, docent-led tours, fun activities for kids, food and drinks Everyone is welcome.

Funding for the acquisition was generously provided by the Wildlife Conservation Board, State Coastal Conservancy, the USFWS National Coastal Wetlands Program, and the USFWS Section VI – Recovery Land Acquisition Program, with support from Senators Feinstein and Boxer for the federal monies.

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