MORRO BAY — The Central Coast of California is unlike anywhere else. It comes as no surprise that with summer-like weather practically year round, residents — both human and animals alike — enjoy spending time outdoors. While there are plenty of things to see and do here, it is still the responsibility of San Luis Obispo County residents to preserve this coast and all that it has to offer, particularly down in Morro Bay.
Many Morro Bay residents are not aware of and do not consider the quality of local waters. In fact, they might not realize that while the recent rains have turned surrounding rolling hills a bright, green, they’ve also washed various wastes into the ocean.
“Bacteria levels in the water are extremely high this year,” Morro Bay National Estuary Program communication and outreach coordinator Rachel Pass said. “One way to prevent that from happening is by reducing the amount of waste — specifically pet waste — that drains into the ocean.”
On Saturday, May 20, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and local Muts for the Bay organization will host their fourth annual DogFest event in City Park in an effort to relay the importance of properly disposing of animal waste.
“Many people don’t know that pet waste, primarily that of meat eating animals, has twice as much bacteria as human waste,” Pass said. “That alone makes it toxic. After it rains we recommend people stay out of the water for at least 72 hours to let bacteria flush out.”
The program has already installed 27 dog bag dispensers around the area, but plans to use all monetary benefits from the event to continue more installations.
“One of the main problems in Morro Bay is that a lot of times people do pick up their pet’s poop, but they don’t throw the bag away,” Pass said. “They usually just leave it at the trail head.”
DogFest will feature outreach and educational opportunities with an environmental twist, Pass said. There will be local dog-related vendors, demonstrations, give-aways, pop quizzes and contests.
While admission to the event is free, all monetary donations will directly benefit the Morro Bay National Estuary Program.
For any questions contact Rachel Pass at 805-772-3834.