Who knew they were swimming in our lagoon? Amy knew. Local fish biologist Amy Haas led a number of intrepid souls on a journey into the San Gregorio lagoon recently to discover the life within. The lagoon, or estuary, is an incredibly complex system. The mixing of salt and fresh water forms a unique environment, with varying temperatures and water quality conditions vital to a number of species. Amy introduced us to several of these including the Tidewater Goby, Three-spined Stickleback, Steelhead Trout and Coho Salmon.
In addition to describing the life cycle and needs of these fish, Amy answered many questions, and provided beautiful color handouts with photographs for aquatic species identification. Amy then led the group into the water with snorkel gear to have a look around. The first observation was how cold the water was!
We also learned how important it is for the lagoon environment to be protected. When the mixture of salt and fresh water or temperatures are artificially altered, an entire season of a particular species can be wiped out. Ocean waves build up the sandbar that partially separates the salt and fresh water, and also tears it down at other times to allow this natural connection between stream system and ocean. Artificial breaching of the sandbar can have disastrous effects on the species in and around the lagoon.
If you see this event advertised again on local bulletin boards, you might not want to miss it! Send an email to email@example.com to express an interest in this activity, or any of SGERC's programs.
Neil Panton - Director, San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center