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Sea lions crushed this Morro Bay dock. Here’s how to help rebuild their chill spot

California sea lion population is booming in Morro Bay — ‘They are fat and happy’

California sea lions have made a dramatic recovery across the West Coast under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. The number of sea lions has tripled from fewer than 89,000 in 1975 to 257,000 in 2014, according to a recent study. In Morro B
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California sea lions have made a dramatic recovery across the West Coast under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. The number of sea lions has tripled from fewer than 89,000 in 1975 to 257,000 in 2014, according to a recent study. In Morro B

Friends of the Morro Bay Harbor District is raising money to rebuild a floating dock in the middle of the bay that has been nearly loved to death by the local sea lions who call it home.

The dock is a popular viewing destination for kayakers and sightseeing tours to watch the animals lounging in the sun and barking at each other, but it has buckled under the crushing mass of dozens of sea lions, who can weigh more than 600 pounds each.

Sea Lions011
Sea Lions lounge on a floating dock in the middle of the Morro Bay Harbor. The dock, which was turned over to the animals 10 years ago, has collapsed under their weight and needs to be rebuilt. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

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“The whole structure was not built to accommodate that much weight on top of it. So the braces that form the structure are broken; The deck boards are lifted and broken; The floats underneath it are not holding the weight,” said Harbor Patrol Supervisor Becka Kelly.

The dock used to be a highly sought-after moor for boats, but the “sea lions have won” and it was turned over to them about 10 years ago, Kelly said.

Now, the Harbor Department wants to rebuild it for the sea lions, with the animals’ weight and safety in mind.

That will cost about $10,000, and Friends of the Morro Bay Harbor District is collecting donations on its website, https://friendsofthembhd.org.

Donors giving $1,000 or more can have a business or family name on a sign that will be displayed on a piling above the new dock.

Monica Vaughan: 805-781-7930, @MonicaLVaughan

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