Science-based conservation is a driver of economic prosperity that is in balance with a healthy environment. In efforts across the state, conservation organizations look to share the progress and results with the local communities they impact to demonstrate the value of conservation efforts. However, there can be a major communication barrier. Conservation leaders have deep technical knowledge in their field and share scientific resources and analyses about the actions they are taking toward positive change, but this is often not widely understood by the general public. 2022 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler, Bringing Baffin Back (BBB), faces a similar challenge as they execute multi-year, watershed-scale restoration, and conservation projects, impacting over 85,000 South Texas residents.
Baffin Bay and the lands that surround the bay are economically and culturally important to South Texas. Its iconic ancient reefs, built over thousands of years by tiny tube-dwelling serpulid worms, attract anglers from near and far. Baffin Bay’s salty waters have traditionally supported world-class fishing and critical seagrass habitat, but this once pristine bay has become less healthy over time.
Bringing Baffin Back engages local citizen conservationists, anglers, and lifetime residents who understand the importance of protecting the bay’s water quality, quantity, and wildlife habitat. In 2013, Bringing Baffin Back enlisted citizen scientists, and members of the general public who become trained in data collection, to understand the status of water quality in the bay. From that data, BBB was able to confirm the declining trend of water quality and launch the initiative, proposing scientific projects to address these challenges.
Through the Conservation Wrangler program, Texan by Nature worked with Bringing Baffin Back to develop an interactive story map to communicate the goals and progress of the initiative in a digestible way for a number of audiences. Story maps use Geographic Information System (GIS) tools to combine geospatial data with photos, video, audio, and text to visualize a theme or sequential events. Story maps are great tools for nontechnical audiences to engage with and learn about projects through a one-stop-shop of information. Scroll through the story map below or click here to learn all about the Bringing Back Initiative:
Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler is an accelerator program that catalyzes the very best Texan-led conservation projects occurring in the state. Story maps are one of the many deliverables that can be produced through the Conservation Wrangler program. To learn more and see when applications open each year visit: https://texanbynature.org/programs/conservation-wrangler/