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$80,000 for HRI Bringing Baffin Back Initiative Work Boat

By January 18, 2024 Uncategorized

In an effort to improve accessibility and safety, CCA Texas has funded the purchase of a new boat for HRI staff to use as part of the Bringing Baffin Back initiative and other research projects that HRI is working on in that region.

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) submitted a proposal to CCA Texas requesting $80,000 for a Haynie 23′ Big Foot bay boat. Since 2013, HRI has led a monitoring program in Baffin Bay to understand causes of a long-term decline in water quality that is negatively affecting the health of the bay. Data collected as part of this monitoring program is serving as the backbone of the “Bringing Baffin Back” initiative, which aims to:

  • Find solutions to the water quality problems that are contributing to the decline in the health of Baffin Bay,
  • Restore key watershed and bay habitat that has been lost due to water quality degradation,
  • Foster a stewardship ethos, especially among younger generations of residents, and
  • Advance efforts to educate the public on the relationship between watershed and bay health.

With Bringing Baffin Back underway and millions of dollars targeted for Baffin Bay watershed restoration, having access to exceptional water quality data is crucial for its success. To ensure the continued longevity of the water quality program, HRI needs reliable sampling equipment and boats. HRI only had one boat (2019 Boat Right aluminum hull work boat) that is acceptable for use in Baffin Bay, which creates challenges when the boat is out of commission for repairs. More problematic is that the Boat Right’s use is limited to relatively calm conditions. Thus, HRI had a need for a vessel that is well suited to working in more frequent windy conditions that define Baffin Bay.

CCA Texas’s commitment enabled HRI to purchase a new bay boat that is optimized for use under everyday weather conditions in Baffin Bay. The new boat will be used for water quality sampling in Baffin Bay, other conservation research endeavors in Baffin Bay, and secondarily for conservation projects located in other bay systems.

The bay boat that meets the required technical specifications and stability requirements for working in Baffin Bay is the Haynie 23′ Big Foot, and CCA Texas is proud to fund this valuable piece of equipment. This funding further cements CCA Texas’s support of the Bringing Baffin Back initiative and comes on the heals of CCA Texas’s Executive Board 2022 commitment of three years for $75,000 annually ($225,000 total) for underwriting costs associated with sample collection, sample processing via wet chemistry and or microscopy, data analysis and data management.

Additionally, CCA Texas funded $135,000 in February 2022 to HIR for a Baffin Bay Serpulid Reef Habitat Conservation/Restoration Study, to determine the status of the serpulid reefs in Baffin Bay, and restoration opportunities.