“Although I had studied freshwater and marine ecology, I really was not familiar with the Delta before I started working there,” says 2017 Sea Grant Fellow Heidi Williams, who developed the Beginner’s Guide to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “I was looking for a way to dive in and learn about the Delta and realized that there wasn’t an easily accessible place to turn for the basics.” As a science communications fellow, Williams suggested to the Council that she create one herself, and spent the next year immersed in Delta-related articles and other materials. “I realized that this needed to be more up-to-date than a lot of that material because a lot of science and politics have changed and progressed in the last few years,” she says. The guide is comprised of eight main sections: laying the groundwork, history of the Delta, the Delta as a place, a Delta tour, the Delta as an ecosystem, Delta challenges, management context, and additional resources. The format is inspired by long-form digital storytelling platforms that have been used effectively by The New York Times and others. It makes extensive use of interactive features such as clickable maps, audio clips, and pull quotes. “The hope is that no matter how much experience someone has with the Delta, they can walk away from this guide having learned something new,” says Williams.

Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss
 

A new online portal from the Delta Stewardship Council offers everyone from scientists to tourists an accessible window into the Delta’s identity and importance. “Although I had studied freshwater and marine ecology, I really was not familiar with the Delta before I started working there,” says 2017 Sea Grant Fellow Heidi Williams, who developed the Beginner’s Guide to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “I was looking for a way to dive in and learn about the Delta and realized that there wasn’t an easily accessible place to turn for the basics.” As a science communications fellow, Williams suggested to the Council that she create one herself, and spent the next year immersed in Delta-related articles and other materials. “I realized that this needed to be more up-to-date than a lot of that material because a lot of science and politics have changed and progressed in the last few years,” she says. The guide is comprised of eight main sections: laying the groundwork, history of the Delta, the Delta as a place, a Delta tour, the Delta as an ecosystem, Delta challenges, management context, and additional resources. The format is inspired by long-form digital storytelling platforms that have been used effectively by The New York Times and others. It makes extensive use of interactive features such as clickable maps, audio clips, and pull quotes. "The hope is that no matter how much experience someone has with the Delta, they can walk away from this guide having learned something new," says Williams.

About the author

Cariad Hayes Thronson covers legal and political issues for Estuary News. She has served on the staffs of several national publications, including The American Lawyer. She is a long-time contributor to Estuary News, and some years ago served as its assistant editor. She lives in San Mateo with her husband and two children.

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