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Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Honors Recipients with “Friend of the Bays” Awards

Ocean View, DE – On Friday, November 16, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays presented three “Friend of the Bays” awards to Sussex County Council, Waste Industries, and John Austin (posthumously), for their support, partnership and volunteering excellence benefitting Delaware’s three Inland Bays.

Patti Deptula (recently retired Sussex County employee in charge of special projects), Chris Bason (Exec. Director at DE Inland Bays), Gina Jennings (Finance Director), George B. Cole (County Council), Irwin G. Burton (County Council), Todd F. Lawson (Sussex County Administrator)

Sussex County Council was presented with the “Friend of the Bays” Partner Award for their long-term excellence in implementing the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Inland Bays.  Center Director, Chris Bason, highlighted the Council’s successful long-term initiative to provide central sewerage that converted 29,000 septic systems to sewer over a period of 30 years.

“We’re very proud to be presenting this award to our partners at Sussex County Council,” Bason explained. “Their perseverance in providing wastewater treatment is  integral to improving the health of our Inland Bays. The Council’s support for the James Farm Ecological Preserve each year also helps to educate the next generation of children about the importance of protecting the Bays.   

Bryan Kastor and Kristy Chmelski of Waste Industries were the 2018
recipients of the “Friend of the Bays” Business Award. For several years, Waste Industries has been a generous partner of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.

Bryan Castor (Waste Industries), Bob Collins (Program Manager at DE Inland Bays), Kristy Chmelski (Waste Industries)

Not only have they financially supported Center projects such as the Inland Bays Cleanup, but they have consistently participated in and provided services for Center events. Upon accepting the award, Bryan Kastor told the audience that he credits outdoor experiences as a child for his passion for the Bays and for outdoor recreation.

Last but certainly not least, the 2018 “Friend of the Bays” Volunteer Award was presented to Martha Austin in honor of her late husband John Austin.

John was well-known in the community for his dedication to protecting Delaware’s environmental treasures. John was a fierce advocate for the Inland Bays.

“John was a tireless fighter for clean water in Sussex County. His work continues.”said the Center’s Board Chair, Dr. Susie Ball.

Karen Collins (daughter of John Austin), Dr. Susie Ball (DE Inland Bays Board Chair), and Martha Austin (wife of John Austin)

“He was a long-standing member of our Citizens Advisory Committee — to which he was a major contributor through communication about sources of pollution to the Inland Bays.”


The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the Center works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed.

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