Rehoboth Beach, DE: Chris Bason has been named Executive Director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. Bason, who has served as Acting Director of the organization since October 1, was selected after a four-month search conducted by a committee appointed by the Board of Directors and led by Board Treasurer, Joanne Cabry.
Cabry said, “We cast the net widely with the assistance of Lewes executive search consultants, Quinn Associates, and received a very good response to our position announcement. We were able to consider a number of well-qualified candidates before making our final selection.”
Bason joined the Center for the Inland Bays in 2004 as project leader for a study to assess the condition of wetlands in the Inland Bays watershed. In 2005, he was named Science Coordinator and, in 2010, the CIB’s Deputy Director. He follows Ed Lewandowski who served as executive director for six years until leaving in October to accept a position with the Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at the University of Delaware in Lewes.
As Chris Bason takes the helm of the fifteen year old organization, he said, “I want to make the watershed a regional example for community-based environmental protection. If it’s a cost-effective and innovative project that improves the Bays and benefits people, I want to demonstrate it here. We’ll build on our successful efforts like addressing polluted runoff from highways and restoring oyster populations and eelgrass meadows to the waters of the Bays. Protecting and restoring the Bays through education programs, innovative restoration projects, and community involvement will continue to be the Center’s hallmark as we go forward.”
The work of protection and restoration of the Inland Bays system is complex and costly. Since the founding of the organization and the completion of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, new issues have emerged and new challenges have arisen as the population has increased and changes in land use have ensued. As director, Bason is looking ahead to plan for sustaining the work of the organization. “Diversifying the Center’s funding by increasing support from private individuals and foundations is a critical part of my strategy. We will be working to build the endowment to assure continued funding to carry out the mission.”
A native of New Castle, Delaware, Bason has lived in Ocean View since 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and master’s degree from East Carolina University. He spent the first part of his career involved in the research and management of wetlands while working for organizations like The Nature Conservancy, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and East Carolina University. Chris has a life-long passion for the environment of Delaware, and enjoys spending time outdoors surfing, fishing, kayaking, and hiking.
Bason said, “We’re looking forward to big year of work restoring oyster populations and eelgrass meadows, improving navigation, protecting the natural lands, and increasing awareness about the Bays and how we all can help improve them.”
The Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization, one of 28 National Estuary Programs, and works to improve water quality in the Delaware Inland Bays.