Chris Bason's voice of reason will be missed

April 21, 2022

Many people were surprised to hear about Chris Bason stepping down as executive director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays to start a new chapter in his family's life. He has been a guiding force at the center since he was hired in 2004 for a research project assessing wetlands conditions in the estuary.

Bason has been instrumental in the center's drive to work with partners, government officials and the public to improve water quality in the Inland Bays watershed, which encompasses 292 square miles of land draining to 35 square miles of bays and tidal tributaries.

Bason never sugarcoated his comments on the state of the Inland Bays. He was among the first to sound the alarm on the increases of nitrogen and phosphorus in the bays causing massive loss of bay grasses, and leading to declining water quality and increased fish kills.

Bason was an active member of the Sussex County Council working group appointed to rewrite the county's wetlands and waterways buffers and drainage ordinance. Throughout the year-long discussion by a group of stakeholders, Bason's message was crystal clear: Wider buffers comprising woodlands as the most preferred type are critically necessary. He never wavered from that stand, testifying at several public hearings as planning and zoning commissioners and county council debated the issue. Many of his suggestions have become part of the ordinance.

Bason's remarks were not based on his emotional attachment to the Inland Bays, but on scientific research he and the center have compiled over two decades.

His legacy will live on for generations. His long list of leadership initiatives includes creating the comprehensive State of the Bays report; developing legislation allowing shellfish farming; renovating the James Farm Ecological Preserve; expanding citizen-based environmental monitoring; and creating plans for reforestation, oyster restoration and living shorelines.

Under his stewardship, the center quadrupled its budget and grew into a trusted environmental advocate that people listen to.

Bason would be the first to point out that progress has been made to improve the environment in and around the Inland Bays, but much more work still needs to be done. Fortunately, thanks to his leadership, the needle has moved in the right direction.

No one knows more about the Inland Bays than Bason. His voice of reason, backed up by years of scientific research, will be sorely missed.



  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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