The Inland Bays Foundation is up and running and ready to recruit members. They had their first official meeting as an established 501(c)3 organization in October 2011 and have a mission “to advocate and promote the restoration of the Inland Bays watershed by conducting public outreach and education, tracking restoration efforts, encouraging scientific inquiry and sponsoring needed research, in order to establish a long-term process for the protection and enhancement of the Inland Bays.”
“We feel we are now well enough organized and ready to go to get members,” explained IBF President Bill Moyer. “We are ready to let people know who we are, what our objectives are and why they should join.”
He added that, simply, anyone who “cares about the inland bays and wants to return them to their fishable and swimmable state” should become a member.
Moyer explained that the IBF will do education and outreach, which has already been done for many years, but also has a mission to have more direct contact with state, county and local governments on issues that they feel need to be addressed.
He added that they are prepared to also do “more heavy lobbying and possibly litigation,” if need be.
Many of the members of the group’s board of directors are either former or current members of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) of the Center for the Inland Bays (CIB), but Moyer has said he wanted people to know they plan to work with the CIB.
Many of their members are also involved with Citizens for Clean Power, the Town of Fenwick Island’s Environmental Committee and/or the Sierra Club, as well as other environmental advocacy groups. Moyer himself was born in Lewes and raised in Laurel and worked for DNREC as the manager of the Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands section for 30 years before retiring.
In 1969, Moyer explained, the results of environmental studies done on the Rehoboth and Assawoman bays were presented to then-Gov. Russell Peterson. He said those reports stated that stressors on the bays needed to be addressed or conditions in the inland bays would worsen. As an employee of DNREC, in 1981, he chaired the inland bays study group that charged DNREC, DelDOT and Sussex County to look at the bays to see what could be done to improve their quality.
In 1983, they made recommendations to the governor’s task force that eventually led to the formation of the CIB, which was established as a nonprofit organization in 1994 under the auspices of the Inland Bays Watershed Enhancement Act (Title 7, Chapter 76).
What led to the Inland Bays Foundation, formed in 2011 as an independent organization, explained Moyer, was the fact that a number of the recommendations made in 1983 have yet to be implemented.
Moyer said land use, habitat protection and water quality remain the top issues that need to be addressed.
“There is strength in numbers,” he concluded. “We have 15 directors that are extremely dedicated to the cause and are working diligently to make this work. The more people we can get the more effective we can be.”
Joining Moyer in the group’s leadership are President-Elect Ron Wuslich, Vice-President Harry Haon, Secretary Helen Truitt, Treasurer Robert Adams, Robert Cubbison, Gary Jayne, John Austin, Robert Chin, Carl Mantegna, Martha Keller, Doug Parham, William Wickham, Robert Gallaghar and Shirley Price.