IBF celebrated the Inland Bays at its 5th annual “Love Our Bays” dinner. In her remarks, President Frances Hart said the IBF was founded in 2011 by a small group of environmental advocates who wanted to step up advocacy for the Bay through legal action and lobbying. With the goal to return the Bays to swimmable and fishable condition, “no one thought this would be easy or quick.” She continued, “While our focus is the Delaware Inland Bays Watershed, we recognize that water is not isolated, it connects all of us and is necessary for healthy lives.”
At the dinner, IBF presented its 2019 Environmental Advocate Award to SARG — The Sussex Alliance for Responsible Growth. SARG is a non-partisan alliance formed by concerned citizens initially to oppose the building of a regional shopping center that threatened the surrounding environment. After that fight, SARG became the driving force for citizen input in the 2018 Sussex County Comprehensive Plan process. IBF salutes SARG for that leadership and its continued work to see the Plan’s objectives and strategies incorporated in the County’s decision making.
Chris Bason, executive director of the Center for the Inland Bays and last year’s award winner, presented the awards to Rich Borrasso, Richard Holtkamp and Jeff Stone.
In accepting the award, Borrasso, speaking for the group said:
” SARG was created to inform, educate and engage the public as to the impacts of unbridled development in Sussex County; development that harms our natural and built environment which at times compromises our resident’s quality of life. Our visions are complementary and SARG shares your goal of protecting and enhancing the Inland Bays.”
“SARG was intimately involved in the drafting of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. Our priorities for 2020 are simple and clear:
- Have Sussex County enact enhanced wetland protection ordinances
- Increase Sussex County and DelDOT’s accountability for the impacts of growth on transportation, public safety and the environment.
- Work to ensure that a Coastal Zone Overlay adopted by the County ensures better land use practices and increased environmental protections.
- Continue to monitor and work towards implementation of the key goals of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan.”
“The natural’ and “the built” environment must complement each other, work in harmony to everyone’s benefit, short and long term. I am not telling you anything new here, we all know that the balance has been “tilted to the built” while dangerously disregarding “the natural”. ‘The built environment can be replaced, rebuilt, retrofitted; once ‘the natural’ is gone, it and its benefits for all living beings are gone as well.
He concluded, ” We have come a long way …. but the work continues.”