Local Town, Business, and Volunteer Honored with “Friend of the Bays” Awards

Ocean View, DE – On September 22nd, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) presented three “Friend of the Bays” awards to local volunteer, Ab Ream, Gary’s Dewey Beach Grill, and the Town of Dewey Beach for excellence in volunteering, business support, and partnership aiding Delaware’s three Inland Bays.

Ab Ream was presented with the Friend of the Bays Volunteer Award for his work developing the “Oyster Master”, a system the CIB uses to bag recycled oyster shell efficiently. Since implementing this device last year, the CIB has been able produce over 2,000 oyster bags that can be used to stabilize living shorelines and provide a solid base for created oyster reefs.

“I am honored to be able to help such a great organization as the CIB,” explains Ab. “The Oyster Master project was more fun than work for me because of all the great volunteers and CIB staff who helped make it a success.”

Gary’s Dewey Beach Grill was the 2017 recipient of the “Friend of the Bays” Business award. For several years, Gary’s has been a generous partner of the CIB. Not only have they opened their restaurant during the off season to host the CIB’s Christmas Parties, but they have also brought in nearly $13,000 to preserve, protect and restore the Inland Bays through their 2015, 2016, and 2017 Gary’s Dewey Beach Brewfest events. In addition, the restaurant’s co-owner and namesake, Gary Cannon, serves on the CIB’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee which brings Bay-related issues of public concern to the CIB Board of Directors.

Award winner Ab Ream and volunteer Bill Hits bag shell using the Oyster Master device.
Larry Hutson, Bill Hitz, award winner, Ab Ream, and Bob Collins stand by a pile of completed bags and unbagged shell.
Gary Cannon and Holly Ski accept the Outstanding Business Award for Gary’s Dewey Beach Grill.

Last but certainly not least, the 2017 “Friend of the Bays” Partner award was presented to the Town of Dewey Beach for their excellence in implementing the Inland Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan over the years. The Town has provided excellent representation to the Center’s Board of Directors and has been a consistent supporter of the Center’s Decked Out summer fundraiser. Most recently, the Town partnered with the CIB to develop a long-term plan to retrofit stormwater controls to reduce flooding in Dewey Beach and improve water quality in the Inland Bays.

“The Center is grateful for our incredible volunteers, local businesses, and partners for their dedication throughout this past year.” says CIB Executive Director, Chris Bason. “We look forward to many years of continued partnership with these true Friends of the 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 CIB works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays–the water that flows into them, and the watershed around them.