Guardians of Barnegat Bay

Dr. Ron Baker and Gef Flimlin are the 2018 recipients of the Guardian of Barnegat Bay "Lifetime Achievement" Award.

Each year the Barnegat Bay Partnership presents the Guardian of Barnegat Bay “Lifetime Achievement” award to individuals  who have made significant, long-term contributions to protecting and restoring the Barnegat Bay. The Partnership recently honored Dr. Ron Baker and Gef Flimlin as the 2018 recipients of the “Lifetime Achievement” award.

Dr. Ron Baker shows off the inscription on the back of his “fish plate” award.

Recently retired, Dr. Ron Baker was a research scientist with the US Geological Survey (USGS).  During his many years with USGS, he worked to quantify nutrient loading from the Barnegat Bay watershed to the estuary, providing valuable data and a scientific foundation for plans to protect and restore the bay’s water quality.  His idea to analyze water samples for stable isotope composition contributed to a greater understanding of the potential sources of nitrogen to surface water and groundwater within the watershed.

In addition to his valuable research, Dr. Baker also freely shared his expertise about the bay while serving as a member of the BBP’s Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and as a member of the Steering Committee for the development of the Metedeconk River Watershed Protection and Restoration Plan.

Gef Flimlin with Rick Bushnell, President of ReClam the Bay.

Gef Flimlin, retired Professor and Marine Extension Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, worked with commercial fisheries in New Jersey for over 33 years.  He helped establish the New Jersey Aquaculture Association and East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, and worked tirelessly with commercial fisheries to improve aquaculture in New Jersey.

The innovative program he initiated, the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program (BBSRP), has been hugely successful in educating the public about water quality while engaging volunteers in shellfish restoration efforts throughout the bay. The BBSRP Shellfish Gardeners course and certification program, along with his motto of “The best way to reclaim the bay is to RECLAM the bay,” inspired the founding of ReClam the Bay,  a volunteer organization with a mission to educate about shellfish resources and water quality in the bay.  Another innovative project Mr. Flimlin started, the “Clam Trail,” has been widely recognized and acclaimed as a unique combination of public art and science education.

During the December meeting of the Partnership’s Science and Technology Advisory Committee, Director Dr. Stan Hales presented each of these deserving awardees with a hand-crafted ceramic Barnegat Bay fish plate in honor of their achievements. Thank you both for your dedication to protecting and restoring the Barnegat Bay!

Read more about previous Guardian of the Barnegat Bay award recipients.

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