For the third year in a row, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board of Directors has announced that the Hall has awarded four conservation grants. These grants are to go towards the mission of celebrating, promoting, and preserving the sport of bass fishing. The grant awardees were selected through a highly competitive process.
“Each year we continue to be impressed by the seriousness and dedication of our applicants,” said Bass Fishing Hall of Fame President John Mazurkiewicz. “We all agree that habitat restoration and management, and other conservation efforts, remain the bedrock of our sport and are critical to bass fishing’s future. These grants are one means of giving back to the wider community.”
The four grantees are as follows:
- Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation and High School/Youth — Tims Ford Lake Reservoir Habitat Restoration/Enhancement: This project covers both youth and adult angler education, reservoir habitat enhancement and clean-up, fish attractor construction, and organizational partnership development. This will involve the guidance and supervision by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) fisheries personnel, US Army Corp of Engineers (Nashville District), Tennessee Valley Authority Natural Resources personnel, and BASS Nation leaders. The grantee will coordinate builds, and educate anglers on building effective fish habitats and attractants, and the benefits of both. And also their placement and evaluation on Tims Ford Lake in support of the Bill Dance Fishing Trail.
- Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School Team Trail — Mobile Fish Care Trailer: This grantee is to buy a dual-axle heavy-duty trailer and modify it for use as a mobile fish care trailer. The trailer is to be modified to hold a toolbox, oxygen tank holder, and a fiberglass live release tank. Once built out the trailer will have oxygen and aeration systems added in with consultation with BASS and AL Fisheries biologists. The trailer will be used for high school events instead of a live-release boat due to easier use and maintenance, better cost, and greater conservation benefits.
- Bluegrass Bassmasters — Lake Barkley cypress tree planting: This conservation project aims to decrease the siltation and the expansion of the mud flats of Lake Barkley. The plan is to increase the shoreline stability through the planting of cypress trees along the banks. Cypress trees are native to western Kentucky and are one of the few species that can thrive along the shoreline and drawdown zone. One thousand young trees will be planted in separate groves of several individual trees at sites chosen by KDFWR. This project may be expanded if and when more funds become available in the future.
- Texas B.A.S.S. Nation — Lake Belton Structural Habitat Improvement Project: This conservation project will replace fish habitat that has been lost as reservoirs age and the habitat breaks down. Specifically, Texas B.A.S.S. Nation worked with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the US Army Corp of Engineers, and the Brazos River Authority to create four new fish habitat sites and will use the provided funds to further enhance artificial fish habitat at these same sites.
“Once again we are proud to incentivize and reward the substantial sweat equity that these entities will produce,” said Board member Gene Gilliland, who is also the B.A.S.S. Conservation Director and a recent Hall inductee. “It was difficult to choose the best four, but we’re confident that this group represents the best of the best. As time goes on, we hope that our efforts will become even more inclusive and substantial.” Gilliland and Board member Casey Shedd with AFTCO spearheaded the BFHOF conservation grant selection process.