Shimano/ B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative announces grant recipients

Tony Beck
The Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation was one of the recipients of the Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative Grant. The project that earned the award involves high school and college students growing aquatic vegetation and transplanting it in West Point Reservoir, adding cover and habitat for bass.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Three B.A.S.S. Nation chapters are the 2014 recipients of grants offered through the new Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative. New Mexico, Georgia and Connecticut are the states receiving funds.

The grant program is designed to focus on involving young B.A.S.S. members in projects to conserve and restore fisheries habitat and aquatic resources. The initiative was introduced at the 2014 Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner, held in conjunction with the B.A.S.S. Conservation Summit and the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

“The proposals from New Mexico, Georgia and Connecticut were outstanding,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano. “They have the right level of youth involvement, partnerships and impactthat follow the goals of the initiative. All of us at Shimano look forward to watching the progress on these projects.”

New Mexico’s grant is earmarked for the Adopt-a-Cove habitat enhancement project on Elephant Butte Reservoir. It will involve the Albuquerque Hawg Hunters adult club, along with members both the New Mexico State University Bass Team and the Mesilla Valley High School Bass Anglers. The plan is to restore shoreline vegetation, plant native aquatic vegetation and install a variety of artificial structures to encourage sport and forage fish spawning.

Georgia’s grant goes to a native aquatic plant introduction project on West Point Reservoir. The Lake Oconee Bassmasters will mentor student anglers from Alexander and Chapel Hill High Schools, as well as from the University of West Georgia. Students will help with propagation of plants at an aquatic nursery and transplant cuttings into the reservoir to establish stands of vegetation. This project will provide the needed cover and nursery habitat for juvenile bass and forage fishes.

Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation members from the Bass Lightning club members will partner with youth from Berlin, Ellington, Fairfield, Nonewaug and Suffield High Schools to install artificial habitat structures in several community fishing ponds. The group plans to produce and distribute a how-to video that will serve as a guide for other communities wishing to improve the habitat and productivity of their local fishing ponds.

“This is only the beginning,” said Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. conservation director. “Shimano has a solid commitment to youth and conservation, and we want to encourage B.A.S.S. Nation chapters to begin crafting ideas for 2015 proposals.”

Gilliland said that a Request for Proposals will be announced later this fall. The following criteria are used in judging projects:

  • The project should make a significant contribution to the establishment, maintenance, restoration or protection of fish habitat.
  • The project must directly involve B.A.S.S. youth members (Junior Bassmasters, High School or College) in such a way as to teach by example the importance of resource stewardship and the leadership role that anglers play as conservationists.
  • The project must have the endorsement of the local, state or provincial fisheries management agency.
  • The project must be an important action to ensure long-term sustainability of habitat or ecosystem functions and should have an evaluation component to determine success.
  • Where possible, the project should be linked to existing landscape-level conservation or stewardship efforts or other habitat enhancement projects.
  • Working with partners is strongly encouraged. Obtaining significant matching funds and/or donations of materials and/or in-kind services will increase chances of receiving an award.

For more information on the Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative and other B.A.S.S. Conservation programs and activities, go to www.bassmaster.com/conservation, or email Gilliland at ggilliland@bassmaster.com.

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