The winner of the Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration Foundation/Aquatic Plant Management Society/B.A.S.S. Conservation Aquatic Vegetation Management Award is the Lake Oconee Bassmasters in Georgia. Tony Beck, the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation’s conservation director will be on hand to accept the award. The Lake Oconee Bassmasters will be awarded $1,500 for establishing native aquatic vegetation in Lake Oconee, Lake Richard B. Russell and Lake Jackson over a five-year period.
To date, the club has grown and planted 4,300 native water willow plants.
“Club members worked in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Power and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Gilliland.
“Water willow is not invasive, provides shoreline cover, helps prevent erosion, and is easy to propagate,” Gilliland explained. “By growing their own plants, the club saved thousands of dollars.”
The Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation won the Berkley Conservation Institute Angler Recruitment/Retention Award. The chapter will receive $1,500 in tackle from Pure Fishing, parent company of Berkley. Dean Rustic, chapter conservation director, will accept the award on behalf of the Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation.
The chapter employed several marketing tactics to gain new members, including producing an Uncle Sam poster with the words “The CBN Wants You,” plus maps to help potential members find the club nearest them and a PowerPoint for passersby to see what the chapter is all about. The chapter’s efforts increased membership by 18 people in 2013.
“We feel that this was beneficial not only because it increased membership in 2013 but it gives us a plan to follow, and we are confident it will pay dividends in the future,” said Sylvia Morris chapter president.
The Berkley Conservation Institute’s Conservation Award goes to the New York B.A.S.S. Nation for its Ramp Monkeys project and water chestnut removal. The chapter will be awarded $2,000. Barb Elliott, conservation director, will accept the award.
The Ramp Monkeys project encouraged New York B.A.S.S. Nation youth clubs to form groups called Ramp Monkeys that would attend area bass tournaments, remove plant debris from launch areas and then clean, drain and dry each boat and trailer when it exits the water. The operation is an opportunity for outreach to anglers and boaters and an educational experience for the youth members.
The NYBN members also continued to battle invasive water chestnuts by physically removing the plants from lakes, canals and rivers. Members have removed hundreds of pounds of chestnuts, and preliminary inspections of areas addressed in past years showed very few plants had re-established.
“The New York B.A.S.S. Nation is honored to receive this award,” said Fred Blom, chapter president.“I am proud of the accomplishments of the whole organization. From anglers, to participation in weed pulls, to the Ramp Monkeys, we are all working hard to make a difference.”
Stay tuned to Bassmaster.com to find out who won the final award, the B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Director of the Year.