Claytor Lake project continues in Virginia

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Water willow planting.

ROANOKE, Va. – Since 2013, Virginia's Claytor Lake has seen massive and ongoing improvements in fish habitat, thanks to a broad alliance that includes the Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation (VBN) and Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL), among others.

Most recently, VBN Conservation Director Joan Blankenship said that volunteer anglers will meet this fall to assemble Mossback Fish Habitat purchased with $5,000 provided by Appalachian Power, and then FOCL will place the cover, with assistance from John Copeland of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

"Without his help and the help of FOCL, none of this would be possible," said Blankenship. "The Claytor Lake project is a good example of the majority of stakeholders all working together to keep an ecosystem balanced and healthy.

"The grants that have been awarded to Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation have allowed me to fund several habitat improvement projects. Also, Virginia Electric and Power Company has provided generous additional funding."

For B.A.S.S. volunteers, the most challenging aspect of the long-term project has been growing water celery, also known as eel grass, to plant in the 4,500-acre impoundment surrounded by Claytor Lake State Park in southwestern Virginia.