BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation and the Leavenworth Bassmasters have been awarded the 2021 Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration Foundation (AERF) and Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS) grant for a project designed to improve bass habitat in Kansas reservoirs.
The Kansas Department of Game, Fish & Parks (KDGFP) has identified a need to re-establish water willow in Hillsdale Lake, near Kansas City. The $3,000 AERF-APMS grant will make it possible to both purchase water willow and to possibly build a nursery to culture additional plants for this and future projects. Purchasing plants from commercial sources may be necessary initially to prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species. Water willow is a very hardy plants that is relatively easy to establish and provides habitat for many micro- and macro-invertebrates which are food for juvenile sportfish like black bass. As the water willow beds mature, thicken and spread, they make excellent shallow-water cover for adult bass as well. In addition to being good fish habitat, stands of water willow help hold bottom sediments, reducing erosion and turbidity caused by wave action.
Biologists from KDGFP have identified several areas on the lakeshore where plantings will be the most beneficial. Volunteers for the Leavenworth Bassmasters and students from nearby Missouri State University will assist with the culture and planting.