AFTCO’s conservation grant has awarded more than $60,000 to conservation projects around the nation in the last four years. And 2022 is no different with the recent change from $20,000 a year to $35,000 a year in funding for B.A.S.S. Nation clubs to complete conservation-minded projects in their home states. With a new grant budget, funding is available for larger projects. In 2022, AFTCO is funding five projects with the $35,000 budget.
The goal of the 2022 budget increase was to involve more projects in the Conservation Grant, since the projects were no longer restricted to $5,000. More detailed projects would have the opportunity to apply, whereas, previously with the cap, they had been reluctant to do so. This goal was successful — we received grants with larger plans, and we were able to assist with these larger-scale projects, boosting the probability they would either complete the projects or receive more funding, when needed, from other sources.
2022 AFTCO and B.A.S.S. Conservation Grant recipients
- Alabama High School Bass Release Trailer
- Georgia Lake Oconee Habitat Restoration
- Kentucky Lake Barkley Cypress Tree Planting
- Texas Live Release Trailer
- Texas Lake Fork Habitat Improvement Through Terrestrial Grass Establishment Project
Release trailers have become increasingly popular in areas that have many tournaments. These trailers will be at tournament weigh-in sites and will collect the bass to be redistributed around the lake. The trailers have to be custom-made and must be able to hold thousands of pounds of water and fish. Alabama and Texas have much use for these types of release trailers, and the trailers will be used for high school tournaments, so these projects are not only beneficial to the fish and the fisheries, but they also benefit the youth anglers throughout Texas and Alabama.
Habitat improvement projects are common projects that groups perform with the help of their state natural resource group. This involves growing and planting or building habitats to be planted in their local lakes. Both plants and artificial habitats provide multiple benefits to a lake. Plants provide stability to shorelines, such as the cypress tree plantings in Lake Barkley. Grasses and artificial structures promote algae growth, attracting baitfish and providing them with protection. This attracts gamefish to utilize the structure for the same two purposes: food and a living habitat. These projects are relatively easy to complete and not as expensive as other projects, so it’s always nice to mix these types of projects in with larger-scale projects. Along with this, the more money that is given to a group creating habitats, the more can be produced and planted in lakes, so the ability to scale is great when we are looking at groups and projects to fund.
Mossback Artificial Habitats
The Mossback is one of the most common structures that can be bought and assembled to be placed in fisheries that provide the fish what they need in areas where little structure and cover is a available. In lakes where points are the only “structure”, mossbacks can be laid out in flats to make them attractive to fish, or can be placed on the points to make more and larger fish frequent them.
“We are always excited to see the outcomes of these projects. Over the course of the last 5 years in these projects, B.A.S.S. Nation Clubs have performed amazing work with the Conservation Grant so we are looking forward to seeing what the 2022 groups can achieve” said Seth Meyer, AFTCO’s Conservation and Content Coordinator. “Although AFTCO is committed to these projects, each year has seen an increase in our conservation donations, with 2021 ending in around $548,000 dollars in contributions to conservation! In 2022, we are looking to continue ensuring we play our part in fisheries conservation with our 10% pledge, BASS conservation grants, and conservation work around the world.“