LaGrange, Ga. — The Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation has spent the last three years restoring native plants in West Point Lake.
About 75 members from 18 adult and high school bass clubs gathered at the lake on July 29 to finish the final phase of the Georgia Nation’s three-year conservation project, according to Tony Beck, Georgia Nation conservation director. The volunteers planted 2,000 water willow plants at 20 sites in about six hours.
Six areas of the lake received 5,000 plants during the three-year project. “We planted about 30 locations in 2014-15 and about 15 sites are thriving and are grass beds as of 2017,” Beck said. “Overall about 50 sites were planted in 2014, 2015 and 2017. We will evaluate the 2017 plantings next year.”
The water willows were in individual pots that were planted one at a time. “We got in teams of two with one person operating the shovel to open up a hole in the lake bottom and the second person placing the plant in the hole and packing dirt back on top,” Beck said. “All of the plants were planted in the water about 2 to 4 feet deep. This helped us make sure the plants stayed in the water if there were any fluctuations in the water level.”
The Georgia Nation clubs involved in the planning project were the Lake Oconee Bassmasters, Clayton County Bassmasters, Marietta Bassmasters, East Cobb Bass Club, Butts Bass Busters, West Georgia Bass Hunters and high school fishing teams from Callaway, Harris County, Temple, Alexander, Chapel Hill, Newnan, Coweta County, Northgate, North Oconee, Carrolton, Bremen and Tallulah Falls high schools.
The project was funded by a Shimano B.A.S.S. Youth Initiative Grant awarded to the Georgia Nation and a grant the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received from the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership.
A video of the project is available on the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Facebook Page.