Hawg Hunters club earns $10,000 grant

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — The Albuquerque Hawg Hunters club was awarded a $10,000 grant by the National Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) at the RFHP’s annual meeting last month.

Earl Conway, conservation director for the New Mexico B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, submitted a grant application on behalf of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation club to the RFHP under the organization’s Friends of Reservoirs chapter membership. The grant will be used to help fund a pilot study to test the efficacy of using suspended vegetation mats to reduce nutrient levels as a control mechanism for golden algae blooms.

Golden algae-related fish kills are common in the reservoirs in the lower Pecos Valley, having a significant impact on angling opportunities in a region where lack of water limits these opportunities in the best of times.

The club will begin its work on Spring River Pond, Carlsbad Municipal Lake and Brantley Lake. Brantley and the Roswell pond are essentially dead for bass because of the golden algae fish kills, according to Conway. “We hope to have them all restored and better than ever by the end of the project,” he added.

"Our goal is to develop a robust, self-sustaining wetland environment that controls the nutrient levels and prevents toxic blooms. ... Small lakes and ponds like these may not support bass tournaments, but this is where young anglers learn to fish. We need to do everything we can to provide, protect and restore these urban fisheries."

Conway extends thanks to Russell Whited of the Pecos Valley Bassmasters and Shawn Denny, biologist for the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, for their help putting together this project.

The two-day RFHP meeting was held in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., in October. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dean Rojas spoke at the meeting about the value of reservoir fishing and restoring and enhancing habitats through partnerships.

In attendance with Conway were Noreen Clough, B.A.S.S. national conservation director, and Barb Elliott, New York B.A.S.S. Federation Nation conservation director. Conway and Elliott are members of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Habitat Team. Clough serves on the RFHP Steering Committee and the Friends of Reservoirs Executive Committee.

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