The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and its Foundation, Friends of Reservoirs recently added its first three Chapter members. Seven Coves Bass Club of Willis, Texas; Albuquerque Hawg Hunters of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Salt City Bassmasters of Richland, N.Y., joined Friends of Reservoirs to assist state and federal agencies in restoring fisheries habitat in reservoirs across the country. All three clubs are B.A.S.S. Federation Nation members, and Seven Coves was the first organization to be granted a Chapter membership.
Most reservoirs in this country are approaching 50 years of age or older, and the habitat has degraded to the point that it has negatively affected fish populations and angling success. Given that 70 percent of freshwater angling in this country occurs in reservoirs and lakes, anglers must take action now to protect the resource that many of us are so passionate about.
State and federal fisheries management agencies have recognized the need to restore habitat in reservoirs for many years. However, the need greatly exceeds the state and federal funds available to adequately address the problems. Given the current political climate, adequate governmental funding for these projects is not likely to occur.
The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) was formed in 2009, in part to energize local fishing clubs and other reservoir user-groups into working with management agencies to raise funds and provide volunteer labor for needed habitat restoration projects.
The RFHP currently has only about $100,000 annually to fund reservoir habitat restoration projects. “We hope to raise adequate funds through the Friends of Reservoirs Foundation to greatly increase that pot of money,” said Jeff Boxrucker, RFHP coordinator.
RFHP will focus in the near term on working with local groups to assist in developing needed habitat restoration projects and to raise the local funds to support the effort. In 2010, RFHP awarded a $20,000 grant to Seven Coves Bass Club to continue work with Texas Parks and Wildlife to re-establish native aquatic vegetation in Lake Conroe. This year, Albuquerque Hawg Hunters received a $10,000 RFHP grant to aid in research on the ability of floating vegetated mats to reduce nutrients that contribute to golden algae blooms in New Mexico reservoirs.
RFHP invites other B.A.S.S. affiliates to become members of Friends of Reservoirs and together with fisheries biologists across the country, restore reservoir fisheries habitat to ensure quality angling for future generations to enjoy. To join or to learn more, e-mail Boxrucker at [email protected].