Annually since 1973, AFTCO has set aside 10-percent of company profits to protect and conserve the natural resources enjoyed by all Americans. For the fourth consecutive year, AFTCO has supplied grant funding for the projects of B.A.S.S. Nation chapters around the country.
“With a long history of conservation-minded initiatives, AFTCO is always looking for opportunities to help provide direct fishery improvements, and partnering with B.A.S.S. made complete sense,” said Casey Shedd, President of AFTCO. “Over the course of the last four years we have donated over $60,000 — $20,000 this year alone.”
In 2021, AFTCO provided funds to these five projects:
- Leavenworth Bass Club, part of the Kansas B.A.S.S. Federation, will re-establish water willow in Hillsdale Lake, Kan. They will then monitor the habitat for micro- and macro-organisms, amphibians, birds and, most importantly, fish.
- Nebraska B.A.S.S. Federation will install 25 to 30 artificial tree structures in a variety of city- and state-owned lakes across Nebraska that lack fish habitat and structure. Youth groups will do the majority of the work and, while at each lake, perform lake cleanups utilizing AFTCO’s Bank Bags.
- Kentucky B.A.S.S. Nation will be planting cypress trees on predetermined shorelines in Lake Barkley. Cypress trees provide stability to shorelines, reducing erosion as well as increasing habitat for aquatic organisms and sportfish.
- Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation will partner with local high school agriculture programs, such as Pulaski County High School, to propagate plants and assist in restoration efforts improving local aquatic ecosystems. Students will have opportunities to learn about plant biology while contributing to direct improvements in the local fisheries.
- Illinois B.A.S.S. Nation will create and deploy fish habitats in local lakes around Silver Springs, Ill. Big Lake and Beaver Lake receive significant fishing pressure and lack structure and fish habitat. They plan to deploy fish haven artificial structures as well as Georgia cubes and spider blocks.
“AFTCO is very excited about the 2021 grantees,” said Seth Meyer, conservation and content coordinator at AFTCO. “These projects really focus on direct improvements to the fisheries. Whether it be fish habitats or planting native vegetation, these projects are set to increase the abundance of fish in the lakes, something we can all get behind!”
B.A.S.S. conservation director Gene Gilliland echoed the comments from Shedd and Meyer saying, “These grants are a great example of the efforts our B.A.S.S. Nation clubs are putting forth to enhance the fishing in their local lakes and reservoirs. I can’t thank AFTCO enough for their continued commitment to the B.A.S.S. Nation and to the fishery resources on which our sport depends.”
The AFTCO X B.A.S.S. Conservation Grants for 2021 come simultaneously with AFTCO’s continued efforts to put our Fisheries First. The Fisheries First Sustainability pledge is AFTCO’s pledge to reducing their environmental impact on the oceans, river, lakes and land that support our fisheries. This includes goals of utilizing recycled materials in clothing, hang tags, paper and tradeshow booths.
Beyond B.A.S.S. Conservation, AFTCO’s key partners in conservation include: the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the Center for Sportfishing Policy, the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), Keep America Fishing, the Hobbs Seaworld Institute, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System.
Original reporting courtesy of Bassmaster.com.