Since 2018, AFTCO has awarded $95,000 in Conservation Grants to B.A.S.S Nation Clubs. In 2022, AFTCO provided $35,000 to 5 B.A.S.S Nation Clubs to complete conservation-minded projects in their home states. These 2022 projects are highlighted below, and the 2021 projects can be viewed here.
With the increased budget in 2022, AFTCO was able to assist with larger-scale projects than in previous years — boosting the probability that projects can be completed or receive more funding when needed, from other sources.
2022 AFTCO x B.A.S.S. Conservation Grant Recipients
1. Alabama HS Bass Release Trailer
2. Georgia Lake Oconee Habitat Restoration
3. Kentucky Lake Barkley Cypress Tree Planting
4. Texas Live Release Trailer
5. 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. 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, planting, or building habitats that can 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 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're always excited to see the outcome of these projects. Over the course of the last 6 years, B.A.S.S Nation Clubs have performed amazing work with the Bass Conservation Grant. We're looking forward to seeing what the 2023 groups can achieve" said Matt Florentino, AFTCO's Marketing Director. "In addition to these projects, through AFTCO's 10% Pledge to Protect and Conserve, AFTCO and the Shedd Family contribute at least 10% of company profits towards fishing conservation, protecting our resources, and ensuring future generations have access to a sustainable fishery. In 2023, we look to continue ensuring we play our part in fisheries conservation with our 10% pledge, BASS conservation grants, and conservation work around the world."