The Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative Funds B.A.S.S. Nation Projects In 2016

B.A.S.S. Nation clubs in New Mexico and Florida will be the beneficiaries of the 2016 Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative grants announced at the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Banquet during the recent Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, Okla.

“Shimano has once again shown its commitment to the B.A.S.S. Nation and to educating youth on the value and need for conservation,” said Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director.

“Through the Shimano grant program, we will be providing funds to do some really great projects that benefit fishery resources and provide opportunities for young anglers to get hands-on conservation experience.”

ShinamoThe Albuquerque, N.M., Hawg Hunters Bass Club plans to construct a fishing pier on Escondida Lake Park pond in Socorro, N.M., allowing disabled anglers better access to the pond.

Mesilla Valley High School and New Mexico State University fishing team anglers will help build the pier that will be adjacent to many recently installed fish-attracting habitat structures that are placed close to shore. Adult mentors from the Albuquerque club, the Socorro Valley Bass club, New Mexico B.A.S.S. Nation, New Mexico Game & Fish Department and the Disabled American Veterans will assist the youth members in the project.

A pair of projects will receive funding to renovate donated pontoon boats and turn them into live-release vessels that will be used for tournament fish releases and as barges to help with the installation of artificial habitat structures.

The New Mexico B.A.S.S. Nation and the Lakeland Junior Bassmasters from Florida will each refurbish old pontoon boats by reinforcing the pontoon tubes and decking, overhauling outboard motors and adding fiberglass holding tanks with aeration systems. Junior club members, high school and college anglers will be trained in state-of-the-art fish care protocols and will help tournament officials in their states with weigh-ins and live release operations.

Shimano pioneered the first live-release boats more than 30 years ago and continues to support their use in all Bassmaster tournament circuits.

Grant proposals were judged by Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Nation staff and by representatives from Shimano.

“We received 10 proposals this year from Nation clubs in nine states, and it is always difficult to pick our winners,” explained Gilliland. “These three top proposals showed the best use of B.A.S.S. members, youth organizations and made significant use of matching funds and donated materials.”

The Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative, unveiled in 2014, has provided almost $36,000 in funding for projects to restore fisheries habitat through the introduction of native aquatic plants, install artificial habitat structures, develop urban fishing opportunities and battle invasive species that threaten aquatic resources.

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