Bass clubs that want to improve fisheries in their home impoundments have an invaluable ally in Friends of Reservoirs (FOR).
“This (partnership) is still in its infancy, and we need to get the word out about it,” said Ron Gunter of Texas’ Seven Coves Bass Club. “This is an excellent opportunity to get some help for cleanups and restorations.”
Earl Conway, conservation director for the New Mexico B.A.S.S. Federation, agrees.
“FOR gives us a national forum to interact with a nationwide network of fisheries management professionals, at a working level on real projects,” he said.
At Lake Conroe, FOR has been assisting Seven Coves with habitat improvement. Club members are growing aquatic vegetation to plant in Conroe, and have installed artificial structures to sustain the fishery until the plants become established.
“Phil Durocher and Dave Terre at Texas Parks and Wildlife were instrumental in getting Friends of Reservoirs started,” Gunter said. “They thought that Seven Coves would provide a good example and so we became the first chapter member organization last spring (2011).”
Along with sharing fisheries expertise, FOR allows the club to obtain tax-exempt donations and provides an account to hold those funds.
“The money stays there for us, earmarked for our project, and we don’t have to deal with finances,” the Texan added.
Gunter and Conway also praised Jeff Boxrucker and Jeff Lucero for their FOR leadership. Boxrucker is coordinator of the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP), while Lucero represents the Bureau of Reclamation in the partnership.
“Jeff Lucero has been awesome and we owe him a pat on the back,” said Conway, who is working on improving habitat at Elephant Butte.
Friends of Reservoirs is the primary support institution for the RFHP, which says the role of the former is as follows:
- Provide supporters options to participate in the operation of the RFHP and to influence its governance through interaction with the Executive Committee, staff, and Regional Workgroups on the setting of reservoir conservation priorities, selection of fish habitat conservation projects, and long-term partnership goals and objectives
- Provide sustainable funding for RFHP operations and project implementation
- Help develop volunteer corps to support project implementation
- Facilitate delivery of outreach for public education, awareness, and service
(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)