Too often, fisheries habitat projects by non-government groups are limited or even shut down because of a lack of funding. With that in mind, bass clubs and other organizations would do well to follow the example of Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR).
The goal is "to bring this lake back to life," according to Tom McDonough, project director for. "This used to be one of the best bass lakes in the United States, and we want to make it that again."
But McDonough realized that sustaining a 10-year commitment to establish aquatic vegetation on the 83,000-acre water supply impoundment near Houston will require more than occasional grants from Friends of Reservoirs and others. A funding-raising raffle helped some, but it was formation of a Business Leaders Council (BLC) that likely will sustain the project.
In just two months, LLFoR is a quarter of the toward its goal of recruiting 20 companies, local governments, and even individuals to donate $500 a year for the nine remaining years of the project.
"The BLC donations will be key going forward, as we most likely cannot apply to FoR for a grant every year," McDonough said. "This will provide us bridge funding and gives us the flexibility to do some funding of items that the federal government will not allow grant funds to be used for."
Thus far, work has focused on propagating and planting water willows for the coalition that has 23 partners, including six school districts, Texas Black Bass Unlimited (TBBU), Onalaska Bass Club, and Polk County Hookers, as well as Trinity River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW), and Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership severing as advisers.
Plantings by volunteer students and teachers were planned for May and August of this year, while McDonough hoped that anglers and others would wade into the action in between those two months. The goal is to put in 10,000 plants a year, with TBBU paying for production of a video, both to promote LLFoR's work and to provide guidance for volunteers.
All of the vegetation to this point has been water willows, but McDonough said that other species might be added as well, including bulrush. "This plant is grass carp resistant and can grow from the shoreline into three to five feet of water," he said.
Both the natural aging of the lake and the illegal introduction of grass carp contributed to the fishery's decline.