Conservation directors from 14 different states met at the annual TBF National Championship in Grove Oklahoma last week. The group traveled to the Centerton Fish Hatchery in Arkansas where they teamed with Arkansas Game and Fish Black Bass Biologist Colton Dennis and his staff to tour the Hatchery facility and also participate in an electro-fishing study on a nearby power plant lake. The Centerton Facility boasts approximately 50 ponds on its scenic grounds that are all spring fed and create a terrific location to raise smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as walleye and catfish.
The following day the group shared the results of the on-going AIS prevention program that the federation has been working on with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Group under the direction of Dr. Phil Moy for the last three years. Each state in attendance got a copy of the new boat wash training video which will also be available on the TBF website. Dr. Moy also provided the group with BMP handbook to distribute to their state federation members.
The group also discussed plans for an AIS certification test that state conservation directors and club members can take to increase their awareness and knowledge of Aquatic Invasive Species spread and prevention. This test should be available to members within the next few months.
Josh Johnson from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation addressed the group on the final day bringing them up to speed on projects that the department is working on across the state as well as the terrific fishery at Grand Lake. Each member in attendance also shared the floor to discuss programs and challenges that are going on in their respective states.
In addition to the meetings, the Conservation Group also provided the fish handling duties at the TBF National Championship event at Wolf Creek Park. The Grand Lake Dam authority under the direction of Mr. Brent Davis provided a live release trailer for the weigh-in in addition to the TBF live release boat which was onsite each day.