AFTCO x B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Grants Update
With a long history of supporting conservation efforts by donating 10 percent of company profits through our 10% Pledge, AFTCO continued that tradition with the AFTCO x B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Grants. As part of our entrance into the bass fishing clothing world after 60 years of focusing on saltwater, AFTCO was pleased to partner with B.A.S.S. in the AFTCO x B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Grant Program. The program was designed to support local B.A.S.S. Nation conservation grants in their efforts to improve bass habitats and fisheries.
In all four chapters that were selected for the AFTCO x B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Grant Program, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, and Tennessee have all done outstanding work in regards to conservation thanks in part to the funding provided by the grants. With the 49th annual Bassmaster Classic being held in the volunteer state of Tennessee, we are excited to give everyone an update on the powerful impact the grant has had on the local fisheries.
Spearheaded by the hard work and leadership of Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Director Capt. Jake Davis, conservation efforts are moving in the right direction, and have opened additional opportunities throughout Tennessee. What started as a grant for a local reservoir (Tims Ford), quickly turned into a Statewide test program. Upon receiving the grant, a plan was devised to expand the original proposal into a region wide opportunity to bring increased involvement from the entire South Central B.A.S.S. Nation Region, and focus on multiple lakes. While remaining committed to use the AFTCO Grant funds solely for Tims Ford Reservoir, efforts were made to start gathering more resources from several companies throughout Middle Tennessee to support the growing conservation plan. In August of 2018, the TWRC Commissioners requested a presentation on the AFTCO Grant, which resulted in Commissioner Bill Cox issuing a challenge to take the program statewide.
The program has resulted in 3,000 habitat structures being built and deployed in Tims Ford Reservoir alone. With over 5,450 hours of labor, Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation, TWRA and AFTCO have effectively changed the landscape throughout Tennessee. Habitat has been placed in seven of the nineteen reservoirs in Tennessee, along with removing no less than 30,000 pounds of garbage from five reservoirs. Most significant was the lake clean up on Normandy Lake, just outside Tullahoma TN. That cleanup project not only brought out anglers, but more importantly, individuals from across the entire community including County Commissioners and several dozen people who just enjoy the outdoors.
AFTCO has always taken a Conservation First approach to its business, and in 2019 we will continue our commitment to conservation through a range of conservation-driven initiatives for the freshwater market. Some of these conservation-focused programs include: AFTCO's Live Release Bass Bus, community crowdsourcing conservation grant opportunities, the AFTCO Bank Bag Incentive Program, and a range of other programs aimed at honoring our company heritage. In addition to our 10% Pledge, we will commit our company time and resources to the freshwater bass community. AFTCO President Bill Shedd has donated over 10,000 hours to conservation projects and leadership across the country and continues to be a strong proponent for preservation causes. AFTCO also plans to support the youth fishing movement through Collegiate fishing and more.