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Archived Story

Officials host fishing workshop for local students

Published 1:41pm Tuesday, August 5, 2014

 

Alabama Power environmental specialist Mike Clelland explains to fishing club members from Russellville, Hayden and Gardendale high schools how bamboo attracts fish.
Alabama Power environmental specialist Mike Clelland explains to fishing club members from Russellville, Hayden and Gardendale high schools how bamboo attracts fish.

Alabama Power and the Alabama Bass Trail hosted a fish habitat workshop for a dozen students from three high school fishing teams on Tuesday, July 29.

Students from fishing teams at Russellville, Gardendale, and four-time state champion Hayden met at Alabama Power’s General Service Complex near Calera to assemble bamboo fish attraction devices (FADs) under the supervision of Alabama Power’s stewardship team.

“This is a great opportunity for the Alabama Bass Trail to engage students by showing them how to construct FADS and then allowing them to see their work being put to use throughout Alabama,” said Mike Clelland, an environmental specialist with Alabama Power.

The workshop is part of an ongoing partnership between Alabama Power and the Alabama Bass Trail’s high school fishing series. The company’s stewardship team provides opportunities for students to collect the “conservation hours” they need to qualify for grants from the Bass Trail’s Service Hours Grant Program through workshops and participation in Renew Our Rivers cleanups.

“We are conservationists at heart,” said Kay Donaldson, program director for the Alabama Bass Trail.

“We want to take care of the lakes and we believe one way of doing this is by teaching kids from a young age what is environmentally sound and how to be environmentally sound in a safe way. These are good, solid efforts to revitalize areas of Alabama Power’s lakes.”

During the workshop, students learned to build FADs from environmentally friendly and naturally occurring materials – ground limestone and sand to create concrete, and invasive bamboo harvested from Alabama Power property.

This fall, students will again partner with Alabama Power to help deploy the FADs they built, which will serve as artificial fish habitats in areas lacking undercover brush, providing fish a safe area and protection from the sun.

In addition to the workshop, Alabama Bass Trail student anglers kicked off the 15th year of Renew Our Rivers in January with the Cleanup Classic trash tournament, removing more than 5,000 pounds of trash from Lay Lake.

The partnership hosted a similar workshop for students in 2012, deploying 20 FADS into the Clear Creek area of Smith Lake.

During the past decade, Alabama Power and community partners have built and deployed more than 56,000 FADs in nine company reservoirs. Alabama Power discourages individuals from constructing or deploying FADS on their own. There is a risk of danger if not planted properly as the FAD could float to the surface and become a hazard to boats.

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