A press conference was held on March 26 officially announcing the formation of the Fisheries Management Division (FMD), as well as a partnership with Berkley Labs. During the press conference, FMD directors Steven Bardin and Gary Klein outlined two habitat projects to be completed during the 2022 Bass Pro Tour Season: MossBack Fish Habitat and Mercury Marine will support one of these projects while Berkley Labs will support the other.
Costa Sunglasses also joined FMD with the announcement of the Costa Clean Water Matters campaign. This campaign will work to clean up trash dumped in fisheries all over the country. SeaArk Boats will support Costa’s efforts by providing their revolutionary trash clean-up boat for use by MLF professionals during four events this season.
Outside of the press event, the FMD used the REDCREST expo to provide the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation with more than 150 artificial structures. Incorporating a habitat build directly into the expo is a first for the industry. At the Ferguson Habitat Build booth, volunteers from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance used PVC materials donated by Ferguson to construct 100 4 x 4 x 4-foot Georgia Cubes, as well as assemble a MossBack Fish Habitat. The Mossback structures were donated by MossBack, the Kevin VanDam Foundation and via fan donations at the expo.
The ODWC will deploy the majority of the habitat in Grand Lake over the next several months. Some of those units will go to Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma and to a small fishery south of Tulsa called Bixhoma Lake.
On March 28 – less than 24 hours after Bobby Lane claimed the REDCREST trophy – the first step in the deployment of these fish structures took place with six Georgia Cubes and seven MossBack trophy trees placed by ODWC in Bixhoma Lake. The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance volunteers, MossBack Fish Habitat owner David King, MLF co-founder Gary Klein and FMD biologist Steven Bardin assisted with the Bixhoma Lake habitat deployment.
Tulsa’s KOTV News on 6 covered the habitat deployment live via helicopter and on the water with anchor Tess Maune joining to place three of the MossBack Fish Habitats under a handicap accessible dock. The GPS locations for these and all the future habitat locations will be available under the “Where to Fish” tab on the ODWC website along with in their interactive state habitat map.