Wal-Mart FLW Tour, FishAmerica pledge funds for Pascagoula River - Major League Fishing

Wal-Mart FLW Tour, FishAmerica pledge funds for Pascagoula River

February 8, 2000 • MLF • Archives

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – When the Wal-Mart FLW Tour visits Biloxi, Miss., Feb. 16, the Pascagoula River will receive a $5,000 pledge to improve the Upper Leaf, a tributary located about 150 miles north of the city.

The donation is part of partnership between the FLW tour, the world’s foremost professional bass fishing series, and FishAmerica Foundation, the conservation arm of the American Sportfishing Association, that will provide $35,000 to benefit fisheries on the 2000 FLW Tour schedule.

“As an industry leader, we are proud to take this extra step toward the preservation of our nation’s fisheries,” says Charlie Hoover, chief executive officer of Operation Bass Inc., the organization responsible for running the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. “These irreplaceable natural resources provide habitat for largemouth bass and a host of other wildlife species. They also benefit local communities and millions of outdoor enthusiasts nationwide.”

The FLW Tour and FishAmerica will assist the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in developing breakwaters to be placed in the Upper Leaf.

“The Wal-Mart FLW Tour is the first professional bass tournament to provide financial support to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for habitat restoration in the Pascalouga basin,” says Tom Marshall, managing director of FishAmerica. “It is a tremendous honor for FishAmerica to be partnering with a tournament that is pioneering efforts to ensure the future of fishing.”

Placing breakwaters in the Upper Leaf tributary will provide new habitat for fish and invertebrates such as crayfish. The breakwaters also will help reduce soil erosion and the buildup of sediments that eventually flow into the Pascagoula River.

“The Upper Leaf is not a big river, but it is important to the system,” says Ron Garavelli, acting chief of fisheries for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “The breakwaters will produce eddies where fish can stack up, feed and live. Forcing water to one side of the breakwater also will scour the bottom and prevent the buildup of silt and sand.”

The first stage of the restoration project calls for studying possible locations for the breakwaters and material options such as timber or rock. A meeting is scheduled for March 1 to begin the planning phase.

“We sure need the funding,” Garavelli says. “The donation will serve as seed money for the project, which we feel is important to the river system. It’s certainly something we would like to see accomplished.”

Other fisheries receiving help from the FLW Tour and FishAmerica are Lake Okeechobee in Florida, Lake Murray in South Carolina, Beaver Lake in Arkansas, the Mississippi River in Tennessee, Pickwick Lake in Alabama and the Red River in Louisiana.

In the past 17 years, FishAmerica has received donations from fishing tournaments, tackle manufacturers, boat and engine companies, and individuals that enabled it to fund nearly 600 fishery enhancement projects in 50 states and Canada. FishAmerica grant recipients have donated more than 1 million volunteer hours to improve fisheries.

For more information about the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, visit www.flwtour.com. For more information about the FishAmerica Foundation, visit the American Sportfishing Association’s Web site at www.asafishing.org.