State Conservation directors from across the country met last week at the TBF National Championship in Grove Oklahoma. Wednesday found the group at the Pensacola Dam where Grand River Dam Authority Biologist Steve Nikkoli gave the group an overview of the GRDA’s mission and responsibility. He also demonstrated their water sampling techniques and equipment. The group also toured the generating facility while spending the day at the scenic facility!
AIS decontamination practices were discussed along with the concept of an AIS certification for state federations and individual clubs. The Sea Grant group is assisting the TBF in developing a study guide and test so that Federations and clubs can achieve AIS certification. The objective with this program is to educate not only the anglers but also tournament organizers at both the state and club level.
The group discussed a series of National Issues facing anglers across the country today and took turns highlighting those ‘hot items” within their own states.
Due to the special circumstances of the TBF event being in Oklahoma and the final day weigh-in being in Arkansas the group had to decontaminate all of the event boats used during the event. They also went through a series of fish handling procedures to make sure that all fish, water and equipment caught and used in Oklahoma did not come in contact with any fish or water from the state of Arkansas at the Hammonds center in Rogers Arkansas. A process that was much easier said than done!
Gene Gilliland of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation visited the group and enlightened them on the Reservoir Partnership program that helps local groups reestablish much needed habitat in aging reservoirs.
Bobby Keenum concluded the three days of meetings by describing a new soft plastic bait recycling program that allows groups to collect used baits and turn them in for reconditioned baits that can be used for youth programs. It appears to be a perfect combination of good conservation and youth initiative all wrapped into one! I’ll have more information on this posted on the site later.
Overall the meetings were very informative and a great opportunity to demonstrate a lot of the AIS techniques that were discussed during the three days of meetings.
Thanks to all the CD’s who attended and worked their tails off to make this a great event for our championship anglers.