Native Black Bass Initiative
UGA Extension and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have been collaborating on an effort to study the bass in the Upper Chattahoochee Basin. There is much concern over the potential impact of non-native spotted bass on our native shoal bass and Chattahoochee bass in the rivers and tributaries to Lake Lanier.
Over the next few years, we plan to sample and monitor genetics and movement in all bass species through a coordinated effort involving community volunteers. Every week or so when conditions are ideal, we plan to float a section of the river that DNR-WRD can't sample with their traditional/available equipment. We typically float 4-7 mile sections of river using kayaks, with a group of 4-8 anglers. The angler's job is to get the fishes to the Livewell as quickly and safely as possible for a period of temporary recovery. Once we have a few fish calmed down and ready to work up, we stop and get the data we need quickly, before returning the fishes to the river unharmed.
The fin clip data should reveal the status of each species of bass in the river, and their potential interactions between species. Each fish is weighed, measured, fin-clipped, tagged, and photographed for future data analysis. The photos are geotagged so that we can hopefully track movement and growth throughout the seasons and years. Our goal is to educate everyone about the importance of our native fishes, as well as the importance of protecting the habitat in the river, and in the watershed.
A major facet of the program comes in the form of grant applications for watershed restoration. There are many opportunities to work with the local community to restore and enhance watershed protection measures to benefit not only the fishes but our local drinking water supply. Farmers, homeowners, and businessmen alike all have a vested interest in protecting our waters. In our area, we've found that each group is eager to participate. We've got some great work going in collaboration with UGA Extension, NGTC, NRCS, and the Soque River Watershed Association. We are very thankful for this opportunity. Please like our page to keep up to date on our progress and achievements. We'd love to get you involved anytime.