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Volunteers build new fish habitats for Alabama’s lakes and rivers

New artificial fish habitats will soon be deployed in Alabama lakes and rivers as part of a joint effort by Alabama PowerB.A.S.S. and Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation to help fish thrive.

Approximately 200 “spider blocks” were assembled Jan. 9 in Calera. High school anglers, coaches and parents from the Gardendale Rockets Bass Fishing Club and HUKONE Bass Club joined volunteers from Alabama Power, B.A.S.S. and Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School to assemble the fish-attracting devices (FADs). The work was done in an open field, allowing participants to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

“This is exciting,” said Darrel High, state youth director of Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation. “We do a lot of projects and we like for our high school clubs to get involved with these type things. I think it’s great.”

Alabama Power, B.A.S.S. team up to build new artificial fish habitats from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The spider blocks were built using 150 bags of cement, 200 buckets, 1,600 synthetic sticks and water. Alabama Power Environmental Affairs Specialist Mike Clelland said the spider blocks will replace aging natural habitat.

“As our reservoirs age, the natural habitat starts to deteriorate and go away, so we’re supplementing the old stumps, logs and trees with spider blocks built out of synthetic materials,” Clelland said. “As these structures sit in the water, they’ll start collecting algae and macroinvertebrates, which are little insect colonies. That in turn will attract smaller fish to feed on, and in turn the larger fish will come to the smaller fish, so we’re creating mini-ecosystems throughout the reservoir.”

Clelland added that these artificial habitats can survive much longer than natural FADs, such as old Christmas trees, because of their synthetic structure, giving fish more reliable habitats in which to thrive.

“These fish habitats will be here for many years,” Clelland said.

Catherine Huffman, coach of the Gardendale Rockets Bass Fishing Club, said her anglers enjoyed putting the habitats together.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “It’s a good project and it’s good to get them out of the house and get them working.”

Clelland said the FADs will be placed in area lakes and rivers in the coming weeks with GPS locations of the new habitat drops placed on apcshorelines.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)