MORE FISH FOR INDIAN LAKE!
High School Helps Restore Fish Habitat at Indian Lake
as Part of the Blackbird Basin More Fish Project
Upper Valley Joint Vocation School’s (UVJVS) Environmental Occupations Class is helping to improve fishing at Indian Lake’s Blackbird Basin (also known locally as Lucy’s Pond). Blackbird Basin is a protected 23-acre bay on the west shoreline of Indian Lake that provides critical habitat for bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish and other wildlife. The effort is part of the second and final phase of the Blackbird Basin More Fish Project to preserve and improve this crucial Indian Lake habitat. The project is a large scale conservation partnering project between the Ohio Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) Federation Nation (OBFN), UVJVS, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Recreation, and ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Over the last two school years, the Environmental Occupations Class has been learning about bass populations, life history, spawning and habitat requirements in order to restore fish habitat in Blackbird Basin. Their research culminated in the hands-on construction of Spawning, Attraction, and Fry Enhancement Structures (SAFES) that combine nesting and fish attracting habitat. The structures can be used by bass and other gamefish for spawning in the spring and as cover the rest of the year. The class will finish their conservation assignment by placing the SAFES in Blackbird Basin on September 10.
The first phase of the Blackbird Basin More Fish Project was completed in 2009 and involved the placement of over 3,000 feet of riprap rock to prevent erosion along the basin’s shoreline that borders the open waters of Indian Lake. This critical and necessary action reversed a serious erosion problem that threatened to destroy the bay. The OBFN received a $57,000 More Fish Partnership Fund grant from the national B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to complete both phases of the project. The grant is part of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP), a national program to protect, restore and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation.
“The NFHAP is a breath of fresh air to the angling community. Instead of federal mandates and policies from afar, the NFHAP provides a foundation for grass root organizations to develop strong local partnerships and those partners ultimately determine local needs and priorities” said Bob Townsend, OBFN Conservation Director. “By empowering the OBFN to forge a strong partnership with ODNR Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists and Division of Parks and Recreation managers the grant is spurring a grass roots conservation movement. Already, corporations and communities in Ohio have asked this project's leadership team for guidance and assistance on future projects”.
The grant money was donated to the ONDR Divisions of Wildlife and Parks & Recreation which is providing matching dollars and/or labor to complete the project. The donation is the largest ever given by an angling group to the ODNR. “This project is a fabulous example of a government and private partnership that gets results,” said Frank Giannola, Indian Lake State Park Manager. “A combination of private and public funds were put forth together to improve wildlife habitat not only for bass fisheries, but also to benefit a variety of other wildlife species. This is also a testament of the great conservation ethic that bass clubs have traditionally held from their beginnings. Giving back to the resource is a true symbol of conservation.”
“It is great to be able to partner with the ODNR, the OBFN, our local BASS club and others to accomplish a common project with such great learning opportunities and hand-on experiences for our students” said Jim Metz, UVJVS Environmental Occupations Instructor. “Our Environmental Occupations Class engages students in learning situations to educate and train for natural resource/conservation careers and /or prepares them for higher education. The Blackbird Basin More Fish Project has provided a real life opportunity for our students to learn about bass biology and building the SAFES. Learning in the 21st century demands providing problem-solving, high levels of thinking and being able to communicate and complete projects as a team and that is exactly what the Blackbird Basin More Fish Project has provided our students through their completion of this project”.
“We are delighted that we have been able to involve the UVJVS Environmental Occupations Class in this important project. A cornerstone of the OBFN has always been involving youths in conservation, and with UVJVS we have been able to take this a step further, making the habitat restoration portion of the project in essence on-the-job training for high school students passionate about a conservation related career”. Bob Townsend
“The health of our fish populations is directly dependent on having plenty of good quality habitat in our lakes. Protecting Indian Lake’s Blackbird Basin before further erosion could wipe out the bay was critical to protecting some of the best fish habitat we have in Indian Lake” said Rich Carter, Fish Management Supervisor for the Division of Wildlife District 1. “With UVJVS involved in enhancing the bay’s habitat the project is providing hands-on education to youth that represent our conservation future. The bass anglers of the OBFN have given something back to the resource with the Blackbird Basin More Fish Project. They helped save and restore the basin, and in doing so have preserved this precious fish and wildlife resource for future generations to enjoy”.
Blackbird Basin provides key habitat for bass and other gamefish.
Erosion threatened to destroy this important bay.
Indian Lake is a popular bass fishing lake in central Ohio.
Pictured is Todd Thompson, former President of the OBFN.
Rip rap rock was installed around the mouth of Blackbird Basin
to protect the bay from further erosion as part of the project.
UVJVS Environmental Occupations Students (Joey Noll left and Nathan Huggins right) work
on SAFES in the classroom as part of Indian Lake's Blackbird Basin More Fish Project.
Partially completed SAFES almost ready to go at UVJVS.