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BPT pros, HS anglers complete habitat project

BPT pros, HS anglers complete habitat project

EUFAULA, Okla. – Inclement weather has wreaked havoc across Oklahoma for the past week, but MLF pros and the Oologah-Talala High School fishing team managed to put a few hours of sunshine to good use during the MLF Bass Pro Tour event The MLF Fisheries Management Division (FMD) partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) to complete the Minn Kota Habitat Restoration Project supported by Humminbird on Lake Eufaula on Thursday, May 2.

Bass Pro Tour anglers Josh Bertrand, Stephen Browning, Ott DeFoe, Edwin Evers, Gary Klein, John Murray, Britt Myers, Micheal Neal, Skeet Reese, Colby Schrumpf, and Greg Vinson joined the Oologah-Talala High School team, ODWC, Choctaw Nation Wildlife Conservation, MossBack Fish Habitat founder David King, and Director of the MLF FMD Steven Bardin to construct MossBack fish habitat products including 60-inch Conservation Cubes, Safe Haven XLs and John Godwin Crappie Towers. The structures were weighted down using supplies donated by local Lowe's Home Improvement store #2571 and deployed into Eufaula Cove.

The BPT anglers in attendance spoke with the group, took photos, signed autographs and built structures with the high school team and other volunteers, before handing off deployment of the structures to the students and ODWC staff.

The project was part of a four-year large-scale habitat restoration program for Lake Eufaula that the ODWC began earlier this year. The ODWC will receive an annual donation from the City of Eufaula which they plan to increase through federal matching programs. The potential value of the four-year project is more than $150,000 for the ODWC.

Eufaula Cove is an important part of the 105,000-surface-acre fishery due to the number of tournaments hosted out of the cove’s marinas. After most five-fish tournaments at Peter’s Point-Nichols Point on Lake Eufaula, fish are released back into the cove, making habitat designed to improve fish recovery a valuable resource.

“ODWC’s commitment to our fisheries is unmatched and being able to experience this project with the Oolagah-Talala High School fishing team is an extremely valuable opportunity,” said Evers, just before loading the students on the bus to buy them lunch.

The MLF FMD hopes to continue using this blueprint across other projects, to maximize grants and further increase the impact to local communities that the BPT visits.

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