Native Black Bass Initiative: Implementing Watershed-Scale Conservation of Native Fish Populations in Southern US Rivers and Streams
Let’s talk about America’s fish – the Black Bass. Of the nine species, six are found in the southeastern U.S. and nowhere else in the world: Guadalupe Bass, Shoal Bass, Redeye Bass, Florida Bass, Alabama Bass, and Suwannee Bass. Several undescribed species and subspecies are also found in the region and almost all are in need of conservation measures to prevent them from becoming imperiled.
While the various southeastern state agencies effectively manage the fisheries within their borders, many of these waters traverse state lines. To address the need for focused and coordinated actions between these agencies, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, part of the National Fish Habitat Partnership, created the Native Black Bass Initiative (NBBI). Guided by a 10-year, $30 million collaborative planning effort that was assembled in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and numerous local, state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and industry partners, this roadmap has paved the way for Black Bass conservation in the southeast.
Since 2010, the NBBI has contributed significant funding to conserve native black bass populations in rivers of the Texas Hill Country; tributaries of the Apalachicola River Basin in Alabama, Florida and Georgia; and tributaries in the Savannah River Basin in South Carolina. Under the Initiative, more than 8,239 acres have benefitted from on-the-ground habitat restoration projects. Ultimately, NBBI has directly benefited habitat conditions for native black basses and other species in more than 150 miles of focal rivers by providing critical coordination, funding and other resources to fill critical data and information gaps on the status of native black bass populations. Fortunately, this has been captured in a book sponsored by the NBBI titled Black Bass Diversity: Multidisciplinary Science for Conservation, published by the American Fisheries Society in 2015.
However, with the constantly growing population pressures in the southeast, there is a need to keep up with the impacts. As a person who appreciates the outdoor heritage of the southeast, this is where you can help. Please donate to Beyond the Pond in order to support NBBI and its critical conservation work.