The Berkley Conservation Institute (BCI), part of Berkley Fishing, announced the 2015 BCI Conservation Awards during ceremonies at the 2016 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, Okla. Jim Martin, BCI Conservation Director, presented the awards March 5 at the 2016 B.A.S.S. Conservation Summit.
Winner of the 2015 Berkley Conservation award and prize of $2000 was the New Mexico B.A.S.S. Nation. Their conservation work included extensive fish and wildlife habitat improvement on Elephant Butte Reservoir. The organization initiated a five-year project to improve habitat in an impoundment that experiences extreme seasonal lake level fluctuations. The project is considered a model approach for similar lake conditions in other states. Over 200 volunteers assisted with the project that utilized funding from previous BCI awards and donations from manufacturers and other conservation organizations.
"Thousands of hours are provided by B.A.S.S. Nation club volunteers across North America to accomplish so many great projects," said Berkley Conservation Director Jim Martin. "Our evaluation of the submittals for this year's BCI award is very encouraging and New Mexico gave us an extremely strong project with far-reaching applications across the nation."
Honorable Mention Awards were presented to the Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation for their fish habitat improvements at 15 locations statewide and to the Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation for their extensive habitat improvement on Claytor Lake.