The donation coincides with the 2005 Wal-Mart FLW Tour event presented by EverStart Batteries, held Jan. 19-22 on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston. Although specific details have yet to be determined by officials of the conservation commission, the habitat restoration project will involve the introduction of vegetation to replace loss habitat.
Don Fox, a state biologist for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission stationed in Clewiston, said the generous donation from FLW Outdoors will aid the intricate process of rebuilding the lake. Fox says that until the state has a good handle on the situation at Lake Okeechobee, the money will go to restoring fisheries habitat.
“We are just beginning to determine the extent of the damage,” Fox said. “Everything that we previously had planned has been knocked off kilter. The water is very muddy, and there is very little light penetration.”
FLW Outdoors is an organization devoted to giving something back to the communities that host its tournaments. As it has in the past, FLW Outdoors will continue to donate $5,000 at each of its seven Wal-Mart FLW Tour events in 2005 as well as at a variety of its other tournaments.
In 2000, FLW Outdoors announced its partnership with the FishAmerica Foundation, the conservation arm of the American Sportfishing Association. Since then, FLW Outdoors has directly donated more than $250,000 and helped to generate more than $1 million for local conservation projects.
“It’s our job to ensure that we leave a fishery is in better condition than when we arrive,” said Charlie Evans, president and CEO of FLW Outdoors. “We do this by maintaining an extremely high live-release rate and by contributing funds for conservation efforts in the host cities where our tournaments are held. Our long-term relationship with the FishAmerica Foundation demonstrates our commitment to continually improving America’s finest waters.”
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.