(Updated 8/29/17) Each Spring, over a number of years, volunteers from the Neely Henry Lake Association have worked with employees of Alabama Power Company to enhance fish habitat in Neely Henry Lake. APCO has provided Christmas trees, concrete blocks, rope, and other supplies, as well as the barges to ferry the tree bundles to locations selected by NHLA members who participate in this project. NHLA provides the manpower to bundle the trees, secure them to the concrete blocks, load them onto the barges and push them off into the water at the designated locations. A typical bundle is five or six trees secured to multiple concrete blocks, with a float attached to the top of one of the trees to provide vertical habitat structure. The bundles are then loaded five bundles to a barge and placed in locations that are at least 15 feet deep at full pool in order to avoid creating navigation hazards, and to place them out of the main river current flow to minimize chances of them being moved by current. In 2017, we added a new partner to the team, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Fisheries Division). With this new team member came a new technique for improving fish habitat...Spider Blocks! The ADCNR guys have had a lot of success with this type of habitat and have found that it is much more resistant to the natural decay that affects trees after a few years. In April of 2017, we completed our first project using spider blocks, constructing 100 units. The folks at Greensport Marina were kind enough to allow us space to stage the materials and construct on site. The blocks were laid out in rows and five 2-3 foot lengths of PVC irrigation hose was inserted into each hole on a concrete block. With cement that was mixed on site, it was then poured into each hole. A member would come behind and ensure that the hose was secure. The cement was left to cure for a week, then the completed blocks were loaded in groups of ten onto one of two barges to be hauled and sunk. It was a lot of work (there is no easy way!) but we are all eagerly awaiting the opportunity to wet a line! After placement, locations of most of the habitat sites are made available to the public on Alabama Power Company’s website. If you want to volunteer for this effort, please contact Hap Bryant, 256.442.4319. See the below slideshows for some of the previous projects and the new spider block technique. Also, check out these links for more detail on spider blocks and a very cool video of NHLA members installing the spiderblocks! http://www.alabamanewscenter.com/2017/04/28/89488/ https://apcshorelines.com/blog/devices-improving-fishing-alabamas-lakes/
Below are the GPS coordinates for the spider blocks mentioned above. Good luck!!! (8/29/17)
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