News: Corps of Engineers teams up with Bass Pro for 2013 water safety projects
Story by Martha Cenkci
DALLAS - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bass Pro Shops are kicking off the 2013 water recreation season with plans for new joint projects to help spread the word on water and boating safety, as well as environmental protection. The two organizations signed a partnership agreement late last year to develop potential projects that can be accomplished in the near term and in the future, such as those that improve fish habitat and focus on water and boater safety education. They are now ready to implement new measures to make the agreement a reality.
The priority projects for 2013 include the following:
--Develop and provide water safety and recreation activities, educational items, and messages for use in all 56 Bass Pro shops stores during their Summer Fun Camps, Great Outdoor Days, and other in-store programs for 2013;
--Include water safety messages in the DVDs that go to every new boat owner in all the Bass Pro Shops boat lines (bass boats, pontoons, ski boat, etc.);
--Work together to support the National Fish Habitat;
--Work together on events such as the CAST for Kids Fishing and Take a Warrior Fishing, with Bass Pro providing sponsorship.
The partnership agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding, was signed by John Morris, owner and founder of Bass Pro Shops; Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody, commander, Mississippi Valley Division; Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Kula, commander, Southwestern Division; and Col. Anthony C. Funkhouser, commander, Northwestern Division, at the Army Corps of Engineers Strategic Leader Conference in Little Rock.
The Southwestern Division, headquartered in Dallas, has been working with Morris for some time, according to Kula.
“Corps parks and lakes serve over 370 million visitors every year and, with Bass Pro Shops serving over 75 million customers a year, many of whom recreate on Corps lakes, this partnership provides a great opportunity for a line of communication to the public,” he said. “These statistics not only show the great recreation value that the Army Corps of Engineers brings to the nation, but also the challenges that we face as one of the nation’s largest providers of recreation.”
The 2013 initiatives, as well as more long-range ones, will bring new meaning to the agreement, according to Heather Burke, National Partnership Program Manager for the Corps.
“The partnership will help us build broad based support to improve fisheries habitat, develop new outdoor opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, raise public awareness about invasive species, and save lives through expanded water and boating safety outreach efforts.”
The primary goals of the MOU are to improve fish habitat in Corps lakes and rivers; enhance environmental stewardship; promote conservation and appreciation for the outdoors, along with public safety and boating education, and connect Americans with their great outdoors.