Lake Bistineau December 18, 2009 Update


I will speak with officials at DOTD early next week to see when the gates can be reopened. It is sometimes difficult to get things done during the week of Christmas. I would like to resume the draw down as soon as possible.

There has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation surrounding Lake Bistineau, and I would like to take a minute to clear up several items. First, the gates only allow for a draw down to seven feet below pool stage. We may decide to bring the lake down even farther, but in order to do so we will need to improvise. This has not been decided yet. We may also close the gates again in the near future to fluctuate water levels. This will be determined further into the process.

There has been a lot of discussion about the use of vinegar to kill salvinia. Vinegar is acidic and will indeed burn the plants exposed above the surface. However, the plants extend below the surface and based on our trials earlier this year, the plants grow right back. For that reason alone we are not interested in using vinegar. More importantly, vinegar does not have an aquatic label, and we are prohibited by federal law to use it in this situation.

Vinegar acts as a “contact” herbicide, although not a very successful one because it does not do a good job of killing the plants. Spraying “contact” herbicides will play a role in our plan to control salvinia, however there will be a de-emphasis in their usage going forward. If one looks at our spraying efforts over the last two years, it is easy to conclude that spraying along is neither economical nor effective.

Please note: There is now a place on this site to submit public comment. I am requesting all individuals, including those who have been emailing me directly, use this new feature to communicate. I will try to answer any questions and address concerns in future updates.

Mark McElroy
Fisheries Biologist