I have received several questions recently regarding the current status of the lake and future plans. I’ll take this opportunity to try and answer these as best as I can.
First, there is some seismic work for gas exploration being conducted on the lake which is why you’re seeing airboats and flagging.
Our plan does stipulate that cypress trees are contributing to poor water quality and lagoon building which promotes nursery building for giant salvinia growth. Some cypress tree removal is recommended in our plan.
As of last Friday, the water level was three inches above pool stage. Since the drawdown was initiated on September 16 (5 months ago), the water level has risen three inches. The unusual fall and winter rain events have countered our intentions. Unfortunately, we are also approaching the spring rainy season.
I’ve received multiple inquiries regarding research by Dr. Lynn Walker at Louisiana Tech University. We are very interested in his work and will continue to monitor his progress. We will of course consider use of his research should he successful in acquiring an EPA label for use on giant salvinia. As I understand, they are still conducting experimental trials and working on ways to ramp up production at this time. However, let me remind everyone that EPA requires loads of statistical testing/reports in their consideration. Conducting these trials is very costly and will take time, probably years. Our department will not use any herbicide for control of giant salvinia without a label stipulating its use for that plant.
Right now, we suspect the salvinia weevils did not survive the freeze events. We plan to reintroduce additional weevils later this summer pending their availability. Additional samples will be taken next week to confirm our suspicions.
We may need to close the gates again in the near future to remove the debris building up on the lake side.
Next week, we will conduct a meeting to consider herbicide treatments in the lake for 2010. I anticipate that as spring approaches, we will be putting crews out on the lake.