Lake Bistineau September 10, 2009 Update


Our friends at DOTD alerted us last week that they will require an additional week to finish their work behind the spillway.  The structure is their responsibility, so we will wait patiently for this work to be completed and look forward to Wednesday, Sept. 16 to begin the drawdown.

Once the drawdown begins, our team will begin a new phase of investigating the issues that plague Lake Bistineau.  Most of you who use the lake are aware that there are back water areas that don’t dewater with a 7 foot drawdown.  Essentially, these areas are cut off from main channels and serve as nurseries for giant salvinia.  This situation is unacceptable if we are to gain control of the plant.  It will be vital for our team to evaluate these areas to understand what can be done.

The complexity of the terrain and sheer number of these areas will make reconnaissance difficult, especially in the upper reaches of the lake.  While much of this work will be performed by ground crews, some of the work will be coordinated with aerial surveys.  Large areas will receive the highest priority.

There is a still lot to be understood, and the answers seem to come in steps.  Obviously, getting the water down is a giant step.  

Mark McElroy
Fisheries Biologist

Lake Bistineau August 31, 2009 Update


The development of the management plan to control giant salvinia in Lake Bistineau is progressing and some form of plan draft is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks.  Each week, new information is being gathered and processed by the department’s biological staff in an effort to make sound recommendations that bring about plant control for the long term at reasonable and predictable costs.

This web site is our primary tool in keeping the public informed about giant salvinia and activities planned for its control on Lake Bistineau.  We are aware that the plant is growing unabated due to the fact that all foliar herbicide treatments were curtailed.  It was determined that these treatments were not effective in controlling giant salvinia expansion.  The next slated action is the lake drawdown scheduled for Tuesday, September 8.  It is expected to take five to six weeks to lower the lake seven feet.  Other actions are being considered and will be publicized once there is an approved draft management plan. 

While I understand the frustration many of you are experiencing, I wish to remind you that I have only been working on this issue for approximately five weeks.  I remain optimistic that the plan will provide a level of control that is much better than what you’ve been experiencing over the past several years.  Make no mistake, the disease, if you will, is far worse and much more complicated than most are willing acknowledge.  Lake Bistineau’s problems lie beyond the giant salvinia plague, and therefore the solution is complex and requires a comprehensive approach to obtain desirable results.

Much of my optimism results from the positive discussions I’ve had with many parties who have expressed an interest in playing a meaningful role in controlling giant salvinia in Lake Bistineau.  This includes every member of the legislative delegation who claims Lake Bistineau in their districts, as well as others who have constituents that use the lake.  I’ve also had productive meetings with the Louisiana Office of State Parks, Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Louisiana State Land Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and individual lake bottom and front land owners.  The expertise of all mentioned here, as well as others, will play a significant role in our success.   

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the issues.

Mark McElroy
Fisheries Biologist

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