The drawdown of Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier and Bienville parishes of Louisiana will start on Monday.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled the drawdown to reduce further expansion of giant salvinia. The drawdown will additionally benefit fisheries production by improving aquatic habitat and reducing the amount of organic matter on the lake bottom.
LDWF has requested the Department of Transportation and Development open the water control structure. Once the water control structure is open, the lake should dewater at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per day until it reaches a potential maximum drawdown level of 8 feet below pool stage. This dewater rate could be impacted, however, by local rainfall in the surrounding watershed. During the drawdown, the department will monitor aquatic habitat conditions to determine the best time to conclude the drawdown and allow the lake to refill for early spring recreational activities.
The public is reminded to be aware that the department will be installing floating boom during the drawdown for experimental purposes. The boom is intended to collect floating aquatic vegetation to allow for more effective herbicide spraying. The boom is highly visible and will be marked to indicate areas for easy boat passage.
LDWF’s Lake Bistineau Waterbody Management Plan is designed to provide as much use of the lake as possible prior to water levels dropping. However, during the summer, salvinia growth is at its peak. Due to the lake’s large watershed and giant salvinia’s rapid growth capability, the likelihood of a drawdown being effective for the management of salvinia is reduced with a later start date.
During the drawdown, an estimated 10,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters can still access the lake during the drawdown from the following public boat launches: Port of Bistineau Launch, Bossier Public Launch, Grice’s, and Bayou Dorcheat Public Launch. Boaters are advised to use caution during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance of underwater obstructions.
The drawdown is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve the Lake Bistineau sport fishery. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system. Herbicide applications will continue during the drawdown period.