Bistineau Salvinia Reportedly Gets Sprayed

Bistineau's giant salvinia hit with herbicide treatment

According to Vickie Welborn                              Published in the Shreveport Times    

MINDEN ? Patches of giant salvinia not consumed in the more than month-long wildfires earlier this fall on the dry bottom of Lake Bistineau have been sprayed with herbicides in recent weeks by crews contracted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

And so far the results "look really good. It's all dying," biologist Evan Thames told Webster police jurors this week.

Only time and Mother Nature will determine the success of the latest eradication measure.

Thames estimates about 350 to 400 acres were treated; about 400 to 500 acres had been identified.

Up to three crews of LDWF employees are in clean-up mode, removing the decaying troublesome plant.

Any new sprouts are more susceptible to the winter weather. So the recent freezing temperatures ? "sheet ice" was observed on the lake Tuesday morning ? coupled with the herbicide should make an impact on what's left, Thames said.

Lake Bistineau has been plagued for many years with the invasive plant.

Before last year's draw down, about 4,500 acres of the17,000-acre lake were covered by the fast-growing weed.

Draw downs have been one of the best growth inhibitors, but the past year's extended lake lowering was compounded by drought-like conditions that left much of the lake bottom exposed and thus prime for fires.

"The length of the draw down was ridiculous," said Police Jury President Charlie Walker, who lives on its shores near Doyline. He complained the lack of water created an infestation of bugs and allowed other weeds to grow.

The lake has risen about 1.5 feet, Thames said, but the dam remains closed.

No decision has been made on future draw downs.

On a positive note, LDWF biologist supervisor James Seales said sampling indicates fish are doing well on the lake despite the draw down.

Crappie numbers are up and bream beds have been spotted during flyovers.

And two pockets of federal funds totaling $700,000 will be used to extend the boat ramp at the Port of Bistineau and create a park.

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