Long term options to slow Lake Bistineau salvinia spread

Long term options to slow Lake Bistineau salvinia spread

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries weighing two habitat modifications.
Since 2006 giant salvinia has been choking the surface of Lake Bistineau in northwest Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries has had limited success controlling the free floating plant using a combination of lake drawdowns, herbicide spraying and weevils. The search for a long term solution continues and two options have emerged. The construction of a new water control device and the removal of much of the lake's abundant timber.

A new spillway at Loggy Bayou would allow for greater drawdown flexibility on an annual basis. It would also allow drawdowns deeper than the current 7 feet giving crews easier access for timber removal. The cypress tree canopies on Lake Bistineau limit waves and wind from naturally pushing salvinia to the shoreline.

Mike Wood, Director of Inland Fisheries with LDWF says the long term options have drawbacks and would expensive. "There is a lot of negative public opinion about cutting a cypress tree in Louisiana so that's a big thing," he says. Wood says salvinia is now impacting 40 waterways in Louisiana. The spread of salvinia has grown from 21 acres to 225 acres on Cypress Black Bayou this summer.

District 8 Republican, Rep. Jeff Thompson, says he will introduce a bill that charges oil and gas companies for the water they take out of the lake.  "What we need is money to address this problem and i'll be introducing a bill that says the state shouldn't be giving away money in the form of water from Lake Bistineau, Cypress Black Bayou or anywhere else," he says.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries analysis of proposed habitat modifications at Lake Bistineau can be viewed here.

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