The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says giant salvinia is still present in Lake Bistineau, but there is improvement from previous winters. North winds have pushed a large concentration of the salvinia to the south end of the lake and LDWF crews continue to routinely spray the invasive plants. Above normal rainfall in December has helped to raise the lake from low summer levels.
The first 2012 meeting of the 'Lake Bistineau Task Force' in Webster Parish brought visitors from the 'Caddo Lake Institute' in Texas. 'We're not talking to each other as much as we should and we're not sharing techniques, some things work, some don't,' says Caddo's, Jack Canson.
Lake Bistineau Task Force Chairman, Billy Montgomery, fears state budget cuts will hamper future efforts to contain salvinia on the lake. ''We have to save the lake, if we lose it again I'm afraid we'll never get it back,' he says.
LDWF still plans to implement a private spraying program for residents interested in controlling salvinia on their property. Plans are still up in the air but that training is likely to take place in late February at the LDWF office in Minden. A gallon of the salvinia spraying chemical will cost $48. The Task Force will explore fundraising efforts to raise money for private chemical purchases and a small boat.
The next meeting of the Lake Bistineau Task Force will take place on March 29th, 2012.