Aerial spraying of Lake Bistineau salvina expected to take place soon.

Local

Aerial spraying of herbicide on Lake Bistineau was postponed Thursday, as wind speed was too high over the lake. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will retry spraying a 500 acre growth of giant salvinia by helicopter soon.

The area targeted for spraying Thursday was Catfish Pond, an area LDWF Fisheries Biologist Manager, Jeff Sibley, says is one of the worst spots for salvinia growth on the lake.

“It’s an ongoing problem, it’s unfortunate, you know if we had the silver bullet or the magic wand, we would use it,” he says.

All 13 lakes Sibley manages have some degree of salvinia growth, and he says Bistineau is not the worst. 

A drawdown of the lake water level began early this year as salvinia covered 3,000 acres of the Bistineau in May. By July the total coverage had been reduced to 800 acres. 

In 2018 Bistineau will go on a set drawdown schedule, beginning the 3rd Monday in July and continuing until November 30th.

“Everything’s about trying to minimize the impact, really minimize salvinia going into the Spring and have as much enjoyment as we can of the lakes and waters during the prime time of the year,” Sibley says.

LDWF will continue a management program of drawdowns, herbicides, biologic control, and will consider any other viable options. Over 3 million weevils (tiny salvinia eating beetles) have been released on Bistineau, but they are having a difficult time surviving.  

“We just haven’t had much impact from the, our winters are simply too long and too cold where if it’s not direct mortality, they’re unable to reproduce and remain at high enough population to have an effect on salvinia,” says Sibley. 

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