The salvinia struggle

KMSS-TV
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 8:53pm

For many fishermen and boater, salvinia is a complete nuisance, getting stuck in motors and closing off parts of likes like Lake Bistineau.

Seeing the frustration of people, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries knew they needed to do something to help with the salvinia struggle.

The aquatic weed can look pretty, but its exponential growth makes it hard to combat. There are very few things that eat or will kill salvinia, making it even harder to treat.

Currently, 4,000 acres of Lake Bistineau are covered by salvinia; three weeks ago, the fern covered just 1,500 acres.

While a tough plant, the fern needs water to survive, leading WLF to believe a drawdown on Lake Bistineau could be a possible treatment for the salvinia.

There are no solutions for the salvinia taking over the take, so management and maintenance are important for keeping the lake not entirely covered by the aquatic weed.

*Below is the release from WLF regarding the draw down at Lake Bistineau.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will initiate a drawdown on Lake Bistineau within the coming week in its attempt to address the spread of giant salvinia, an invasive aquatic weed, which tends to proliferate as summertime temperatures increase.

Based on a recent aerial survey, plant coverage currently exceeds 4,000 acres, creating the need for an immediate drawdown.

Most salvinia in Lake Bistineau is currently confined to the upper reaches of the impoundment by thick standing timber. Floating boom material has also been deployed as a precautionary measure to prevent the plant from drifting downstream. The boom also concentrates the plants, making herbicide applications more efficient.

The drawdown plans include a dewatering of 4 to 6 inches per day, not to exceed 7 feet below normal pool stage. Following an initial drying period of 60 days, the control gates will be operated for minor water fluctuations to isolate additional salvinia plants. The gates will be closed no later than November 30, 2013, to allow the lake to refill.

The lake will not be closed to fishing during the drawdown, but caution is advised of boaters during the low water period as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions.

During the drawdown period, an estimated 8,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters will be able to access the lake from the following public boat launches: Port of Bistineau Launch, Bossier Public Launch, Grice’s and Bayou Dorcheat Public Launch.

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