The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has scheduled a draw-down of Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier, and Bienville parishes for the purpose of reducing further expansion of giant salvinia.
The draw-down will additionally benefit fisheries production by improving aquatic habitat and reducing the amount of organic matter on the lake bottom. The water control structure is tentatively scheduled to be opened sometime between July 15 and July 31, 2019, depending on nuisance vegetation conditions on the lake.
LDWF’s Lake Bistineau Water-body Management Plan is designed to provide as much use of the lake as possible prior to water levels dropping. However, during the summer, salvinia growth is at its peak. Due to the lake’s large watershed and giant salvinia’s rapid growth capability, the likelihood of an effective draw-down is reduced with a later start date.
The public will be notified as soon as an exact date is determined.
Once the water control structure is open, the lake will dewater at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per day until it reaches a potential maximum draw-down level of 8 feet below pool stage. During the draw-down, the department will monitor aquatic habitat conditions to determine the best time to conclude the draw-down and allow the lake to refill for early spring recreational activities.
During the draw-down, an estimated 10,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters can still access the lake during the draw-down from the following public boat launches: Port of Bistineau Launch, Bossier Public Launch, Grice’s and Bayou Dorcheat Public Launch. Boaters are advised to use caution during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance of underwater obstructions.
The draw-down is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve the Lake Bistineau sport fishery. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system. Herbicide applications will continue during the draw-down period.