Home » LDFW schedules drawdown for Lake Bistineau

LDFW schedules drawdown for Lake Bistineau

by Russell Hedges

By Rene LeBreton, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has requested that the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) begin a drawdown of Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier, and Bienville parishes on Monday, July 29, 2024 for the purpose of reducing further expansion of giant salvinia.

The drawdown will also benefit fisheries populations. LDWF will continue to monitor giant salvinia conditions in the lake in case adjustments to this date are necessary. 

Once the water control structure is open, the lake should dewater at a rate of 4 to 6 inches per day until it reaches a potential maximum drawdown level of 8 feet below pool stage.

This dewater rate could be impacted, however, by local rainfall in the surrounding watershed. The drawdown gates are scheduled to be closed on November 15, 2024 to allow the lake to refill in time for part of waterfowl season and early spring recreational activities.

Herbicide applications will continue, even during the drawdown period. LDWF began herbicide efforts in early April and have continued to put significant resources toward the giant salvinia issue.

During the early June 2024 evaluation of the lake, it was estimated that approximately 640 acres of matted salvinia were present on the lake in various locations.

While this estimate is less than the June 2023 estimate, very warm temperatures have allowed salvinia to expand on the lake even in the presence of continued herbicide applications.
Regular herbicide applications will be conducted in order to maintain as much public access and recreation on the lake as possible during the summer and prior to the start of the drawdown.

During the drawdown, an estimated 10,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters can still access the lake during the drawdown 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 drawdown 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. The Lake Bistineau Waterbody Management Plan can be viewed at:  https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/resources/category/freshwater-inland-fish/inland-waterbody-management-plans
For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Jeff Sibley, LDWF Biologist Manager, at [email protected] or 318- 371-5294.

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