Lake Bistineau's Biggest Battle - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Lake Bistineau's Biggest Battle

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SHREVEPORT, La. - Lake Bistineau is considered one of the crown jewels of lake habitat here in the Ark La Tex. No one can argue the beauty of Lake Bistineau. The scenery combined with this haven for wildlife habitat and fishing are just captivating. But it's been years since the lake has been fully usable, thanks to salvinia. State officials continue their battle to manage this invasive weed.

Jeff Sibley is a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and tell KTBS "Lake Bistineau is one of those lakes. It's a cypress filled lake. It's a swamp habitat. The dam was put in an area that was a swamp before. That entails a lot of organic material. It's a very fertile area".

And that fertility has worked against the open waters of the lake in recent years. Top floating giant salvinia has thrived in the warm waters of Bistineau. Growing so thick as to choke or completely cover large areas. The lake is treated with herbicides year round. But this year thus far the decrease in the number acres of salvinia can be partly attributed to the weather.

Jeff Sibley explains "We have had a major helping hand by the cold and extended winter we had last year that has allowed us to have the lake usable and open with very few inconveniences for the public for the spring and early summer.”

So as a result the return of salvinia has been slower to produce this year. Some growth has returned but not nearly as much thanks to the Wildlife and Fisheries

That translates to more residents using the lake. And more dollars to the local economy such as the Downtown Koran Store.

Lynn Rambin is the store owner and explains sales are up "As far as our business is up 75 percent from the lake business from last year. Because the fishing has been really good. Gas for your boat. Snacks, drinks and ice. We just need to get out there and enjoy it because the salvinia trying to come back.”

And that is why state officials are taking advantage of the delayed start to the aquatic weed growing season. Stepping up efforts to manage salvinia now that the weather has warmed and the plants are increasing by larger numbers.

Jeff Sibley states "And so that's a combination of chemical control herbicide applications. Biological controls such as the salvinia weevil. Other research such as mechanical means such as boom containment devices, plus another course of action is a drawdown of Bistineau."

Sibley goes on to say "We are continuing to look into it. Our management plan is based on number of acres. When we hit a fifteen hundred target acreage is what we call that. We will consider a drawdown for the lake. Presently we are probably not at that acreage yet. A drawdown is likely to occur later this summer on the lake. The timing on that is not set yet.”

And store owner Lynn Rambin has some advice "With the lake being clear you and go out and you ski, you can tube, you can fish. The fishing great. You can wakeboard. Or you can just go ride your pontoon boat just like the song says!"

As of mid June 2014 the salvinia coverage on Bistineau is estimated at about 550 acres. That compares to almost 3900 acres of coverage in mid June of 2013. Lake Bistineau will be re-evaluated by Wildlife and Fisheries in mid July. As for now no decision for a drawdown has been determined.

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