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What’s Wrong With Lake Bistineau?

Lake Bistineau, Ally Brooks

Every day on the drive home from Shreveport to Castor, I cross over Lake Bistineau. I remember crossing the beautiful lake as a child going to visit my grandparents who also lived in the same house I now live in. I always thought it was strange how a lake could be filled with trees. I lost my grandparents when I was very young, so crossing the lake every day, somehow gives me a sense of comfort and a feeling that everything is okay.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving back into Shreveport, I was shocked to see how low the lake was. I’d heard people say that efforts were being made to save Lake Bistineau, but I really had no idea what was going on.

According to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Lake Bistineau is over 6 feet below the normal level. This is on purpose in an effort to control giant salvinia.

What you see in the picture above is not grass…it’s giant salvinia which is native to Brazil. It is a free floating aquatic fern that grows so quickly that it is basically taking over the entire lake. There are extensive efforts that have been ongoing the last several years to treat it, but because of the unique qualities of the lake. The cypress trees make Lake Bistineau in particular more difficult to treat than other waters because what can kill the salvinia effectively can also kill the trees. I know many people in our community have their own fond memories and reasons why they love Lake Bistineau. Please share.  For more information about the efforts and how you can help, please check out the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website.

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