Lake Bistineau Spillway Gates to be Reopened
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries released a message concerning Lake Bistineau late this past week.
In the release, we learned that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has requested the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) to once again open the water control structure on Lake Bistineau in Webster, Bossier and Bienville parishes in an effort to benefit the department’s ongoing lake management efforts.
There was an above-average amount of rainfall in the Lake Bistineau watershed during August and September, and the lake did not reach its targeted low level during the 2020 drawdown. As a result, the water levels are currently higher than expected during typical drawdown conditions for this time of the year.
Let me catch you up on this reversal of decision. Back in July, Lake Bistineau's gates were opened as part of the routine schedule for drawdown. But, when there was so much rain in August and September that the lake had not fallen to the desired level, and the salvinia mats had gathered on the south end of the lake, it was decided to close the gates back in October in hopes the lake would rise and the mats would then wash over the spillway. Well, once the gates were closed, Mother Nature threw us another curve ball and decided to shut off the rain.
So now, because we didn't have the needed rainfall, they are now going back to the drawing board doing what they've done in previous years and reopening the gates.
Apparently, the LDWF has to request the DOTD to close, or in this case, open, the spillway gates. It was discussed that this could be done as early as this past Friday, December 18, but to the best of my knowledge, it's not been done yet.
Once re-opened, the gates are scheduled for closure on February 28, 2021, to allow the lake to refill. However, due to the extensive watershed flowing into the lake, it is possible that extensive rainfall will fill the lake prior to the selected closure date, even with the gates open. Certain water levels and conditions may require DOTD to close the gates to prevent damage to the dam and spillway structure.
If interested, the LDWF's integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and improve the Lake Bistineau sport fishery can be seen HERE.
Property owners appear to be up in arms in regards to the annual drawdowns of the lake, rightfully complaining that for months each year, they've lost total use of Lake Bistineau and that their "lakefront" property is actually hundreds of yards from the lake.
Their biggest complaint is that the annual drawdowns have been going on for years and appear to have very little influence on the reduction of the devastating salvinia, so they're ready for a new plan. I can't say that I blame them. I'm no genius but I do believe that Albert Einstein was on to something when he said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."