The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will initiate a drawdown on Saline Lake in Winn Parish on July 1, 2014, to control nuisance aquatic vegetation.
Based on a recent aquatic plant survey, the aquatic weed giant salvinia currently covers 1,200 acres of the lake and is concentrated in heavily forested areas. These areas are difficult to treat with spray equipment, and as a result they serve as nursery grounds for the plant.
Drawdown recommendations include a dewatering of 2 inches per day until the lake reaches 4 feet below spillway crest height. Dewatering will then increase to 4 inches per day until the lake reaches a level of 8 feet below spillway crest height. This staggered approach will prevent causing fish kills downstream.
After reaching the target drawdown level, a large-scale herbicide treatment will be applied. Fluridone, an EPA approved herbicide, will be injected into the water at a specific treatment rate and must remain at an appropriate concentration for at least 30 days to be successful. The treatment is not a threat to human health or animals; however, lake water should not be used for irrigation during the treatment period.
Results are dependent on weather conditions, with minimal rainfall resulting in the best results. Excess rainfall can dilute to the concentration to an ineffective level, so whole-water treatments are not applied on a regular basis. Weather conditions will also determine the gate closure date, which may be as soon as early fall if results are seen quickly. However, the gates will close no later than November 20, 2014, to allow the lake to refill.
The lake will not be closed to fishing during the drawdown, but caution is advised of boaters during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions. During the drawdown, boaters will be able to access the lake from Mulligan’s Inn Boat Ramp on Parish Road.