August 22, 2011 - Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the Department will not authorize the opening of the Nantachie Lake Spillway to allow water from the Red River to backfill the lake.
LDWF officials had been contacted by Louisiana Senator Gerald Long, R-District 31 stressing the urgent need to backfill Nantachie Lake in order to ease the impacts of recent drought conditions. After a careful review, several factors influenced the Department’s decision, including information from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s (DOTD) Dam Safety Division that the spillway structure was not designed for backflow from the river. According to DOTD, the 47-year old structure does not have a brush rack on the river side and would suffer significant damage during closure if debris lodges in the gate channel, breaking the cast iron gates. Officials with LDWF are worried that without a brush rack in place, debris will lodge in the gates and could hinder, or even prevent, the gates closure. The result could be a loss of ability to control water from leaving the lake causing further fisheries impacts.
In addition to complications with the dam structure, LDWF fisheries biologists are concerned that allowing backfill of the Red River into the Nantachie Lake may expose the lake to invasive species such as zebra mussels and several Asian carp species. These invasive species may have long-term impacts on the lake that could affect the lake’s overall health in years to come.
For both the possible biological implications of introducing invasive species into the lake as well as the DOTD concerns for the integrity of the structure, LDWF will not be able to agree to the request to open the Nantachie Lake Spillway.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.