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Story Archives: Drawdown of Turkey Creek Lake continues
|Drawdown of Turkey Creek Lake continues|
Despite earlier estimates from Louisiana Wildlife and Fishery officials that the drawdown of Turkey Creek Lake had eliminated 95 percent of the waterway's giant salvinia infestation, the lake is still being drained.
The drawdown, which started May 17 was supposed to have ended in June with the lake's water level to be brought down about five feet.
Water levels are now around nine feet below normal and still declining in an effort to rid Turkey Creek Lake of giant salvinia — the free-floating vegetation that threatens fish at the popular sportsman's retreat.
"A lot of people are mad at the police jury, but we don't have any control over this. We had agreed on no more than five to six feet, but we don't have control over the lake — Wildlife and Fisheries does," said Franklin Parish Police Jury President Ricky Campbell, who represents the Turkey Creek district.
Recent inspections of the lake by state officials revealed that the plant still posed a danger to fish, so the planned drawdown will continue for now, Campbell said, until it can be determined that the salvinia in gone.
In December, the Franklin Parish Police Jury approved the lowering of water levels at Turkey Creek Lake to dry out vegetation accumulations.
State officials had warned jurors that the rapid growth vegetation had the potential to obliterate wildlife populations in the lake if left unchecked.
While water levels are low, the parish workers are busy cutting cypress tree stumps from the lake to make it more assessable to fishermen when waters return to normal levels, which is expected to occur sometime this fall.
Jurors also hope to work on other projects to improve the lake, like extend the landing at the parish's RV park or digging out around the landing so boats can be launched more easily.
Money left over for park development could be used to fund the projects, parish officials said.
The drawdown should also allow Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development officials a needed opportunity to inspect the lake's dam, which they say is badly in need of repair.
Wildlife officials don't know how the giant salvinia made its way to Louisiana, but speculate that it could have grown from people dumping the plant, which is often used in aquariums, into waterways. The plant can be transferred from waterway to waterway by clinging to boats, officials said.
Parish officials said it is uncertain how long the drawdown will last.