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Story Archives: End near for Turkey Creek drawdown
|End near for Turkey Creek drawdown|
The Turkey Creek Lake dam will be sealed on Sunday, Aug. 15, ending the three month drawdown to eradicate the waterway's giant salvinia infestation, according to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries officials.
The drawdown started on May 17 and the lake's water level was brought down nine feet in an effort to kill the free-floating vegetation that threatened the fish population. Fisheries manager Evan Thames said that game fish were not harmed by the drawdown, which helped to kill off populations of unwanted fish — Asian carp and paddlefish — along with the salvinia.
"No significant number of game fish were impacted. There is eight to 12 feet of water, depending on where you are in the channel south of the bridge. That's plenty of water for the average game fish to survive in," Thames said.
The Franklin Parish Police Jury approved the lowering of water levels at Turkey Creek Lake in December to dry out vegetation accumulations after state officials had warned jurors that the rapidly growing salvinia had the potential to obliterate wildlife populations in the lake if left unchecked.
The drawdown has also allowed parish workers to cut cypress tree stumps from the lake to make it more accessible to fishermen when waters return to normal levels.
Jurors also hope to work on other projects to improve the lake while water levels are low, such as extending the landing at the parish's RV park or digging out around the landing so boats can be launched more easily.
Parish officials would use money left over for park development to fund the projects.
The drawdown should also allow repairs on the lake's dam, with money La. Rep. Noble Ellington is hoping to come from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
"We are thinking that we have found a couple of hundred of thousands of dollars to do it with, with the parish to do the work," Ellington said. "I think we are in pretty good shape with the dam. It looks like we will get the money, when there was a time when it looked like we wouldn't."
How long it will take the lake to fill back up is anybody's guess, Thames said.
"It's all going to depend on the amount of rain we get," he said.
While the salvinia problem seems under control, officials said the lake would be drawn down in five year rotations to keep it healthy.
Fisheries 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