Salvinia eating weevils will soon have a new home on Lake Bistineau, thanks to volunteer efforts and the generosity of individuals who live on the lake.
Pete Camp, member-at-large of the Bistineau Task Force (BTF) and head of the volunteer group responsible for placing weevils at various locations in the lake, said two individuals had donated greenhouses to help accommodate the tiny bugs.
During Thursday’s meeting of the BTF, Camp said one donated greenhouse frame, measuring 21×46 feet, has already been moved to lakefront property on Camp Bistineau Rd.
“We’re ready to put plastic over the top,” Camp said. “People really came together to make this happen. We will have our own weevils coming from the greenhouse in the next two to three weeks.”
Another Lake Bistineau property owner, who had purchased a Shreveport nursery, donated a pair of greenhouses, each measuring 30×80 feet. Camp said some dirt work would be necessary to set the pair but a local construction company is donating heavy equipment and operators to get the job done.
“We’re going to build a boat ramp on the property. Once that is done, we will have more greenhouse space than at Caddo Lake, we will be closer to the water and have our own boat ramp. We will be a state of the art facility in the next few months,” Camp said.
When to release a new batch of weevils will be determined at a later date, Camp said.
“In winter, all you try to do is keep them alive. We want to be ready to put then in the lake in early Spring when the water gets above 65 degrees. We want to start establishing our weevils and not have to transport them,” he added.
Camp also said the volunteer group handling the distribution of weevils has obtained a non-profit status, appointed a seven-member board of directors and will add an advisory panel of up to 10 people. All members are property owners on Lake Bistineau, “…who will be doing what’s best for the lake,” he said.
Jeff Sibley with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries told the group his department would be issuing next week a new contract for chemically spraying the salvinia. For now, workers are in what he called “…a typical winter pattern on the lake.”
Sibley fielded questions from some attending the meeting concerning clearing debris from the dam’s gates.
“That is an ongoing thing,” he said. “If you have a lake with woods, you will have debris. We clean debris a week before the gates open, then clean the gates a couple of times each year. It just isn’t economically feasible to do it continually. We clear it so the gates can physically go up and down.”
Sibley fielded several questions from individuals attending the meeting about continued debris pileup at the dam and the seeming lack of success in the fight to control or eradicate salvinia in the lake.
Glenn Benton, Bossier Parish Police Jury member who sits on the BTF, said he agreed with an earlier statement from LDWF biologist Kevin House that an important factor is the lake is open for recreational activities.
“These people have a small staff and the key here is we’re keeping the lake open to recreation,” Benton said. “I don’t think people should be beating up the Wildlife and Fisheries people who are doing the best they can with what they have. They’re keeping the lake open for use. That’s what we ask them to do and they’re doing it.”