Drawdown of False River improving water quality

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury recently approved a drawdown schedule for False River that will call for the oxbow lake’s water level to be significantly reduced by as much as 5.5 feet for the next four months. The drawdown began Sept. 5 and will be maintained through Jan. 15, 2018.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recommended the lake’s water level be lowered this year to reduce turbidity (cloudiness or haziness which is an indicator of water quality) and expose more of the lakebed to sunlight, helping to dissolve the heavy build-up of sediment beneath the water.
Drawdowns are commonly used in many lakes across the state to increase sports fish reproduction and aquatic vegetation growth.
State Rep. Major Thibaut noted that the drawdown is part of a far-reaching restoration effort for False River that began in 2012, under the direction of the False River Watershed Council.

The water level at False River will be significantly reduced by as much as 5.5 feet over the next four months. The drawdown began Sept. 5 and will be maintained through Jan. 15, 2018, as part of the restoration effort to improve water quality which began in 2012.

The water level at False River will be significantly reduced by as much as 5.5 feet over the next four months. The drawdown began Sept. 5 and will be maintained through Jan. 15, 2018, as part of the restoration effort to improve water quality which began in 2012.

“The issues affecting False River are multifaceted and have developed over many years. We know that an effective plan must factor in all of these issues, and it must be structured to manage the ecosystem over the long term,” Thibaut said. “I am excited about our progress and the spirit of cooperation we are getting at all levels. We all have a common goal to restore False River to its glory so future generations can continue to enjoy and benefit from it.”
This year’s drawdown is the third time the lake’s water level has been lowered over the past five years as part of the restoration efforts. The LDWF has recommended to the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury to repeat the drawdowns around this same time in 2020, 2023 and 2026.
Positive results have already been reported with the first two drawdowns. Vast amounts of aquatic vegetation growth and solidification of parts of the lakebed have occurred, and those improvements make it better for sports fish to lay eggs and replenish their populations, according to a LDWF study.
Other recent improvements to the lake include dredging in parts of the south end of the lake and the creation of a 16.5-acre containment dike island with the dredged material. A similar project to move sediment in the North Flats area is currently underway. At the same time, modifications and weirs have been proposed for the M-1 canal, and the council is awaiting the completion of a hydrology study and permits for similar action in the M-2 canal.
The LDWF has carried out several fish stockings, improved fish spawning areas, and re-established commercial fishing seasons in False River to remove rough fish that act as competition for sport fish.
Thibaut notes that approximately $4 million in state capital outlay funds and grants have paid for the much-needed improvements to the lake.