By Tina Montgomery
Residents living around Lake Bistineau can be assured a recent problem that happened when DOTD (Department of Transportation & Development) was clearing debris at the spillway has been resolved.
According to Erin Buchanan, Public Information Officer for LA DOTD, the DOTD was assisting the LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) at the spillway clearing accumulated debris when the machine that is used to open and close the gates malfunctioned. The machine is portable so there was no malfunction of the gates at the spillway.
The machine has been repaired and the clearing operation has been completed as reported by Buchanan on October 6.
“The lake is still in an active drawdown period, meaning all drawdown gates are open,” Buchanan said. “DOTD only operates and maintains the dam structure. We don’t make determinations on when to initiate or end a drawdown. That is done by LDWF. Once they decide a date, they contact us and request that we open or close the gates.”
Jeff Sibley, LDWF Biologist Manager, said clearing debris around the gates is done several times a year, every year. He also confirmed the gates are open and water is flowing properly. Sibley also cautioned lake residents they should not attempt to help clear any debris they notice at the gates.
“It’s just not a safe area,” Sibley said. “DOTD and LDWF will address and correct any problems noted or reported. They don’t need to be around there. Not only is it dangerous, but people could be charged with trespassing by DOTD.”
When asked if the LDWF had a projected date to end this year’s drawdown Sibley said they will evaluate that this winter and decide when to end the drawdown. Drawdown gates are not the same as flood gates and are not designed to function as such. Drawdown gates are designed to lower the lake level at a steady rate over a period of time, while flood gates can be opened and closed to quickly adjust levels on a body of water.
For more information about lake drawdowns go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/ldwf-schedules-drawdown-for-lake-bistineau-2022 .