Mr.L wrote:Lreynolds, When does the grant money or time run out on the Catahoula Lake Restoration Project? The bed of Catahoula Lake does not dry up every year to do clearing work on the woody vegetation problem. All it takes is one four or five inch rain in late September or October and that's it for driving on the lake bed. All of the red tape for restoration work whether using the National Guard or some private enterprise has to be ready in advance. I assume that access is through the Catahoula Wildlife Refuge. That road is closed if it gets too wet. The water elm problem continues to worsen especially in the Big Bend area each year. Most of the areas that were opened up several years ago have already grown back up. If a wood pellet company would come in and clear it for free, I don't think anyone should complain about that. If the National Guard has to be used, that would work too. I just want to see progress on solving the woody vegetation problem. Thanks for your efforts.
You have hit on some big reasons why this is a difficult problem to tackle, why we are keeping the water level at 27.0 instead of 27.5 this year after 2 years of not being able to get out there on the lakebed, and some of the justification to experiment with drawdown dates in conjunction with dendrological research on water-elm in attempt to slow the encroachment through hydrology. I'm not sure how fruitful the varying hydrology will be at this point, especially given the tolerances of those species.
There is no grant money or time limit on Catahoula Lake; we are using duck stamp, federal aid, and conservation funds (LDWF's basic operating fund) for our work. If I can get a decent area cleared (say 100 acres) so we can measure the response, we would be able to quantify the effects on food production to support what I think would be a competitive NAWCA grant to fund clearing. I've been frustrated by our attempts/failures to get people out to demonstrate what they can do toward this issue. both in terms of weather, but also political climate. Last year, Sanchez Oil objected to our drawdown dates and used their political influence to force a later drawdown. This year we've had some success until the latest rain but have been taking all kinds of grief from teal hunters and their state representatives.