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Aug 16, 2010 8:39 AM by Sharlee Barriere

False River Drawdown Postponed

NEW ROADS, La. (AP) - The plan to lower False River's water
levels to improve the decaying lake's water quality has been
postponed indefinitely, state officials said.
Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife
and Fisheries, said he chose to cancel the drawdown pending the
completion of an ongoing study being done by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers.
Once the study is finished, the agencies will work together to
implement the study's recommendations, Barham said.
The study has two parts, said Nick Sims, project manager with
the corps. The issues are how to stop the large amounts of
sediments pouring into False River from nearby drainage canals and
how to remove the sediments already settled on the lakebed causing
massive buildups of organic matter, or muck, that is choking out
vegetation and making it difficult for fish to spawn.
The corps study started in 2001, but has been plagued by stops
and starts as the agency competes for funding with other projects
nationwide, Sims said.
If the corps can secure the necessary $400,000, the study should
be done by November 2011, he said.
Representatives from the corps and Wildlife and Fisheries said
they plan to meet sometime this month to plan how to move forward.
Officials from both agencies said a drawdown could be a part of
the solution.
LDWF has conducted several drawdowns over the years on more than
30 lakes statewide.
By lowering a lake's water levels, sunlight can shine through to
the bottom helping to decompose the built-up muck on the lakebed.
In Pointe Coupee Parish, officials say the health of False River
is directly related to the health of the parish's economy.
Local governing bodies rely on the lake's recreational users and
fishermen to pump money into the economy.
The parish also relies on property taxes collected from the
owners of homes and businesses built around the lake.
The Pointe Coupee Police Jury last week voted to request money
from the state to put the parish in a better position to act once
the corps study is finished.
The parish will request $400,000 for the corps to finish its
lake study and $2.5 million the parish's 35 percent matching funds
requirement of the estimated $7.5 million the corps expects will be
needed to put the plans for the lake into action.

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