St. Martin

Aug 26, 2014 10:46 PM by Kari Beal

Water lowers at Henderson Lake to control hydrilla

Multiple Louisiana agencies are teaming together to address an invasive plant that is killing the ecosystem in Henderson Lake.

It's called hydrilla and it thrives in shallow waters. The parish has tried to control it by spraying herbicides, but the plant still prevailed. Now St. Martin Parish government along with multiple state agencies are teaming up to destroy the plant, but with a different tactic---lowering the water levels to six or seven inches. When the water levels are this low the plant dries
out from too much sun exposure.

The drainage began Friday and will continue through November 1st.

"Hydrilla is the most detrimental plant in the state," Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette said.

It's a pesky plant that is thriving right below the surface of Henderson Lake.

"There are two things that can put oxygen in the water: the sun and the wind. This takes it away," Collette said.

This means plants, fish and even animals start to die from overgrowth of hydrilla.

"The re-germination period is September and October," Collette said.

That's why the state is attacking the plant now, to stop it from re-producing.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents are to destroying the hydrilla by gradually lowering the water levels at Henderson Lake. The water is being released through nearby docks and into lower parts of the river.

"This plant can be exposed to the sun 4-6 weeks maybe 8 weeks maximum and then all of this here will turn to powder," Collette said.

Boaters are being asked to slow down in the lower water.

"I'd say 20 miles per hour, but if they don't have to, I'd go lower than that," Collette said.

Collette said the process won't completely kill the plant this year, but the goal is to at least have it contained. Water will be pumped back into the lake fur duck season in November.

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