LDWF schedules drawdown for Saline Lake (Natchitoches and Winn Parishes)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has scheduled a drawdown of Saline Lake (Natchitoches and Winn Parishes) for giant salvinia control, organic reduction, and fish habitat improvement. The drawdown is designed to reduce the further expansion of salvinia as summertime temperatures promote maximum growth.

The water control structure is scheduled to open on June 17, 2024, and the lake should dewater at a rate of 4 inches per day. The water level will be lowered to a maximum drawdown level of 8 feet below normal pool stage, depending on the Red River Pool 3 water level. The Saline Lake control gates are scheduled for closure on October 1, 2024, to allow the lake to refill for fall, winter, and early-spring recreational activities.

During the drawdown, an estimated 2,500-3,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters may still access the main waterbody from the Mulligan Inn Boat Ramp with small craft, but caution is advised as numerous obstructions that are normally not a problem may become hazards.

This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation and to improve access for recreational activities. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system.

Drawdowns are timed to take advantage of prevalent late summer, fall, and winter weather patterns. If favorable weather patterns do not occur, the effectiveness of the drawdown is reduced. For this reason, some drawdowns are very successful, while others can be less effective.

The current LDWF Saline Lake Aquatic Vegetative Management Plan can be viewed at:  https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Resources/Publications/Freshwater_Inland_Fish/Aquatic-Vegetation-Control-Plans/Saline-Lake-AVCP-2021.pdf