The Louisiana Wildlife Federation has voiced concern about the lake’s water levels and the implications for managing this important water body. In particular, the lake is an important early-season habitat for waterfowl in the Mississippi Flyway and provides significant food after its annual drawdown in the summer. The delta should be accessible for hunting if its water level rises. Here are some tips to monitor the water level in the lake.
The LSU AgCenter has been working with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to understand the causes of the lake’s large annual fluctuation in water level. The Lake has been designated an important Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. This means that it is crucial for wildlife habitat and conservation. To help manage the lake’s water level, researchers are studying the hydrologic processes controlling the annual fluctuation in the lake’s water level.
Dams and levees have decreased the natural flood patterns around the lake. These structures have changed the flows of rivers and altered the connectivity between them and the lake. The dam and locks of the Black River permanently inundated Lake Michigan when they were completed in 1972. Since then, the lake’s water level has declined significantly. This is particularly concerning for residents in the immediate vicinity. This situation has resulted in the destruction of wetlands.
The Louisiana Wildlife Federation sent a letter of comment to agencies responsible for managing the lake’s water level. This letter was circulated to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The objective of the water management plan is to create a habitat for waterfowl and water birds. The water level is also vital to human life.
Researchers at the AgCenter modified a model in order to estimate wave action in the lake. The strength of the wave force was affected by water depth and wind speed, according to the researchers at the AgCenter. These results will be incorporated into a new model of historical lake water level variability to determine how much water management may have an impact on wave action. This research should inform the development of water management strategies for the lake. If they do, the researchers will be able to determine the water level reversals that are most likely to reduce wave action.
The lower limit of the lake’s water level is controlled by the Red-Atchafalaya-Mississippi River system. These changes have reduced the frequency of backwater flooding by 42% since the early 1800s. However, the lake’s hydrological regime has been affected by the operation of the water control structure. The lake levels are now lower in high-water springs and less fluctuating during dry periods. The lower water level encourages the growth of woody vegetation.