The Winn Parish Police Jury / Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the scheduled drawdown of Saline Lake, in Natchitoches and Winn parishes, starting approximately June 1, 2022. The primary purpose is to control the growth of giant Salvinia during the upcoming summer months when growth potential is at its highest. The 2021 WLF aquatic vegetation management plan can be found on the LDWF website (Fisheries-Publications and Brochures-Inland Vegetation Management Plans-Saline Lake, Winn Parish).
The lake will dewater at a rate of 3 to 4 inches per day until it reaches a target drawdown level of 8 feet below the normal pool stage. The control gates will close on approximately October 1, 2022, to allow the lake to refill for fall, winter and early spring recreational activities.
During the drawdown, an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 acres of water will remain in the lake. Boaters can still access the main waterbody from the Mulligan Inn Boat Ramp with small craft, but caution is advised. Numerous additional obstructions will be present due to the lower water level.
This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and improve access to recreational activities. An annual cycle of high and low water fluctuation can provide beneficial effects similar to a natural overflow lake system.
During the drawdown, property owners have the option to take advantage of the low water to repair boat docks, seawalls, boat slips, etc. However, a Corp of Engineer permit is required from the USACE Regulatory Branch for any such activities in and around Saline Lake before any work is started. Basically, a shovel cannot be placed in the lake bottom until a permit is obtained.
Saline Lake is considered a Section 10 waterbody, and any work conducted over, in, or under the lake would require permit authorization from the Regulatory Office of the USACE. Outside of the lake itself, any dredging or filling activities within a wetland or stream may also require authorization prior to the impact. You may contact your local Police Jury / Parish Government or the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission for help with your permit.