New plan to save the lakes
BATON ROUGE - Thursday, experts revealed the master plan to save the Baton Rouge Lakes around LSU.
The plans focus much attention on water quality. Current, shallow lakes are contributing to the problem of the lakes drying up.
"They're silting in, too many nutrients are getting into the lakes," Shannon Blakeman, the director of the landscape architecture firm involved, said. "If we don't do something about it, the lakes will disappear."
The plan to do something could cost as much as $40 million to $45 million. It involves dredging the lakes, digging out sediment and cleaning the water. Blakeman hopes new wildlife will inhabit a rejuvenated lake system.
"We've got the pelicans and they're great but there's an opportunity to do a lot more. It's going to take some time, but we need to get started and this is the time and place to get started."
Desingers believe deepening the lakes, increasing water quality and adding paths for walkers and runners along the sides will help increase use and bring even more people to the popular spot.
"This is a natural asset in the middle of the city which you don't see very often and we want to enhance that," Blakeman said.
Options for expanded recreational activities include fishing, paddle boating, and even running around the lakes.
"Right now, the lakes are being utilized in ways they were never intended to be utilized. When they were initially built, people weren't running around the lakes. They weren't canoeing or kayaking. Those things are happening," said Blakeman. "In a lot of ways we need to respond to how people are using the lakes to create opportunities for people to use them in a way that satisfies their needs but also maintains the wildlife habitats and enhances the things that we want to keep. "