Drying up and overgrown, LSU lakes project hitting a snag as it nears key milestone

1 month 2 days 4 hours ago Tuesday, August 29 2023 Aug 29, 2023 August 29, 2023 6:43 PM August 29, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The blanket of purple flowers all over the University Lakes may look beautiful, but it's actually harmful.

Water hyacinthconsidered to be one of the world's most invasive aquatic plantshas always been in the lakes, but the reason it's so abundant this year has to do with the work going on.

"Our crews raking the lakes have stirred some of that up, and the work that's going on with the I-10 project. They built a weir across the lake under the interstate, so it's not allowing that stuff to flow back down to the southern end of City Park Lake," project manager Mark Goodson said.

The Lakes Project is still in phase one but has been full speed ahead. Crews have worked pulling out woody debris to prepare for dredging, but a recent setback has caused them to slow down.

A low water level caused by the drought and high temperatures is exposing a lot of the lake bed, and it's making it harder for crews to do their job.

"It's more difficult for them to float their equipment, so it's just taking a little more work, a little more time to move equipment around where they need to go," Goodson said. 

Even with the delay, the long-awaited dredging is set to start after Labor Day.

"They plan to start the hydraulic dredging, so they'll have the barges out there and start pumping material."

That dredging will vastly improve the health of the lakes by making them deeper, which will actually decrease the negative impacts of the water hyacinth.

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