Today, Lake D’Arbonne stands at 80.6 feet, about six tenths of a foot above pool stage. Projections are for it to stay above pool for the rest of the month. That’s pretty unusual for June. But it’s a good thing. A full lake not only looks better, but it’s good for the fishing, especially upstream on D’Arbonne and Corney where a foot of water makes a bigger difference in a lot of areas. Rains early this week will pretty well ensure that.
I have had several questions recently about what the lake commission decided to do with the tainter gate operation. At its last meeting, the commission had a discussion and plenty of public input on how to better manage the new $6 million tainter gate facility. The gate has only been used once, but it did prevent flooding of homes. It seems that no matter how it’s done, everybody won’t be happy, but there is one fact for sure — this gate will allow the lake level to be managed better than in the past.
The key word there is better. In case you don’t realize it, Mother Nature is pretty much in charge of managing the lake level on Lake D’Arbonne, USA.
There are times when there is just so much rain that the water is going to back up into some yards and over some low-lying piers and boat docks. It has for 50 years. My hope is that the new facility will allow those in charge to keep the water out of people’s HOUSES! There will probably still be extreme conditions that could let that happen, but hopefully not.
There are other concerns besides the lake level itself. As we found out the hard way the first time the gate was used, there can be consequences downstream, too. Too much water let out too quickly damaged a heavily used public road that will be expensive to repair. It also cut off access for a lot of residents who travel that road. Dropping water levels too quickly in the spring can also set back fish spawning — even stop it — in some cases. That can affect fishing success for several years. The Wildlife and Fisheries are involved — and rightfully so — in any final decision of how and when to use the gate. With the age of the original spillway and the lack of dependability of the old gates, that makes this device much more important.
Here’s my two cents worth: The gate is going to help a lot. The exact procedures to best utilize it will take some time to develop, but it’s a lot more complex than just opening a gate or flipping a switch. Be patient as the powers that be learn to use it. And remember who’s really in charge (if you already forgot, see above)…