Apr 17, 2013 7:44 PM by Akeam Ashford
Anticipating a summer drought, commercial and recreational fisherman will get much needed relief. After Governor Jindal's request, the Army Corps of Engineers will release more water into the Atchafalaya Basin to prevent fish from dying.
The water will come from the Old River Control Structure (ORCS) in Central Louisiana. Typically, 30% is released from ORCS, but according to the Department of Natural Resources, drought is anticipated to drop significantly. This year, the Corp will release 33% into the Basin. The percentage is based on water level records from 1959 through 2012.
Commercial fisherman, Wilvin Hayes, has lived on the basin for more than 74 years. "This lake here with good water is one of the best fishing places we've got left, definitely in St. Martin Parish," says Hayes.
The increase in water into the basin will increase flow through Henderson Lake, which will help control invasive species, like the water Hyacinth. The Hyacinth sucks oxygen out of the water, causing fish and other wildlife to die.
Hayes believes the water release is a temporary fix, and says the Corps should look into building more water locks along the basin. "From what I've seen in my life time, another 25 years from now this is going to be one big mud hole," says Hayes.