LDWF has initiated a project to study the sharp declines in submerged aquatic vegetation at the Toledo Bend Reservoir. Vegetation that historically served as beneficial habitat for fish populations in the lake has not recovered from the record flooding of 2016 and 2017. Experimental exclosures (structures designed to keep animals out of an area designated), unfenced planting sites and control plots were established at three locations – Cow Bayou, Blue Lake and Pirates Cove. says: Robert Smith]
These efforts will help determine if there is a plant seed bank in the area, if efforts to reestablish vegetation in the reservoir could be successful in the future, and if plant growth is suppressed by the grazing habits of herbivores. . LDWF biologists will monitor the plots until 2022. The information they gather will be used to develop future strategies to improve fishing habitat in the reservoir.
Planted vegetation includes coontail, pondweed and eelgrass. Biologists will study the ability of these plants to become established in the reservoir, both in protected and unprotected areas.
Left: This exclosure is designed to keep animals out of a designated area. This will help determine if herbivore grazing habits are affecting the amount of aquatic vegetation in the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Right: This floating exclosure is designed to allow the coontail to grow and spread seeds that will hopefully be scattered throughout the area, while protecting it from herbivores.