LDWF has launched a project to investigate the large decreases of submersed aquatic vegetation at Toledo Bend Reservoir. Vegetation that historically served as beneficial habitat for fish populations in the lake has not recovered following the record floods of 2016 and 2017. Experimental exclosures (structures designed to keep animals out of a designated area), unfenced planting sites, and control plots have been established at three locations – Cow Bayou, Blue Lake and Pirates Cove.
These efforts will help to determine if a vegetation seedbank exists in the area, if efforts to re-establish vegetation in the reservoir could be successful in the future, and if plant growth is being suppressed by the grazing habits of herbivores. LDWF biologists will monitor the plots through 2022. The information they collect will be used to develop future strategies to improve fisheries habitat in the reservoir.
Vegetation being planted includes coontail, pondweed and eelgrass. Biologists will investigate these plants’ ability to become established in the reservoir – both in protected and unprotected areas.