LDWF studies the decline in lake vegetation, accompanying fish habitat in the Toledo Bend Reservoir

LDWF initiated a project to study the severe 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 after record flooding in 2016 and 2017. Experimental exclosures (structures designed to keep animals out of a designated area), 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 vegetation seed bank in the area, if efforts to re-vegetate the reservoir might be successful in the future, and if plant growth is being suppressed by the grazing habits of the herbivores. LDWF biologists will monitor the plots until 2022. The information they collect will be used to develop future strategies to improve fish habitat in the reservoir.

Vegetation planted includes coontail, pondweed and eelgrass. Biologists will study the ability of these plants to establish themselves in the reservoir, both in protected and unprotected areas.

Left: This exclusion is designed to keep animals away from a designated area. This will help determine if herbivore grazing habits affect 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 dispersed throughout the area, while protecting it from herbivores.

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