David Fields, of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, addressed the BTF and a crowd of around 40 people at the BTF's last meeting.
Fields discussed issues with homeowners spraying the Giant Salvinia along their land on the lake and what is in the works to make the spraying more effective and in line with what is done by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
In January, BTF passed a resolution that said the "Department of Agriculture and Forestry has the authority to educate the public and thereby provide a method of permitting the safe and efficient use of approved pesticides for aquatic use," and "the Bistineau Task Force requests the authority to permit the private application of FDA approved herbicide in the portions of the lake joining with their property."
BTF asked for changes to the resolution, which were not discussed in detail at the meeting, and the resolution is expected to change.
Depending on those changes, landowners may be required to take a class and obtain a permit for spraying pesticides on property that attaches to Lake Bistineau.
"So there is no problem with double application – LDWF needs to know what is being sprayed. This helps to stop fish kill and limits the pollutants that enter the lake," Fields said. "This in no way, shape, form or fashion changes what LDWF does."
The issue of the chemicals came up when it was determined that chemicals purchased online have been polluting the water. In Sabine Parish, the LSU Ag Center helped develop a list of approved chemicals for homeowners to spray. Fields discussed this with BTF and a similarly approved chemical list may be added to the resolution.
"The problem we see is that sometimes people think you take a little bit of a pesticide and it works good, so if you take a lot that would work better. That's not the case," Fields said. "That's putting more chemicals in the lake. The proposed class will have an education program specific to Giant Salvinia. It's specific to this lake and this lake only on the Louisiana side."
Fields also wants the person or persons who will apply the pesticides to be the one to take the class on how to apply them and which ones are appropriate. He said landowners are currently spraying for Giant Salvinia, but the chemicals they are using may not even kill the weed.
Fields will look over the previously-passed resolution and make recommendations to LDWF by the next BTF meeting.
"We need to have this by the next meeting because the multiplying of Giant Salvinia is about to start more as the warmer temperature is coming," said BTF chairman Billy Montgomery.
Evan Thames of the LDWF said he was happy about the response received from the public regarding the reporting of Salvinia pockets and would like to keep receiving feedback from the public.
He also discussed how LDWF is combating Giant Salvinia. He said they are currently tackling roughly 40 acres of the weed but still wants public help.
"The phone calls and emails have been great," he said. "It makes it easier for us if you tell us exactly where you saw the Salvinia."
He also mentioned crews are out spraying the weed and booms have been put out to control hard to reach places from becoming reinfested.
LDWF recently had trouble with people taking apart the booms to move along the lake.
Thames said it is important people put them back together afterwards to help contain the spread of Giant Salvinia.
The next BTF meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 28. The resolution should be discussed in more detail at that meeting.
BTF members present at the meeting were: Greg Wilson and Bill Sims (Bienville Parish Police Jury), Elmore Morris (Bodcau SWCD), Billy Montgomery, Bill Altimus and Glenn Benton (Bossier Parish Police Jury).
Also present were David Lowe and Rick Yager (Dorcheat SWCD), George McConathy and Bill Conly (Saline SWCD), and Charlie Walker and Jim Bonsall (Webster Parish Police Jury).