Fish kill in False River no cause for concern, experts say

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

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Dead fish and a foul odor have had people living along False River on guard, but experts report it is no cause for alarm.

The calm, quiet waters of False River have a lot to offer. The giant fishing hole is popular year round, but the scenic and serene environment has been disturbed lately.

With the water five feet shallower, many people have parked their boats. Their bulkheads are visible from miles away. Small dead fish, known as Threadfin Shad, are floating along the docks. Pelicans are flocking to the new found land to feast.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist Brian Heimann said this is a good sign.

"That normally has five feet of water on it right there where those pelicans are," Heimann said.

He said a cold front a couple of weeks ago caused the fish kill. The rest, he said, is a result of the man-made drawdown that has been happening in False River since September. Experts said it was necessary to improve vegetation in the lake.

"It exposes these sediments that have never been disturbed before. This lake has never been lowered to this extent," Heimann said. "I think the habitat improvements are going to start to manifest themselves. I really think it's going to start to pay dividends in the long run."

As for the quality of the water right now, Heimann uses a professional measuring tool to test the temperature, oxygen levels, PH, and more.

"The only deficit that's in the water is the low dissolved oxygen, which has no impact on contact sports or recreational fishing," Heimann said.

As for the fish floating along the banks, Heimann said, they should decompose and d rop in the next couple of days.

The drawdown will be complete by January 15, 2017. Fisheries agents said neighbors should see the benefit later next year.

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