BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The drawdown gates at the Lake Bistineau dam in south Bossier Parish have been closed, following the recent heavy rainfall, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
The closure of the gates is a proactive measure to help prevent damage to the dam due to high water on the lake. The force of the water through the drawdown gates can be detrimental to the structure, resulting in severe damage and future repair costs
“It’s designed to move water more slowly through an extended period of time which is called the ‘draw down’ period. You’re literally drawing down the level of the lake during that period,” said DOTD PIO, Erin Buchanan, “Leaving those gates open during a high water period is not going to significantly affect the impact the level of the lake, because they’re not flood gates. So I think there’s a misconception.”
Carl Hudson is the owner of Our Place Grill & Bar on the lake. She says she’s been there for 14 years. The worst flood they had was back in 2016 when the lake rose up high enough on the land to flood her restaurant. She’s always been worried when it came to severe weather.
“What can you do about Mother nature? Nothing. There’s nothing you can except deal with it,” she said.
She and other neighbors voiced their concerns online, but do understand the difference of a drawdown and a flood gate.
“I understand that part of the reason is because they’re stronger when they’re closed, and they’re afraid to tear them up because they’re old,” said Hudson.
Drawdowns are not engineered to function as flood gates and rushing water due to increased lake levels will have a significant impact on the structure. It could destroy it that could cost up to millions for restructure according to Buchanan.
Hudson sees the regression in living on the lake over the years.
“But I will say this, since we started to have the flood trouble, a lot of people have sold their houses, a lot of people have sold their boats. So it’s not as great to work with as it use to be.”
The drawdown began on July 22, 2019, a date determined by the LA Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. Lake Bistineau does not have flood gates.