Last Modified: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 10:52 AM
NEW ROADS (AP) — The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is restocking the ailing False River with approximately 300 pounds of redear sunfish.
Mike Wood, director of inland fisheries for the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, told The Advocate replenishing the lake's fish population with 300,000 redear sunfish will help the agency gauge just how well revitalization efforts are going.
"These fish may grow into a viable population and we're hoping that will be a symptom of the return of False River," Wood said. "When we see healthy chinquapin in this lake, we'll know the conditions necessary for their survival are back."
False River has been in a state of decline the past 30 years due to excessive siltation, which over time has neutralized its spawning territories for fish and deteriorated its natural habitats.
Wood said the lake's habitat deficiencies are to blame for the dramatic drop over the years in its chinquapin population.
In June, the state Department of Natural Resources released its False River Ecosystem Restoration Plan, after more than two decades of stalled revitalization efforts from multiple state and federal agencies.
In November, the LDWF lifted its 1991 ban on commercial gill-netting, a component in the DNR plan that Wood previously said would help reduce the negative impacts excessive numbers of commercial fish have on the lake.
Also in November, the state Bond Commission approved the sale of $500,000 in general obligation bonds to finance more of the plan's initiatives, which include dredging the lake, creating island terraces, and completing a 2-to-3-foot lake drawdown.
Tuesday's redear restocking, however, was not part of DNR's original plan.
Wood said the chinquapin were surplus fish the agency harvested at one of its hatcheries.
"We believe we can get the best use out of them in False River," he said.
Approximately 145,000 2-inch chinquapin fingerlings were dumped into False River Tuesday afternoon, he said.