necessity

Lake Concordia Committee to meet on water levels

Published 3:05am Sunday, April 17, 2011

On April 25 there will be a meeting at the Concordia Parish courthouse in Vidalia at 6 p.m. concerning the low water level and other issues about Lake Concordia.

Lake Concordia Committee members will be on hand to try to answer any questions we have.

If you have not followed this long running story in the local media, here’s what’s up.

We had a dry winter and the lake was a foot or so low in mid-February. I was aware of the low level but knew nothing could be done until it rained.

People that live on the lake began calling, e-mailing and coming by our store asking what’s wrong with the water level.

My son and I launched a boat just a few days later and checked the weir. The front two boards were removed. The water was as low as I have witnessed since the drought of 2001.

I thought the weir had been vandalized again and wrote a news column saying such.

Several years ago someone had built their pier too low to the water, cut the boards out of the weir and dropped the level. It took several months and about $100 but the weir was eventually repaired.

It was around March 1 this year and I knew anyone that understood lakes and the fish habits should know the bass, white perch, catfish and the bream spawn was about to cast off and low water is not good for the spawn.

I thought, “no way would the Lake Committee intentionally draw this lake down during the spawn.”

I wrote a column titled “Lake Concordia weir vandalized”. Two days after that paper was released a committee member came to me and said that it had not been vandalized. He said two pier owners that have piers built too low to the water complained so the committee voted to remove the boards from the weir.

I think the valve was opened as well.

The lake level dropped and virtually wiped out this year’s spawn.

The very next day yet another committee member came to me, shook my hand and said thanks for bringing that to every one’s attention. I asked him what he was talking about. He said the weir was vandalized.

I left that conversation totally confused and began a month and half investigation.

Here’s one committee member telling me what I still think is the truth, another telling me a totally different story and a third member with yet another version.

The following week I wrote a column with this information and KNOE-TV covered it as well.

A board member was interviewed in that newspaper and said they patrol the lake “every day” in pontoons, watching the level, and nothing was wrong, and he basically said I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Patrolling the lake “every day” is a strong statement.

Again, I was very confused, so my research continued.

Other concerned sportsmen and women, as well as numerous lake front property owners began to get involved. A petition circulated and within a week we had more than 300 signatures. Those petitions were faxed to the police jury, and I still have more to fax.

The committee was put on last week’s police jury agenda. A very small announcement was published in the police jury news stating that “all lake residents were invited to a meeting to ask committee members any questions they had.”

Did my phone and e-mail box ever light up? I was amazed at the justified response.

People from all over the parish and state, as well as from Mississippi were upset that they were not invited.

These are the people that travel many miles and spend thousands of dollars in this parish and in Natchez to fish Lake Concordia.

It looks like they will be at the meeting, and if they are not welcome the committee will have to ask them to leave. I sure don’t think that will happen and if it does, this could get very ugly.

We just have a problem that the sheriff and several locals as well as out-of-town people that have camps on the lake have offered to fix for free.

The committee member interviewed in the parish newspaper gave us a good view of the situation when he was quoted saying, “I don’t even get paid for this.”

Does that mean if we pay the lake committee, they would do their job?

Come join us at 6 p.m. April 25 at the Concordia Parish Courthouse in Vidalia. We are very curious to hear what they have to say.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Eddie for following up on this situation. I will be at the meeting even though I live on St. John. It definitely sounds like someone needs to get to the bottom of this (no pun intended). How does one find out who the members are on these boards? Every time I ask anyone about it over here at Lake St. John they just say “Go to Bell’s store and ask around”. There has to be an official channel to get in touch with these people. If anyone knows, please post how. Are the members elected, appointed or what? As a home owner I would like to have better information on how the entire lake board organization works. Again, thanks for taking the time to follow through on the Lake Concordia episode and please keep everyone informed on the outcome in the Democrat.