Lake St. John water level remains stable

Published 12:05 am Thursday, May 19, 2011

FERRIDAY — While the Mississippi River continues its historic climb to its projected crest of 62.5 feet Saturday, Lake Concordia and Lake St. John waters are standing still.

“The water has been stable in Lake St. John and it has not come up any,” Lake St. John Water Commission President Tom Bell said. “It is pretty much the same it was when the river started rising.”

Bell said the commission has not had to open up any gates to remove water from the lake.

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While there are no problems with the river levels, there are two sand boils located on the levee around the lake, Bell said.

Sand boils form along the Mississippi River levees when river water finds a path under the levee and starts bubbling up on the land side. They can wash away dirt from the levee, but are easily maintained once spotted.

“One of them is located at the north end of the lake, and one of them is down Maxwell Road at the southern end,” he said.

Bell said the boils have not caused any problems to the lake, and they are being constantly monitored.

“It is normal to have them, and they occurred at approximately the same place that they did in the 1973 flood,” he said. “These are nothing to be worried about.”

Lake Concordia Commission member Johnny Patrick said the parish’s other lake is also holding up strong.

“There are some more snakes and alligators, but there has not been an increase in the water level,” he said.

Patrick said this year’s lack of rain would normally be a problem, but due to the high water levels in the Mississippi River, the rain shortage has been a blessing.

“Once this river threat goes away we will be hoping for rain,” he said. “But until then, we are willing to put up with lower water levels so our levees are protected.”

Bell said the lakes are holding up a lot better than they did during the 1973 flood because of the rain shortage.

“The lake level got up really high in 1973 due to the rain, and that damaged a lot of piers,” he said. “The reverse is true today. We have had no property damage at all on Lake St. John.”

Bell said the lack of rain is also helping the parish’s levee system.

“The levees are going to be wet for so long already,” he said. “We don’t need any more water getting on the levees.”

Patrick and Bell both said the future of the lakes during the remainder of the river threat is a very optimistic one.

“Everything is looking really good right now,” Bell said.

Until the river threat is gone, the lakes will be monitored for any possible problems that may arise.

The Mississippi River’s crest was lowered half an inch Wednesday. The river is currently the highest it has ever been.