Algae bloom in Lake Pontchartrain could be disturbing the local food chain

“It breaks up the entire food chain, no bait, no fish and no bait, no birds."

Don Dubuc spends a lot of time on the water. The host of WWLTV’s Fish and Game report also spends a lot of time over it while driving on the Causeway. It’s a good opportunity, he says, to look for wildlife.


“In particular birds, ducks, seagulls, pelicans,” Dubuc said.


He normally has a lot of luck, too.


“They are feeding, they are sitting on the bridge structures, they are on the wires, they are circling looking for bait,” Dubuc said.


But then something strange happened, according to Dubuc.


“About a week ago, I made the entire trip and I didn’t see one bird, not one of any species,” Dubuc said.”I came back again, same thing.”


Dubuc thinks the double opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway and the algae blooms that followed are the reason.


“It breaks up the entire food chain, no bait, no fish and no bait, no birds,” Dubuc said.


Feelings echoed by fishermen like Henry Poirier.


“Lake (Pontchartrain) seems like it's turned into Lake Mississippi,” Poirier said.


Lake Pontchartrain has received a huge amount of water from the spillway, but the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation isn’t convinced that it or the algae blooms are causing the bird shortage on the Causeway.


“With the birds, we are not overly concerned,” said Dr. John Lopez with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. “This is the nesting season for Brown Pelicans and when they nest they go out to the Islands. There are also some other birds that nest on the Islands.”


Experts say the Brown Pelican and other birds could be back in a couple months. Dubuc says if it is the algae blooms causing the shortage then it’s anyone's guess.


“A lot depends on the river level and how fast it drops. If we get tropical storms or depressions that drives salt water in, then the outflow takes some of this algae and bad water out,” Dubuc said.


If you see any unusual bird or wildlife activity you are encouraged to report it to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

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