The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to update the public on the status of the Bussey Brake Wildlife Management Area renovation project in Morehouse Parish.
Since International Paper donated the 2,000-acre freshwater reservoir in 2012, the department has been working diligently to make the lake and its resources available to the sportsmen and women of north Louisiana, despite delays that have occurred beyond our control.
The department’s plan for the restoration project includes a complete renovation of the waterbody.
The department began renovations in 2016 after receiving all necessary permits through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and dedicated funding through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The lake was drained, initially, to remove the overabundance of rough fish species including carp, buffalo, and others.
The project has experienced numerous setbacks including two flood events that refilled the lake with water and inundated the pump and electric motor used to refill the reservoir. Due to the age of the pump and the damage to the motor during flooding, the department must completely replace the old system, including running new electrical service.
An engineering firm has been hired to redesign a new pumping system. LDWF anticipates the new design will be put out for bid later this year, with construction beginning this fall.
“Please be assured that that we are working towards the goal of providing an exceptional recreational area for Morehouse Parish,” ensured LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “The setbacks have been numerous and significant, but we are continuing down a successful path and are making good headway.”
Marked boat lanes and island construction projects to improve boater access and angler opportunity have been completed. In addition, LDWF has completed numerous fish stockings of popular game fish including bass, bream, catfish and crappie to begin rebuilding the fishery.
The department is also in the design and engineering phase of constructing several ADA accessible fishing piers and a wave break project. This work is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2018. LDWF anticipates the lake will open to the public upon completion.
Bussey Brake was constructed in the mid 1950’s by International Paper to serve as an alternative water source for the Louisiana mill. In 2012, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission established Bussey Brake Reservoir as a WMA.