Saving Larto Lake - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Saving Larto Lake

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DEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Concerned citizens from 4 parishes gathered on the banks of their beloved lake concerned that the waters they enjoy may not be around much longer.

"Never before have I thought I'd be coming to this landing and talking to a bunch of people trying to help and watch over the care and help of this body of water and that's what we're here for, to do something good for Saline." Said John Norman, addressing a group of dozens on the banks of the Saline Larto Complex.
At nearly 7,000 acres the complex is one of Central Louisiana's largest recreation areas. But for those who gathered on it's banks, it's more than that. It's a livelihood.

"Ask any man where he's fished in the last 20-30 years, he's fished Saline Larto, I started out fishing here when I was nine years old, I'm a white perch fishing fool and I love it." Said Norman.
That livelihood may be at risk and concerns over the water levels of Saline Larto led the community to organize.

"There was some speculation that some pumps were going to be installed to pump water out of here for irrigation and some farm property and we're basically trying to find out as much information as we can and what effects it's going to have on Saline Larto." Said Craig Smith.

"The main concern is the impact it's going to have on the fishing, is it going to get too low are you not going to be able to get to your landing, some people have private land they're wanting to sell lots are they not going to be able to get to their lots anymore, some people guide fishing trips out here are they not going to be able to fish anymore." Said Drew Keeth.  
Coupled with a lingering issue from a leaking weird, the worries were widespread, but according to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, steps are being made in the right direction.
"Same way with pumping or anything else that's going to effect that water way, absolutely, they need to be aware of it and let's talk about it, but what we don't need to do is maybe jump to conclusions until we have good facts, we need to know exactly what's happening so we can determine the effects." Said Inland Fisheries Director Mike Wood.
Steps that begins with the people who cherish their lake.
"We're going to form a commission and try and get some regulations on our lake, there's not a person here this evening that didn't show up who don't love the lake as much as I do. This is the heart and soul of Rapides Parish for recreation. Period!" Said Norman.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says a permanent fix for the leaking Saline Larto Complex weir could come as soon as next year.
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