Work underway at LSU lakes as restoration project enters early phases
BATON ROUGE – Heavy equipment lined City Park Lake near LSU Monday morning, the clearest sign yet that the lakes restoration project is finally picking up steam.
Early Monday, passersby spotted workers near Milford Wampold Memorial Park along Stanford Avenue.
For months, they have been covered in green, slimy algae that has created an unhealthy habitat for wildlife and an unpleasant experience for some pedestrians.
“Honestly right now, they’re really nasty. The lakes have a lot of grime on top of them,” said Riley Ewing who was walking the lakes Monday. “So many people come here on the daily, and so many people come to enjoy the lakes to see the sun rise… so it just kind of ruins the atmosphere and the moment it usually gives.”
Monday morning, work was finally visible. Crews are staging equipment around the lakes, preparing to begin the long-awaited restoration.
“We completely acknowledge that the lakes don’t look very healthy right now and that’s emblematic of what we’re trying to solve with the University Lakes Restoration Project,” project manager Mark Goodson said.
The first step includes testing different means for dredging and removing sediment on a small portion of the lake to determine what method works best.
“Once we get that done and see how the different means and methods preform, our designers will finish the plans for the lakes project, and we hope to be under construction for the larger project itself before the end of the year,” Goodson said.
Although the design plan is not officially finalized, Goodson says it includes digging underwater pits that will catch and trap sediment. The sediment gathered from the lake’s floor will be used to enhance shorelines.
Overall, the goal of the project is to create a healthy and sustainable long-term solution to the issues that have been plaguing the lakes for years.
“We will have cleaner water, better habitat for the wildlife that like to use these lakes, as well as more recreational amenities for folks that want to come and walk around or run around and experience the lakes,” Goodson said.
Contractors are waiting on a permit before they can get started on testing various methods of dredging. That work is expected to wrap up in the middle of July.
Phase one of the project is said to begin before the end of the year.
Other goals for the project include building a bridge connecting the lakes.