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Supporting the Development of Flow Recommendations for the Stretch of Big Cypress Creek below Lake O’ the Pines Dam

Winemiller, Kirk O.; Chin, Anne; Davis, Stephen E.; Roelke, Daniel L.; Romero, Luz Maria; Wilcox, Bradford P.

The purpose of this summary report is to synthesize available data and literature in order to arm workshop participants with sufficient information to develop ecologically based flow recommendations for the Big Cypress Creek, or Bayou, below Lake O’ the Pines Dam (Appendix A). These flow recommendations are intended to enhance the ecological structure and function of Big Cypress Creek, its floodplain and greater Caddo Lake, with the ultimate goal of providing benefits to local flora, fauna and stakeholders in the Greater Caddo Lake region.

This document reports the historical flow conditions (i.e., pre-dam) in Big Cypress Creek and their role in shaping the lotic, lentic and floodplain ecosystems of this region. It should be pointed out that hydrologic modifications have not been the only negative impact to this system. Other perturbations, such as nutrient and contaminant loading, altered sediment transport, logging, drainage and conversion to agriculture or residential development, have altered the system to varying degrees. However, the general consensus is that some restoration of the timing, magnitude and duration flows in Big Cypress Creek is critical to the sustainability of the lotic, lentic and floodplain habitats as well as beneficial ecosystem functions.