What We Do, Have Done, and Promise to Continue to Do
to Keep Caddo Lake Natural
One of the most frequent questions asked of GCLA Board Members is, what does GCLA do?
The following outlines the major efforts in which GCLA has been involved since its founding in 1978. That’s right; this organization has been protecting Caddo Lake for over 30 years! However, we can’t take all of the credit. Many other organizations and individuals have been involved. I hesitate to list them at the risk of forgetting someone. Here are some of the groups that come to mind:
- The City of Uncertain
- Caddo Lake Chamber of Commerce Tourism
- Friends of Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Caddo Lake Institute
- Cypress Valley Navigation District
- Greater Caddo Lake Association of Louisiana
- The Nature Conservancy…
- and many individuals too numerous to name…
- We do want to recognize the original founders of GCLA: John Echols, Robert Speight, Sr., Richard Fredrick, L.B. Stewart, Flo Daniels, Gene Walker Sr., George Williamson.
On to answering the question: What has GCLA done for Caddo Lake?
GCLA was formed in 1978 with the stated purpose of improving the roads around the lake (which were much WORSE than they are today) and to control dangerous floods. While the roads still need improvement, they are in much better shape than they were in 1978.
Paper Mill on the banks of Big Cypress
We successfully fought against a large paper mill proposed to be located on the banks of Big Cypress bayou.
“Caddo Lake Compact”
Successfully fought against the ‘Caddo Lake Compact’. This ‘compact’, between Texas and Louisiana, would have raised the weir 2 to 4 feet to supply water to Shreveport. John Echols and then County Judge Richard Anderson (the same) went
to D.C. and testified before congress as to why this was not a good idea.
Lake o’ the Pines Hydro Electric
Opposed a hydroelectric generator being placed on Lake o’ the Pines spillway
Fought against a chicken processing plant being located on Little Cypress
bayou. Poultry processing uses huge amounts of water. That use of water would have been at the expense of Caddo Lake.
Spent years opposing the so-called ‘Lake Marshall’ being built on Little Cypress by the Little Cypress Utility District. This project would have cut flows to Caddo and provided land speculators with a boondoggle, get-rich-quick scheme and very little extra water for the City of Marshall.
Fought against Pilgrims Pride’s efforts to dump poultry processing waste into Big Cypress bayou at Pittsburg
Opposed the “Daingerfield Reach”, a barge canal proposed to run from the Red River to Lone Star, Texas, passing thru Caddo Lake and Lake o’ the Pines
GCLA supported the designation of approximately 20,000 acres of the Caddo Lake area as a “Wetland of International Importance” under the Ramsar Treaty.
Wildlife Management Area
Supported the creation of the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area from land donated by the Nature Conservancy
Joined CLI in opposing Marshall’s efforts to sell water to Entergy for a combined cycle power plant southwest of Marshall
Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Supported the creation of the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge within the former Longhorn Ammunition Plant (a superfund site)
Opposed the use of part of the Longhorn Army Ammunition property for an industrial park. Special interests in Marshall had pursued the use of 1000 acres within the National Wildlife Refuge, to be used as an Industrial Park. GCLA believed that this was totally inconsistent with the purpose of a National Wildlife Refuge.
Started the first non-agency invasive aquatic vegetation control program on Caddo Lake targeting water hyacinth.
Organized some of the early efforts to respond to the threat of Giant Salvinia including building a barrier fence, researching methods to kill Salvinia and
pursuing ongoing funding to establish a permanent spray program. We also organized community education meetings to inform everyone of the problem.
Support for the Science of Caddo Lake
Supported CLI and The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to create a flow regime for Big Cypress and Caddo Lake to better understand what Caddo Lake needs to be the viable natural resource we have all come to love.
Being Good Neighbors
GCLA has supported, financially and with resources, the clean up efforts both around the lake and in the lake. Other partners in this effort have been Harrison County and the City of Uncertain.
The Lost Soul Patrol
Although not part of the charter of GCLA, our board members frequently get
calls from people lost on the lake, out of gas, etc and we lend a helping hand to those individuals.