Designers of the plan to improve the health of the Baton Rouge lakes and at the same time make them fit for recreational uses expect to have a draft design ready next month.

A draft plan for the Baton Rouge lakes will be unveiled at a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 12 at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center on West Lakeshore Drive.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation took on the job last spring.

On the environmental side, the lakes have been slowly filling in with sediment, and previous attempts to dredge the lakes were hampered by large stumps left over from when the former swamp was logged.

The six lakes — University, City Park, Campus, College, Crest and Erie — are owned by the city-parish and LSU but are widely used by residents of the parish and seen as a gateway to the city.

A series of public meetings and a website have been used to collect ideas that have gone into what will be presented May 12 for further discussion.

Part of the plan will look at how to deepen the lakes and keep them from silting in again through possible dredging or the creation of wetland habitat where water flows into the lakes. Another aspect of the plan will address how the public uses the lakes.

Many people use the lakes’ shores as places to run, walk and bicycle, but the plan will look at how to make it safer by better separating motor traffic and pedestrians.

The SWA Group, the landscape architect consultants hired by the foundation, also was tasked with looking at possibilities for adding other amenities to the lakes such as boat launches, gathering spots, bird watching stations and a cafe. The SWA Group, working with Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects of Baton Rouge, met with homeowners, governmental entities that own the lakes and other interested parties to come up with the draft plan.