Friday, May 13, 2011

Henderson Swamp Tour

(The folks in this area are waiting to hear if and when the Morganza Spillway will be opened.  Maybe Saturday or Sunday)

The Atchafalaya River runs through the Henderson Swamp.  On some maps I see it referred to as Henderson Lake.  Not sure the difference. We choose a boat tour  from McGee Landing. (It’s on the other side of the levee in the previous post). Our Captain was born and raised on the swamp.  He is a real expert on the natural history of the area.  On that day two weeks ago tomorrow he told us he anticipated 10 feet or so increase in elevation of the water.  That was way before any idea that the spillway might need to be opened to relieve pressure on the Mississippi River.

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Cyprus trees live in the water and wood from stumps that have been under water for years is still sound.  What’s left of the Cyprus forest is now federally protected.

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In the middle of the main channel the water is 300-400 feet deep.  The juxtaposition of the stories of the swamp and going under the I-10 bridge was a bit disorientating.  Without this reminder of the 21st century it’s easy to get lost in the old days of the swamp.

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The BIG flood in memory was 1927.  We were encouraged to do some reading about it.  News stories I have heard this week say it’s different now because in 1927 they didn’t have the levees.  It would be interesting to compare the rainfall, run-off, and river flows from 1927 with the current situation.

All over the swamp are these ‘beautiful’ water hyacinth plants.  They  are an invasive species with their very own dedicated crews that that work to keep them under control.

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Along the edges of the swamp are hard wood forests.  And so many birds that were all beyond the capabilities of my little camera at these distances.  (But I did get some cool shots at Lake Martin!)

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