A single Great Egrets stands on a log in the middle of the Henderson Swamp.
At 260,000 acres, Atchafalaya River Basin is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. It includes the Henderson Swamp which is the most well-known portion of Atchafalaya since the Interstate 10 Bridge cuts right through the middle of it.
This area has long been home to the Cajuns, descendants of French Canadians also known as Acadians that were expelled from Canada by British forces in the 1750s. Their progeny have kept their native language alive, still speaking a version of it today. Cajuns thrived on the abundant wildlife here in the swamps with everything from catfish, crawfish, and alligators to otters, beavers, turkeys, and even the Louisiana black bear.
The Atchafalaya is different from other Louisiana basins because it has a growing delta system with wetlands that are almost stable. The basin is approximately 70% forest habitat with 30% marsh and open water. It contains the largest contiguous block of forested wetlands remaining in the lower Mississippi River valley and the largest block of floodplain forest in the United States. It is best known for its iconic cypress and tupelo trees which are part of the largest remaining contiguous tract of coastal cypress in the US. All the cypress stumps seen were cut over 100 years ago.
It is located just minutes from Lafayette and less than an hour from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Copyright 2018 Susan Rissi Tregoning
August 27th, 2018
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