This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tracking River Changes

Always there are people out there who want to do it themselves, so here is the link to the Butte La Rose river gauge.

It reads 3.4 feet today, and is predicted to fall slowly for the next several days. By the way, if you want to be able to predict what the water in the Atchafalaya will do, you can also link to the gauges all the way up the Mississippi to find out what is coming down. That link is


When you look at that page, note that the Ohio River is also on it. The gauges at Smithland and Paducah will tell you what is coming down the Ohio, and Cairo will tell you the combined flow of the Upper Miss. and the Ohio, since Cairo is where the two rivers come together. Most important to know is the fact that the Ohio River is THE MOST determining factor on water we get down here. The whole upper Mississippi can flood and we might not feel it at all, but if the Ohio floods, we need to pay attention. If you look at the page you will see that today the Ohio isn’t doing much – up 0.1 at Smithland, down at Paducah and Cairo is up 1.0. As you get into the Mississippi (we’re looking at the 24hr change, by the way, third column to the right), there is a “bump” in the river from New Madrid to Caruthersville, but not much. Everything from there to Red River Landing (the area where water comes over to the Atchafalaya) is falling. So, we can expect the water to fall here for about five days, rise a little, and then we’ll see what comes down later. If you rely on the river for anything at all, it is comforting to be able to get this advance notice of coming changes. One other thing, local rain has very little effect on the Atchafalaya, simply because it has no real watershed to draw from. Whatever rain falls on the river may cause it to rise a little, but not like the Vermilion River or the Amite – both of which have large watersheds.

I baited the shrimp traps with a soy/cottonseed cake yesterday and today they had about a dozen small blue and channel catfish, one pigmy sunfish, one crawfish and about 25 river shrimp (Macrobrachium ohione). All of these were so cold that they could hardly move. I wonder how long one of us would last in that water right now. Not long.

Lots of black vultures circling high in the sky this morning out over the swamp. And our local osprey patrolled the opposite bank a few times, its voice much too squeaky and plaintive for a predator that size. It was a pretty day.

Rise and shine, Jim


Blogger jim said...

This is a test to see if this is how you respond to a posting.

December 22, 2005 8:29 AM  

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