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, October 25, 2009

High Water Sunrise

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and look to the east and it takes a moment to believe that you are truly awake. It was so on the morning of day before yesterday. You almost think that it cannot be real until you know that it is, and it really looks like that. These pics have not been retouched in any way. The cat, Alcibiades, enjoyed it too.

The river is at 14.2 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling a little to about 13.5 feet by the end of next week. We have come to expect low water in the fall and this is very high water for this time of year. How high is it, on a relative basis? Using USGS data, the average level for the month of October for the last 12 years is about 3.8 feet. This October the average is 9.0 feet, so far. Again, according to USGS, the highest water in any October for the past 12 years averaged 4.5 feet. This October we saw the 14.2 mark come and go. What does this mean? Who knows. It is very inconvenient for those of us trying to maintain docking facilities on the river. Because we move things closer to the bank in high water, those things are in danger of being left stranded on the bank when the water begins to fall. If we plan any time away from the river, it is always in the fall during the supposed low water period. Not this fall. Staying home is a necessity for the time being. The high water has more serious consequences for people making a living fishing in the Basin, although there are few of them left compared to the old days. My friend Kevin Couvillier runs lines commercially in Grand Lake near Franklin and he tells me that the swift current has his lines so tight that he can’t run them. He could, but if they break in his hands under severe pressure he could be badly hurt. And he is having trouble finding river shrimp to bait with. To him, this high water out of season is more than inconvenient. And the Ohio and upper Mississippi do not look like they are through with us yet, there is more water filling the channels up there and we might get even higher levels during this unusual fall season.

Rise and Shine, Jim