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.

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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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 High Water – Nineteen

Well, we are settling in, or resettling in, I guess. The water is down off of the deck and the six inches of mud on it has been brushed away. The river is becoming more calm by the day. Throughout this whole thing there has been a remarkable lack of debris in the channel. Commercial fishermen noted this to me yesterday, and I certainly agree. After predicting the huge amount of accumulated litter that would come down once the Morganza gates were opened, it didn’t happen. What did come down was much smaller than anticipated, the individual pieces I mean. Not the huge trees and floating islands of logs and tangled masses of smaller vegetation that I thought would come.

There is a strange item that came up yesterday during a visit to the southern end of Grand Lake. Talking with Edward Couvillier and Kevin, his son, is always an enlightening experience. Both commercial catfishermen, they use lines and hooks and fish the hard way, at least that's how it seems to me. The odd thing was that they caught a stingray yesterday out in the lake. The water is still high by anybody’s reckoning, and the stingrays should (my word) not be up in the freshwater yet, not until the water is very low and allowing some salt water to sneak into the usually fresh lower Atchafalaya Basin and Grand Lake. But they are coming up nevertheless. I wonder if the sharks will be early this year also, giving the fishermen headaches much earlier than usual. The closeup of the sting from the ray shows why it’s not a good idea to get punctured by one. Not only does it not come out easily, the mucous on it hurts, a LOT.

The river is at 17.8 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, continuing to fall slowly for the foreseeable future. The Missouri is flexing some muscle, but that shouldn’t affect us down here. The Mississippi and Ohio are both falling slowly all the way up, as they should be doing right now. At this slow rate of fall we may not get to the low water period for this cycle until August. Crawfishermen are not complaining, or at least not more than they usually do. Passing on the levee yesterday, I saw literally hundreds of trucks parked at the six or seven landings being used by the wild-crawfish fishermen right now. Looks good for them.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Janet said...

I grew up in Lafayette, but have been away for 43 years. I now live in the southwest where we are experiencing the opposite of your flooding, and the wildfires are terrible. Basically I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your keeping everyone informed of all that is actually happening in your area. It is really well written and informative, and I hope you will consider publishing it! Your expressions are beautifully poetic and heartfelt! (So much better than the "sensational" news reports repeated over and over....signifying nothing...)
Janet B.

June 16, 2011 9:25 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Either way it's not a good thing, water or fire in the extreme. Hope you stay clear of the latter. As I note in the posts, we are fine here, and thanks very much for the kind words. Good luck.

June 17, 2011 8:55 AM  
Blogger shoreacres said...

Interesting notes about the debris. I've been gathering information and memories for a post about the 1951 flood on the Missouri. I was five at the time, and we were vacationing in KC. Getting out was, as they say, a trip. The only bridge open was the InterUrban Viaduct, and that only for an hour or so when we finally made it.

Mom was terrified as we crossed the bridge. Dad was grimly determined and I was fascinated to see the box cars, dead cattle and horses, rooftops and such floating just below the bridge and in some cases piling up against it.

I'm so glad you escaped the kind of scouring that debris can bring along with it.

June 19, 2011 6:02 PM  

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