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Atchafalaya Basin, LA

We went down to Bayou Sorrel, about an hour south of Baton Rouge, to take a tour of the Atchafalaya Basin with Dean from Atchafalaya Basinkeepers.  Louisiana is losing about a football field of wetlands every hour and Dean’s group is one of the organizations trying to revitalize the swamps in LA.  He took us in a small boat with his dog and one other visitor and brought us to the swamp.  The Everglades in Florida is called a “river of grass” and the swamp up here is called a “river of trees.”  The water level goes up and down with the seasons- so much so that when it is dry, large animals come to feed on the grasses that grow amongst the trees.  We were here in the winter so the water was quite high.  People used to cut down the cypress trees and even now  Dean has to be watchful that there isn’t illegal logging.  As more trees disappear, the swamp is compromised.  In February, commercial fishermen put down traps to catch crawfish.  At other times, they come here at night to catch frogs which Dean used to do in his fishing days.  The surface of the water feels like a green carpet.  He said that the first time any dog comes out to the swamp, they inevitably jump in the water expecting to land on grass and become very surprised.  Ha!

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