Facts About The Basin 


  • The Atchafalaya Basin is the last great remnant of the Mississippi River floodplain that once stretched from Louisiana to southeastern Missouri and to the southern tip of Illinois.
  • The system is fixed with inflexible boundaries by development and levees and it is not natural any longer. Swamps that are filled in by sediments will not be replaced.
  • Sediment deposition can and should be managed; this can be done at a relatively low cost.
  • The Mississippi Flyway is the most important flyway on the continent. The Atchafalaya Basin provides the largest forested ecosystem in the Mississippi Flyway for migratory landbirds and very likely the most important wetlands for waterfowl and waders in North America.
  • Most cypress-tupelo swamps in the Atchafalaya Basin are Class III swamps. The water gets too high for too long to facilitate cypress regeneration.
  • An old-growth cypress-tupelo forest is a completely different ecosystem from a second growth cypress-tupelo forest.
  • Cypress-tupelo swamps are the most biodiverse wetlands in North America.
  • Much of that biodiversity relies on cavities found in old-growth trees.
  • Cavities and crevasses are essential for many birds and mammals, such as warblers, whose populations are in serious decline.
  • The original old growth cypress-tupelo ecosystem was completely wiped out by the late 1920s.
  • It will take many human generations and hundreds of years for the old-growth cypress-tupelo ecosystem to fully recover.
  • In many swamps, the original species of trees never recovered after the first and only logging. Today those swamps are mainly open water or willow-buttonwood bush-swamp privet forests instead of cypress-tupelo forests.
  • The few large old-growth trees left today are remnants of the original old-growth forests that were not cut because they were hollow. Many trees are dying due to lightning strikes, hurricanes and old age. It will take hundreds of years for the second growth trees to replace them. These old trees provide an essential habitat for countless species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
  • The Atchafalaya Basin's swamps are irreplaceable and a true wonder of America.
  • Because of the facts listed above, timber harvesting of cypress-tupelo swamps is not compatible with the preservation of the Atchafalaya Basin.
  • No more politics. Some interests in the Atchafalaya Basin are not compatible with our vision because they are not compatible with the future of the ecosystems within the Basin. As our pledge states, we must work to preserve these ecosystems for future generations.
  • Enforcement of the law and finding ways to compensate landowners or to buy their land for preservation purposes could be our only options for dealing with interests in the Atchafalaya Basin that are contrary to its future.


Our Vision for Action 


We hope that the environmental community and recreational and commercial users will create and share a common vision that will guarantee the future of the Atchafalaya Basin for our kids and grandkids.


For more detailed information, please click here to see our Master Plan.



Atchafalaya Basinkeeper
P.O. Box 410
Plaquemine, LA 70765 basinkeeper@gmail.com
cell: 225-685-9439
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