Atchafalaya Basin

Atchafalaya Basin Forested Wetlands Under Siege Part 1

Spoil pile blocking flow of water into swamp

The Atchafalaya Basin in southwest Louisiana guides the Atchafalaya River, a 135-mile long natural distributary of the Mississippi River, that empties into the Gulf of Mexico through the only growing river delta in Louisiana.

The most ecologically important parts of the Atchafalaya Basin are 885,000 acres of forested wetlands and 517,000 acres of marshland, making this the largest river swamp in North America. The Atchafalaya Basin is a refuge for many endangered species and about 100 species of fish, crawfish, shrimp and crabs that feed birds, reptiles and mammals and support sport and commercial fishing. Other animals in the basin include white tail deer, bobcat, coyote, alligator, beaver, nutria, mink, otter, musk rat, armadillo, fox and opossum. The Atchafalaya is considered the most productive swamp in the world, three to five times more productive than the Everglades and the Okefenokee Swamp.

Threats to the Atchafalaya Basin

Seeking the Future of Louisiana's Coast in its Past: A Detective Story - Baton Rouge Group Lecture Series

Bellin 1764 LaCoast, courtesy of Special Collections LSU libraries.

Dr. Richard Condrey, LSU Dept. of Oceanography (ret.) will discuss some amazing findings regarding the Last Naturally Active Delta Complexes of the Mississippi River and why an understanding of them is critical to any efforts to restore the coast during the next occasion of the Lecture Series of the Baton Rouge Group of the Sierra Club on Wednesday, June 24th to be held at The Backpacker.

Public Hearing on Toxic Waste Transfer Station

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Despite St. Martin Parish Council’s recent rejection of a rezoning request from F.A.S. Environmental Services the company is applying for a permit to build a transfer station for produced waters and fracking waste in the Atchafalaya Basin. According to the company’s permit application with DNR, F.A.S. expects to handle an average of 175,000 barrels of exploration and production (E&P) waste each month. The company estimates 99 percent will be “produced water” or waste from processes ranging from conventional drilling to hydraulic fracturing. If approved, the permit also would allow the company “to accept other types of waste, such as completion fluids, freshwater, rainwater, washout water, washout pit water, gas plant water liquids, pipeline wastewater and commercial facility waste.” The application also states that the waste can include or create hydrogen sulfide gas which is poisonous and is known for its rotten egg smell. The company operates an injection well 1.75 miles from the proposed transfer station.

Support St. Martin Parish Council resolution against Re-Zoning to Industrial in the Atchafalaya Basin

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We have this important request from our allies at Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. 

F.A.S. Environmental, Inc. is trying to re-zone parts of the Atchafalaya Basin from Residential/Forestry to Heavy Industrial. This part of the Atchafalaya Basin, the Belle River area, has the most pristine and productive swamps that remain in the Basin, and it has the highest concentration of southern bald eagles in the world.  Do we want our precious Basin to become the waste pit of North America?  What benefit would that be to our kids and grandkids? Once gone, it’s gone forever. 

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