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The Atchafalaya Basin: Ecology and Industry

Discover Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin


Located in south-central Louisiana, the Atchafalaya Basin is bordered by the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) system levees, which constantly changes the Basin’s landscape.

Atchafalaya Basin

The Basin begins by Simmesport, LA, and spans 140 miles south, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. It includes 58,400 acres of wetlands in St. Mary Parish alone, and one of the great wilderness areas of the “Sportsman’s Paradise.”

Atchafalaya Basin Wildlife

As the nation’s largest river swamp, the Atchafalaya Basin holds almost one million acres of bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous, and backwater lakes. The rivers, streams, and marshy areas boast twists and turns, snaking their way across the land, creating a unique ecosystem.

It is an area perfect for fishing and boating. Highlights include the Lower Atchafalaya River, Wax Lake Outlet, Atchafalaya Bay, as well as the Atchafalaya River and Bayous Chene, Boeuf, and Black navigation channel. This area maintains an impressive array of natural resources,five times the amount of other river basins.

Fifteen thousand acres are set aside for the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge. This massive area is where deer, nutria, mink, squirrels, and 40 species of birds (including a few endangered species) thrive in their natural habitat. Bald eagle, Louisiana black bear, and the American alligator have a place here as well.

Commercial Industry in the Atchafalaya Basin

More than just land animals, the Atchafalaya Basin serves as a haven for more than 150 different kinds of fish and two kinds of crawfish: red swamp crawfish and white river crawfish.

Speaking of mudbugs, the Basin is the big daddy in the commercial crawdaddy harvesting industry. Some 22 million pounds of crawfish are fished from the area each year. It is an industry that dates back to the 1700s.

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Deepwater crawfish trapping is a big deal. It takes 22 crawfish to make a pound, and crawfish lovers can easily eat more than their fair share. Rice farmers frequently use their fields for crawfish during the off-season. Even the shell of the crawfish is valuable and is sold to commercial manufacturers to craft a variety of products from time-released medicines to paper to contact lenses.

Industrial Projects

From pipeline trenching to marsh transportation and excavation, Stan’s Airboat and Marsh Excavator Service helps businesses work in the Atchafalaya Basin with minimal impact on the ecosystem.

The Atchafalaya Basin home to the largest network of oil and gas access canal construction of any swamp in the world. Given the landscape, it is easy for pipeline areas to become overgrown and filled with brush.

We have the tools, experience, and knowledge to work in these difficult-to-navigate regions and get any marsh project completed. Contact Stan’s Airboat and Marsh Excavator Service today to learn more.

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