Interconnectedness is an integral part of life for Bluebonnet Swamp, which helps to alleviate floods and serve as a filter for sediment and pollutants from the surrounding areas.
Bluebonnet Swamp is a combination cypress-tupelo swamp and magnolia-beech forest made up of the swamp itself and the surrounding higher land of the Pleistocene terrace. The area drains south into Bayou Fountain, which flows along Highland Road between the natural levee of the Mississippi River to the west and the Pleistocene terrace to the east. The bayou continues flowing southeast and empties into Bayou Manchac, the Rigolets and the Gulf of Mexico.
Interconnectedness is an integral part of life for swamps and bayous, which are tributaries to larger rivers, lakes and the ocean. Swamps serve as filters for sediment and pollutants from the surrounding areas. They are important sinks for capturing carbon and alleviating floods, working well as long as they are not overwhelmed by excessive flow rates and extreme flooding events. Bluebonnet Swamp serves as the major drainage basin for the watershed along Bluebonnet Boulevard and surrounding neighborhoods in Baton Rouge.
Increasing urbanization has caused a deterioration in Bluebonnet Swamp’s health. This is due to progressively higher flood events caused, in part, by increased runoff from additional paving and development in the watershed that feeds the swamp.
The Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center works to conserve this area while also offering education and recreation. The 103-acre facility teaches visitors about flora and fauna of the area and offers opportunities to view a variety of local wildlife, including hundreds of bird species during peak migrations, from the center’s gravel trails and boardwalks.
Visit Atchafalaya.org for more information about this site.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene alluvial deposits (natural levees, distributaries and abandoned channels) of small upland streams incised into Pleistocene coastal plain stream deposits blanketed by Peoria Loess.