This cypress swamp is dying at a rapid rate, from soil subsidence and salt water intrusion and from a lack of sediment and nutrients after having been deprived of overflow from the Mississippi River for so many years. The damage in just the last two years is remarkable.
Salt water storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain covered this area to a depth of 10 feet during Hurricane Katrina. Just 3 weeks later Hurricane Rita added more salt water. The Louisiana blue irises that grow along the banks of Bayou Labranche appear to be gone. I did not see a single one this year, from Norco to Destrehan.
Alligators are still plentiful, pileated woodpeckers are benefiting from the large number of trees that are already dead, and belted kingfishers are still swooping from tree to tree along the bayou. I spotted a beautiful adult bald eagle and a large barred owl today.
Without a large and ongoing infusion of water from the Mississippi River it will all be gone in a few years.