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Back to Normal on Bayou Fountain

2016-04-09

Now that Bayou Fountain is back to normal levels after all the high water and flooding, it was time to head out and deal with the results.  We found a few fallen trees and some long-log blocks, and we took care of them all.

With the water as high as it was and for an extended period, we knew there would be a bit of work to do when we got back out there.  Our biggest concern was fallen trees and freshly formed jams, both of which you tend to get after high water.  With that in mind, we loaded up a full set of gear and headed down Bayou Fountain ready for a very full day.

Within the first mile, we came to a small cluster of fallen trees.  Thankfully, they were all rather small and spindly, so we made quick enough work of them.  (This one was just off camera downstream of the timelapse at the top of this post.)  Dismantling the fallen trees was no difficult task, but the fact there was almost no current made dispersing the accumulated jam less effective.  We fished out and cut up all the long pieces we could catch, so it should flow freely from here.

There were only a handful of fallen trees to deal with, and the most “difficult” part was when we came to one that had a beautifully colored snake sunning itself on one of them.  We felt bad displacing him from such a nice perch, but the fallen tree was in the way and had to go.  So, we bounced the limb.  We took care of the rest of the tree.  We gently encouraged him to leave by poking near him with a long, narrow branch.  Alas, he really liked his perch.  In the end, we started slowly cutting the limb from the trunk end until it gradually lowered our docile little friend to the water’s surface, at which point he swam over to the bank and we finished dismantling the tree.  (Sorry, snakey, but it was too much in the way.)

We had a few more blockages to work, including the one in this timelapse, but there were no giant trees down.  The proto-jams of litter, duckweed, and general muck were not difficult to paddle right through.  Even with everything moving around and washing down in the very high water, the maintenance we keep up on the paddle trail seems to be quite effective at keeping it from returning to the state in which we originally found it.

Around the time we were finishing the last real blockage, some kayakers came by on their way from Highland Road Park to Manchac Park.  We always enjoy chatting with others out for a paddle, and it certainly makes us feel like the work is a job well done.  We also saw a few of the local property owners out an about, and we traded anecdotes about the recent flooding. How high was the water?

We managed to finish the run and make it back to the park in time to leave by around five, which was half an hour earlier than Mike’s guess.  There’s a whole lot of litter out there, so next Saturday, we’re going to do a cleanup.  We should have a nice group from LSU coming to help out, but we’d love to have as much help as we can.  If we somehow end up with too much, well, we’ll just have to enjoy paddling the bayou.

We’ll be out Friday, April 15th, for BREC Outdoor Adventure’s Sunset Paddle, then Saturday for the cleanup on Bayou Fountain, and on Sunday we’ll be downtown for Louisiana Earth Day.  Come drop by and say hi.  Just look for the PaddleBR red canopy.

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