Bayou Bartholomew

Last updated
Bayou Bartholomew near Pine Bluff, AR Bayou Bartholomew near Pine Bluff, AR.jpg
Bayou Bartholomew near Pine Bluff, AR

Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou in the world [1] meandering approximately 364 miles (586 km) between the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana. [2] It contains over 100 aquatic species making it the second most diverse stream in North America. Known for its excellent bream, catfish, and crappie fishing, portions of the bayou are considered some of the best kept secrets of Arkansas anglers. It starts northwest of the city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in the Hardin community, winds through parts of Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Chicot, and Ashley counties in Arkansas, and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, and eventually dumps into the Ouachita River after passing by the northernmost tip of Ouachita Parish, near Sterlington, Louisiana. The bayou serves as the primary border separating the Arkansas Delta from the Arkansas Timberlands.


Bayou Bartholomew Bayou Bartholomew.JPG
Bayou Bartholomew

The present bayou bed was formed by the waters of the Arkansas River during a period when it was constantly changing courses. Approximately 1,800 to 2,200 years ago, the river diverted from the present area of the bayou, and the leisurely bayou began to develop in the old river bed. Until construction of railroad lines in the area in the late 19th century, it was the most important stream for transportation in the interior Delta. It allowed the development of one of the richest timber and agricultural industries in the Delta area.

Once a pristine stream, it is now polluted, log-jammed, and over-sedimented in certain sections. In 1995, Dr. Curtis Merrell of Monticello (Drew County) organized the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance to "restore and preserve the natural beauty" of the bayou. With help from the Alliance, many government organizations (such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Ducks Unlimited, and the public, the bayou may eventually reclaim some of its grandeur. Projects underway include monitoring water quality, planting trees for buffer zones, restoring riparian sites ruined by clear-cutting, trash removal, removing log jams, bank stabilization, building boat ramps, and encouraging no-till farming.


Confluence with the Ouachita River in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana: 32°43′22″N92°03′50″W / 32.72291°N 92.06402°W / 32.72291; -92.06402 [3]
Jefferson County, Arkansas: 34°17′01″N92°10′11″W / 34.28355°N 92.16980°W / 34.28355; -92.16980 [3]

See also

List of Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers

Related Research Articles

Nevada County, Arkansas County in Arkansas

Nevada County is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,997, less than half of its peak in 1920. The county seat is Prescott. Nevada County is Arkansas's 63rd county, formed during the Reconstruction era on March 20, 1871, from portions of Hempstead, Ouachita and Columbia counties. It was named after the state of Nevada because of the perceived similarity between their physical shapes; the Arkansas county's shape, inverted, roughly follows the same outline as the state's boundary. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

Ashley County, Arkansas U.S. county in Arkansas

Ashley County is a rural South Arkansas county with a culture, economy, and history based on timber and agriculture. Created as Arkansas's 52nd county on November 30, 1848, Ashley County has seven incorporated municipalities, including Hamburg, the county seat and Crossett, the most populous city. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns. The county is named for Chester Ashley, a prominent lawyer in the Arkansas Territory and U.S. senator from the state from 1844 to 1848.

Union Parish, Louisiana Parish in Louisiana

Union Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,721. The parish seat is Farmerville. The parish was created on March 13, 1839, from a section of Ouachita Parish. Its boundaries have changed four times since then.

Ouachita Parish, Louisiana Parish in Louisiana

Ouachita Parish is located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 153,720. The parish seat is Monroe. The parish was formed in 1807.

Boston Mountains

The Boston Mountains is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Part of the Ozark Mountains, the Boston Mountains are a deeply dissected plateau. The ecoregion is steeper than the adjacent Springfield Plateau to the north, and bordered on the south by the Arkansas Valley. The Oklahoma portion of the range is locally referred to as the Cookson Hills.

Ouachita River river in the United States of America

The Ouachita River is a 605-mile-long (974 km) river that runs south and east through the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana, joining the Tensas River to form the Black River near Jonesville, Louisiana. It is the 25th-longest river in the United States.

Bayou French term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying area

In usage in the United States, a bayou is a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can either be an extremely slow-moving stream or river, or a marshy lake or wetland. The term bayou can also refer to a creek whose current reverses daily due to tides, and which contains brackish water highly conducive to fish life and plankton. Bayous are commonly found in the Gulf Coast region of the southern United States, notably the Mississippi River Delta, with the states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas being famous for them. A bayou is frequently an anabranch or minor braid of a braided channel that is moving much slower than the mainstem, often becoming boggy and stagnant. Though fauna varies by region, many bayous are home to crawfish, certain species of shrimp, other shellfish, catfish, frogs, toads, American alligators, American crocodiles, herons, turtles, spoonbills, snakes, leeches, and many other species.

Atchafalaya Basin largest wetland and swamp in the United States

The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. The river stretches from near Simmesport in the north through parts of eight parishes to the Morgan City southern area.

The Little River is a 96-mile-long (154 km) tributary of the Ouachita (Black) River in central Louisiana in the United States. Via the Ouachita and Red rivers, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River. According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Little River has also been known historically as "Bayou Des Nacitoches," "Catahoula Bayou," and "Catahoula River."

Arkansas Timberlands forested region

The Arkansas Timberlands is a region of the U.S. state of Arkansas generally encompassing the area south of the Ouachita Mountains, south of Central Arkansas and west of the Arkansas Delta. With several different definitions in use by various state agencies, the Arkansas Timberlands is essentially a region known for dense pine and cypress forests covering hilly terrain and lining numerous rivers. Modern settlement created a significant logging industry and subsequent clearance agriculture which provided the basis of the local economy until the discovery of petroleum. Local tourism is largely based on the popularity of deer hunting and bass fishing. Attractions there include Marks' Mills Battleground Historical Monument, Jenkins' Ferry Battleground Historical Monument, Overflow National Wildlife Refuge, Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, South Arkansas Arboretum, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, White Oak Lake State Park, Poison Springs Battleground State Park, Millwood State Park, and Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge. The Arkansas Timberlands is the birthplace of former President of the United States Bill Clinton.

Geography of Arkansas

The geography of Arkansas varies widely. The state is covered by mountains, river valleys, forests, lakes, and bayous in addition to the cities of Arkansas. Hot Springs National Park features bubbling springs of hot water, formerly sought across the country for their healing properties. Crowley's Ridge is a geological anomaly rising above the surrounding lowlands of the Mississippi embayment.

Lake Bistineau

Lake Bistineau is a long, narrow waterway of 15,550 acres (62.9 km2), 1.25 miles (2.01 km) wide and 14 miles (23 km) long located in Webster, Bossier, and Bienville parishes in northwestern Louisiana. The lake is fed by Dorcheat Bayou, Clark's Bayou, and other smaller streams. Bistineau is connected to the Red River and hence the Mississippi through Loggy Bayou. The name "Bistineau", derived from the Caddo Indians, means "big broth", a reference to the variety of plant life found in the water, often on the surface of the lake.

Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a Federal-State partnership whose mission it is to improve the quality of life for the residents of the Mississippi River Delta Region. The Delta Regional Authority serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Led by a Federal Co-Chairman appointed by the President and the governors of the eight states, the DRA fosters partnerships throughout the region as it works to improve the Delta economy. DRA funds can be used to leverage other federal and state programs.

Louisiana Highway 139 highway in Louisiana

Louisiana Highway 139 (LA 139) is a state highway located in northeastern Louisiana. It runs 20.20 miles (32.51 km) in a north–south direction from U.S. Highway 80 (US 80) in Monroe to the junction of US 165, US 425, LA 2, and LA 593 in Bastrop.

Ben Lilly Conservation Area

Ben Lilly Conservation Area is a 247-acre tract of protected area located in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) became the new owner in 2013.

Bayou Desiard

Bayou Desiard is a bayou in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. The bayou receives inflow from Bayou Bartholomew, Black Bayou Lake and Mill Bayou and flows through downtown Monroe, Louisiana and the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The Bayou Desiard Bridge crosses the bayou in Monroe.


  1. "Bayou Bartholomew". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  2. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite , accessed June 3, 2011
  3. 1 2 "Bayou Bartholomew". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2014-01-05.