Bayou Bartholomew

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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 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 be either 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 sometimes paved to help prevent flooding. Bayous are commonly found in the Gulf Coast region of the southern United States, notably the Mississippi River Delta, with the states of Louisiana and Texas being famous for them. A bayou is frequently an anabranch or minor braid of a braided channel that is moving much more slowly 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.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

Louisiana State of the United States of America

Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.


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.

Arkansas River major tributary of the Mississippi River, United States

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.

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.

Monticello, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Monticello is a city in, and the county seat of, Drew County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 9,467.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers.

Ducks Unlimited American nonprofit organization

Ducks Unlimited (DU) is an American nonprofit organization 501(c) dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, other wildlife, and people. It has maintained a worldwide membership of about 700,000 since January 2013.


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] [4]
Jefferson County, Arkansas: 34°17′01″N92°10′11″W / 34.28355°N 92.16980°W / 34.28355; -92.16980 [3] [4]

Cultural references

Indie rock band The Weeks plays a song called "Bayou Bartholomew" in their EP album Rumspringa .

The Weeks are an indie rock band from Florence, Mississippi.

The Robert Hill Band,has an original slide guitar instrumental entitled, "Bayou Bartholomew", on their 2015 release, "Have Slide Will Travel." Hill is an Arkansas native,and award-winning slide guitarist/songwriter.

See also

List of Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers

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  1. "Bayou Bartholomew". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. 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.
  4. 1 2 "Bayou Bartholomew". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2014-01-05.