Atchafalaya Basinkeeper protects what remains of the Atchafalaya Basin and Louisiana's coastal cypress swamps. We employ various tactics to advocate for this unique environment. Our Program work is the driving force behind our advocacy efforts. ABK's programs include:
Monitoring & Enforcement
What sets ABK apart from other organizations is our call to action. As a waterkeeper organization, we work to advocate and enforce compliance with environmental laws, for the benefit of our Basin and the communities that rely upon it. We use the law to support our in-court and out-of-court advocacy, to ensure that the interests of the Basin are considered in public forums and to stop ongoing pollution and impairment of our waterways. Our primary drive in our daily work is our Monitoring and Enforcement Program. This program underpins all of our advocacy efforts. Through this program, we monitor the Basin for destructive activities, illegal development and unpermitted actions. With help from our friends at SouthWings, we are able to identify illegal logging, development or pollution from the air. We also monitor by boat and foot to ensure that conduct occurring in the Basin is properly performed and with all necessary permits and approvals by our regulators. We use the information gathered to ensure enforcement with environmental laws, submitting comments on development projects and taking polluters to court when all else fails. Our vision is to promote environmental compliance by industry and enforcement by our regulators. In order to achieve these ends, we rely on your support. Please consider becoming a member or sponsor of Basinkeeper, volunteering, or reporting pollution or other impairments in the Basin to our staff. We can all work together to protect this ecological wonder for everyone to enjoy.
More than anything else, the future of the Atchafalaya Basin will be determined by the way we manage water and its sediments. The Atchafalaya Basin, with its cypress-tupelo swamps, is truly one of the wonders of America. It contains some of the most productive wetlands in the world and is the last great habitat of its kind in North America. The swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin are very old. In natural systems some swamps may change into bottomland hardwood forests while new swamps are created elsewhere, but with human intervention this is no longer the case. The system in the Basin is no longer natural.
The Atchafalaya Basin is silting at an alarming rate because of human activities. Poor farming practices all over the nation have increased the sediment load into the Mississippi River. The Corps manipulate the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Basin with a goal of diverting up to 65% of the Mississippi's sediment load into the Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya Basin is unique and cannot be replicated elsewhere. If we don't act now, we will lose it forever.
Atchafalaya Basinkeeper advocates for effective changes in water management in Louisiana. This includes the development of a master plan for the Basin that will realign the natural bayous, request alterations to the current state of sediment-laden river water diversions from the Mississippi, and ameliorate the conditions of our swamps, lakes, rivers and bayous. Our vision is for the implementation of a long-term management plan for the Basin, one that can be effectively maintained and will support the interests of the commercial and recreational users, navigation and commerce, as well as flood control and protection of coastal communities. Moreover, an effective management plan can allow for the redirection of sediments that are now being displaced in the Basin to the coast where it is most needed to combat rising seas and land loss.
Education & outreach
Atchafalaya Basinkeeper works to educate the general public, students, impacted communities, regulators, legislators, government and industry about the importance of the Atchafalaya Basin, our work in protecting our remaining wetlands and the many threats that face our watershed. We use Facebook, Instagram, website updates and outreach to our membership to inform the public of updates in our legal battles, events, calls to action, volunteer opportunities and more. Stay plugged in for more information or contact our staff to learn more about how you can stay informed.