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Bayou Denizens

Bayou-Diversity (28 January 2018) BAYOU DENIZENS One of the most profound mysteries of nature involves salmon and their epic journeys from the ocean back to the freshwater rivers and streams of their birth in order to reproduce. In Louisiana there exists a species of fish that performs a feat no less amazing. In fact this species does the salmon act backwards. I am referring to the American eel. Eels are widespread in North America and common in the rivers and larger streams of our area. Though their bodies are elongated and snake-like, they are actually scaleless fish with fins and gills. They should not be confused with what many local people call “lamper eels”, which are not eels at


Bayou-Diversity (20 January 2018) Note: This essay was written after the government shut-down that occurred Dec. 15, 1995 to January 6, 1996, twelve years before the author retired. To those of us who work in the government sector, the recent Federal shutdown was an unprecedented exercise in frustration. My agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was one of the departments held as a political hostage. It is one of the smallest agencies with a budget of less than 1 percent of the total federal budget. In fact more money is spent annually on our military bands than on all 500+ National Wildlife Refuges combined. The impacts of the shutdown were at best a major inconvenience to the sev

Fox Folklore

Bayou-Diversity (7 January 2018) While on a late afternoon walk in the bottom north of the house, I heard a commotion in the dry, freshly fallen leaves beyond the creek. Something was coming my way. Suddenly, a red fox appeared in mid-air as he leaped across Rocky Branch, barely flowing in the late autumn drought. Dashing to the top of the ridge adjacent the swamp, he stopped and looked back over his shoulder at unseen pursuers. His beautiful, thick, red coat was primed for approaching winter temperatures, and he was panting. It later occurred to me that he was running just ahead of the folklore that has chased his kind for thousands of years. Wherever in the world foxes are found, the


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