Bayou Or Swamp What’s The Difference

Bayou Or Swamp What's The DifferenceHere in south eastern Louisiana, we have large swamps and tons of bayous. As a matter of fact, the Atchafalaya Basin, which is a combination of wetlands and river delta areas where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge, is the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of the nation’s most significant bottom-land hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes.  Have you ever wondered what the difference between a bayou and a swamp actually is? We took a closer look to figure out what distinguishes swamps and bayous. Here is what we found out.

Bayou

A bayou is defined as a relatively small, sluggish waterway through lowlands or swamps. It generally has a slow, almost imperceptible current flow. Bayous are sometimes also defined as slow moving streams crisscrossing Louisiana. They are marshy outlets of a lake or a river.  They say the world Bayou was first used by the English in Louisiana and is thought to originate from the Choctaw word “bayuk”, which means “small stream”. The first settlements of Bayou Teche, and other bayous, were by the Cajuns, and that is why bayous are associated with Cajun culture. Here in New Orleans, for example, Bayou St. John flows into Lake Pontchartrain.

Swamp

A swamp is an area of land permanently saturated, or filled, with water. The plants, that make up the area, are covered in water. There are two type of swamps: saltwater swamps and freshwater swamps. Swamps are dominated by trees such as cypress, cedar, or mangrove. Swamps can also have scrubs including the button-bush. Swamps are fed by groundwater or surface water.

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