November 26, 2001 - Blackwater Conservation Area

One of Baton Rouge's more unsightly areas is becoming a showplace. With land donated by the Department of Public Works and a big assist from the Corps of Engineers, BREC is hard at work, creating the Blackwater Conservation Area.

For decades it was just the old dirt pit where Hooper Road crosses the Comite River. It was just scrub, covered with Chinese tallow trees in July when the Corps of Engineers started its reclamation. Today ponds are dug, landscaping progresses. Seven thousand native trees will be planted -- where the dirt had been too alkaline. Huge mounds of soil are the cure. Think of it as the potting soil you might pick up for your house plants over at the garden center. But they buy this stuff by the ton. It's a mixture of lime and mulch. They mix it with the ordinary dirt around here, and pretty soon you've got soil that will support cypress and other trees and plants.

Claire Coco of BREC says, "The bird watching is going to be outstanding out here because of the series of ponds that we're going to have. We'll be able to attract a number of the aquatic bird species as well. There are not many areas within East Baton Rouge Parish where you can actually do that close to the city limits." The neighbors are delighted. One of them, Brian Benson dropped in to say, "We'll be out here pretty regularly and take advantage of doing some fishing eventually, something like that." Natural forest remains intact, sloping down a spectacular vista of the Comite River, as the Blackwater Conservation Area takes shape. When it's complete in March, the conservation area will be very similar to BREC's Bluebonnet Swamp.