Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Another state that often gets left off the lists.

A general note about river swamps in Georgia and the Carolinas... as the rivers come off the piedmont into the coastal plain, they slow down suddenly at the fall line and deposit great loads of sediment. This typically builds large swamps for 20-40 miles below the fall line. Farther downstream the floodplains often narrow across the middle coastal plain, then broaden again in the very flat lower coastal plain. So atlantic slope river swamps often have a stretched-out hourglass shape -- fat at the top and bottom, narrower in the middle.

Most of the gulf coastal plain in Georgia is relatively hilly uplands, so the swamps are not as well developed over much of it. But there are some, including one famous one.

1. Flint River from highway 96 to Lake Blackshear. A moderately well developed fall-line swamp.

2. Alapaha river from highway 82 to Mayday, fairly short and narrow.

3. The Okefenokee Swamp -- a difficult case. On the one hand, most of it doesn't really look like the best habitat, consisting of dense stands of relatively young trees (mostly cypress) and virtually no old growth. On the other hand, it is huge, managed as wilderness , and the forests are getting more mature every decade. Plus the Suwanee provides a corridor connecting up with large areas in Florida. Some of the more promising areas are along and north of the Suwannee river above the Suwannee sill and trending towards Floyd Island, and in the southern parts south of Blackjack Island.

4. Suwanee River below the Sill on in to Florida

Some nice swamps here

5. Satilla River below Waycross to below highway 82.

The Altamaha system -- a large and virtually unbroken collection of river swamps, made of several segments:

6. Ocmulgee river below Macon. The fall line swamp here has been developed in some spots for mining and industry but still is fairly extensive, and good bottomlands continue downstream

7. Oconee river below Milledgeville. Just below the fall line it is very large and intact, forming the "Great Oconee Swamp" for about 40 miles.

8. Altamaha River -- entire length from the Ocmulgee/Oconee confluence to just above I-95. Well developed, wide, and with several stands of old growth.

9. Ohoopee River below Ohoopee to the Altamaha.

Also on the Atlantic slope:

10. Ogeechee River from Grange to above I-95, especially the fall-line swamp in Washington and Jefferson counties, and another wide stretch in Effingham and Bulloch counties; plus lower Black Creek in Bulloch and Bryan counties

11. Savannah River below Augusta to near Clyo. Extensive clay mining in the fall line swamp, and most of the best floodplain swamps are on the South Carolina side.


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