Arkansas PBS > Programs > Exploring Arkansas > Exploring Arkansas Blog > "Bayou Bartholomew" Premieres Thursday, March 14

"Bayou Bartholomew" Premieres Thursday, March 14

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  • Chuck Dovish
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Two years in the making, our one-hour documentary on the world’s longest bayou – "Bayou Bartholomew" is finally set to premiere on AETN Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m.  

Bayou Bartholomew is not only a wonder of nature, but a national treasure – and most folks have never even heard of it !

It’s actually one of the most diverse streams in North America, containing 117 species of fish along with a habitat of 197 species of birds. 

The bayou’s meager beginnings are in a fern-laden area near Pine Bluff, that’s actually located behind a farm. For 359 miles, it twists its way through south Arkansas and on into Louisiana before emptying into the Ouachita River near Sterlington.  

The section of Bayou Bartholomew in Louisiana is protected and designated as a “Natural and Scenic River” but, in Arkansas, that’s not the case. The Natural State’s “state of the bayou” is one that contains poor water quality and suffers from agri runoff, not to mention that 90 percent of the bayou’s water is drained during the summer months for irrigation. The Bayou Bartholomew Alliance is trying to change all of that and is trying to get the section in Arkansas restored and protected as well.

After all, 269 miles of the world’s longest bayou runs through The Natural State … and, on average, there’s one diesel fuel spewing irrigation pump for every mile, polluting the bayou ! Something is drastically wrong with that picture ! 

This documentary will also explain the history of Bayou Bartholomew, which dates back 3,000 years to the Native Americans who built mounds all along the bayou.  Once overlooked and neglected in American history for its contribution in developing the heart of the Delta, the bayou’s true story will be told by the people who lived along it, going back to the steamboat and plantation days. 



"Bayou Bartholomew," Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 7, at 4 p.m.