Atchafalaya Basinkeeper


Dean Wilson
[email protected]

The Atchafalaya Basin is the source of the Atchafalaya River, a 135-mile long natural distributary of the Mississippi River that empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Achafalaya Basin is the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest in North America, and supports half of America’s migratory waterfowl. The Basin may be one of the last refuges for such endangered species as the Peregrine Falcon and the Florida Panther. Overall the Basin is home for nine Federal and State listed endangered/threatened wildlife species, six endangered/threatened bird species, twenty nine rookeries, more than forty mammalian species, more than forty reptilian and more than twenty amphibian species. 

Dean A. Wilson is the founding executive director of the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. He came to South Louisiana in 1984 from Spain, and made his living as a commercial fisherman. The dredging of oil and gas-industry canals, illegal development, sedimentation and poor water quality threatened the health of the Basin and those that depend upon it. When landowners and timber companies developed plans to clear-cut Atchafalaya's cypress forests he decided it was time to stand up and protect his beloved Basin and founded Atchafalaya Basinkeeper. Dan was named a 2011 Tom's of Maine River Heroes Award winner for his work in conserving thousands of acres of cypress-tupelo swamps throughout coastal Louisiana. 


1470 Bayou Mercier Road
St. Martinville, Louisiana 70582