Formed by the confluence of Coharie and Six Runs Creeks, the Black River snakes its way over 60 miles through portions of Sampson, Bladen and Pender counties before emptying into the Cape Fear River 14 miles above Wilmington. Upstream the waters flow more swiftly past large forests of oaks and other bottomland hardwoods and cypress and tupelo gums in the wetter swales. Occasional high banks rise above the river, the highest being a 60-foot bluff with mountain laurel and galax. Further downstream the river slows and spreads out into expansive bald cypress-dominated swamps. In a few places, sandy upland sites along the river support longleaf pines and turkey oaks.
The story of the Ohio River and its settlements are an integral part of American history, particularly during the country's westward expansion. The vibrant African American communities along the Ohio's banks, however, have rarely been studied in depth. Blacks have lived in the Ohio River Valley since the late eighteenth century, and since the river divided the free labor North and the slave labor South, black communities faced unique challenges.
Despite these challenges, black river communities continued to thrive during slavery, after emancipation, and throughout the Jim Crow era. Families were established despite forced separations and the lack of legally recognized marriages. Blacks were subjected to intimidation and violence on both shores and were denied even the most basic state-supported services. As a result, communities were left to devise their own strategies for preventing homelessness, disease, and unemployment.
Bigham chronicles the lives of blacks in small river towns and urban centers alike and shows how family, community, and education were central to their development as free citizens. These local histories and life stories are an important part of understanding the evolution of race relations in a critical American region. On Jordan's Banks documents the developing patterns of employment, housing, education, and religious and cultural life that would later shape African American communities during the Jim Crow era and well into the twentieth century.
Black River is a free-flowing black water river shouldered by a ribbon of dense, undisturbed swamp forest. This ribbon of wild and undeveloped land provides high quality habitat for a variety of plant and animal species including some rare, threatened and endangered species such as American chaffseed and the swallow-tailed kite.
The water has a dark inky black color due to chemicals known as tannins leached from the cypress trees and the surrounding swamps. This river has many curves, white sandbars, and seldom flows over 5 miles per hour. It draws fisherman from all over for its bounty of:
At a stage of 6 feet residents should be aware that the river is likely to flood. At a stage height of 8 feet the Black River has reached Flood Stage; the river will spill out of its banks into nearby fields and woods with limited water over a few spots on local roads. At 10 feet moderate flooding will occur. This stage height corresponds to 15.5 feet at the Prather Road Bridge on the Chehalis River. At this level, the Chehalis River in Thurston County will flood several roads in Independence Valley with swiftly moving water including US Highway 12 and James, Independence, Moon and Anderson roads. Flood waters will cut off access to and from the Chehalis Reservation and inundate nearby farm lands. Some residential structures may be threatened. When the Black River reaches a stage of 12 feet, Major Flooding will occur. During the flooding in December 2007 the gauge on the Black River recorded a stage height of 14.5 feet.
Flows are excellent at 546 CFS as of Monday morning. These flows are quite pushy and caution should be exercised. Flows will increase with some rain Monday and Friday into Saturday. After Saturday's rain and warmer temp this river will be high for a while during the snow melt. Check the gauge before going out. Safe wading is under 550-600 CFS. Smaller Black Stoneflies have been hatching. Warmer daytime temps may get the bugs and fish moving. Watch the snow and ice on the banks. Rocks can be slippery, exercise safe wading and consider a wading stick. During hatches, fish are keying in on nymphs like Blue Winged Olives, BH Hare's Ear with flash, Prince Nymphs, Copper Johns and Caddis nymphs like Zug Bugs and Green Hare's Ears. Keeping your distance and not spooking fish at clear and low flows is important. Ripping colorful (orange, yellow, green, red streamers may get their attention. Midweek and Weekend updates can be found on Instagram/Facebook at @woodstockfishingguides. THE WOODSTOCK INN & RESORT FLY SHOP @ the Activity Center is CLOSED for the season BUT... we will are OPEN in the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center from 9AM-4pm Daily!
Naturalists can discover rich, biodiverse habitats along the entire length of the river, and it is noted for its excellent fishing and as the home of abundant wildlife. Even once-rare species, like the black bear and bald eagle, are now found along its wild banks. The Ouachita Valley is a vital artery of the Mississippi Flyway and provides resting, feeding, and breeding sites for migratory waterfowl and Neotropical migrants like warblers and hummingbirds.
There is much evidence of early Native-American life along the rich, alluvial shores of the river in the form of earthen mounds and artifacts. The ancient peoples used the river for transportation, food, and trade. In the 1990s Dr. Joe Saunders, regional archaeologist of the Louisiana Division of Archaeology, and amateur archaeologist Reca Jones made the phenomenal discovery along the banks of the Ouachita River south of West Monroe of eleven ancient mounds and connecting ridges. The site, now called Watson Brake, is among the earliest mounds in North America and its occupation has been radiocarbon dated between 3,500 and 2,800 B.C. According to Saunders, bone fragments from the site provide a record of the variety of animals that lived in and along the Ouachita during these ancient times. The assortment is amazing: fish (drum, buffalo, channel and blue catfish, bass, crappie, and bream), mammals (beaver, raccoon, muskrat, otter, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, cottontail rabbit, swamp rabbit, and white-tailed deer), waterfowl (duck and geese), and other birds (turkey and ruffed grouse). Approximately five thousand years later, many of these same animals can be found in diverse habitats in and along the river. 781b155fdc