Lock & Dam 1
—Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail —
Located on Red River 11 miles upstream from Marksville, Lock & Dam #1 is the first of five locks used to manage transportation from Shreveport to the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers.
The Red River is 1,360 miles long and originates in the states of Texas and Oklahoma, carrying its distinct, reddish-orange sediment southeast as it flows through northern Louisiana. The river's color comes from rust-colored soils—made up of sandstone, siltstone and shale—found in older Permian red beds in arid areas near the river's origins. These sediments are visible in water, sandbars, river banks and alluvial farmlands in the Red River floodplain.
The connection between the Red, Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers began long ago when the Red started flowing toward a large meander of the Mississippi. This meander (later called Turnbull's Bend) intercepted the Red River, turning it into a tributary. The Atchafalaya River also eventually connected with the meander, becoming a distributary. In the mid-1800s, construction of a cut through the narrow neck of Turnbull's Bend made navigation on the Mississippi more efficient. While the upper channel of Turnbull's Bend gradually silted in and separated from the Mississippi, the lower channel—Old River—became an important connection between the three rivers.
a series of levees, outlets, locks and dams provides river transportation, bank stabilization and recreational opportunities for the region. Located on the Red River 11 miles upstream from Marksville, Lock and Dam # 1 (also called the Lindy C. Boggs Lock and Dam) is the first of five locks that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses to manage transportation from Shreveport to the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. Without these controls and constant efforts by numerous engineers and agencies, water transportation on the Red River in central Louisiana would not be practical or productive.
Severe floods on the Red River in both 1948 and 2015 are significant reminders of the power of water in this dynamic river environment. And although the locks were not designed for flood control, positive water management through the system can have an effect on water levels near the river and below this lock.
Visit Atchafalaya.org for more information about this site.
This site's geology/geomorphology: Holocene natural levee deposits of Red River