Atchafalaya Basin Program Updated:10/2013

Splitting off from the Mississippi River near Simmesport, the Atchafalaya River, on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, is the flowing lifeline of the nation’s largest river swamp – the Atchafalaya Basin. Atchafalaya is a Native American word, named in the Choctaw tongue, “hacha” for river and “falaia” for long.

Home to some of Louisiana’s signature wildlife – alligators, roseate spoonbills, water moccasins and crawfish, to name a few – and spectacular views of the intersection of plant life, animal life, water and weather, the Atchafalaya Basin has long called to fishermen, photographers, hunters and those who simply enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature.

As the river’s flow has marked the generations, people have made different aspects of what is now the Atchafalaya Basin spillway part of their heritage, from the Native Americans who made their homes there to the loggers and fisherman who used the natural riches of the basin to make their livelihoods.


The state Department of Natural Resources oversees the management of the state master plan for the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System. The Atchafalaya Basing Program operates under the authority of Act 3 of 1998 and Act 920 of 1999. DNR, the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the basin parishes work together in creating projects by executing cooperative endeavors or agreements that protect and enhance the basin. Several other state agencies, like the departments of Wildlife and Fisheries and Culture, Recreation and Tourism, also work to establish projects aimed at enhancing the basin.

Basin projects include water management, boat landings, trails and parks, and recreation. Several ABP projects already completed include Welcome Center at Butte LaRose, Belle River Boat Landing, Henderson Walking Trail, and the Baldwin Recreation Park Enhancements.

FY 2014 Annual Plan

Contact Atchafalaya Basin Program

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Contact Atchafalaya Basin Program

Dana Naquin
P.O. Box 94396
Baton Rouge, LA  70804-9396
Phone: 225-342-6437

Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Louisiana