Barro Colorado Island from Gatun Lake, by Unknown, c. 1940s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Barro Colorado Island, Panama, was created when the Chagras River was dammed to create Gatun Lake as a watershed for the Panama Canal. The picture of the island shows a tree and a tree stump in the water. Barro Colorado Island, which was home to the Canal Zone Biological Area, was renamed in 1964 the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute..