Preserving the History of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, Washington

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Down Under the Large Lock

Why did they scrape the cement down there?

The Chittenden Locks are the passage between the fresh water lakes and Puget Sound not only for boats but also for the thousands of salmon migrating through the Lake Washington Ship Canal. While most of the fish use the fish ladder or smolt flumes, a small percentage do migrate through the locks (there's always some who don't follow the crowd!).

When the locks are filling or draining the water flow through the openings is fast and furious. Salmon can get brushed up against the sides of the lock chamber or pulled into the tunnels by the force of the water flow. Barnacles are scraped off to help eliminate injury to the fish. When the surfaces around lateral tunnels and the surfaces of the filling tunnels are smooth, the salmon are protected from being 'de-scaled' against the sharp edges of the barnacles.

The large lock is scheduled for refilling on Wednesday 11/25, the small lock is scheduled for it's annual draining/cleaning in March.

More Coverage:

An amazing amount of sea life resides just inside the downstream gate of the large lock, these are 3 starfish waiting for re-filling.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Under the Waters of the Large Lock

Pssst! Wanna see something totally cool?

Head down to the Chittenden Locks this week, it's PUMP-OUT TIME!

The large lock has been drained for its annual inspection and maintenance. All the water has been pumped out so workers can inspect the valves, gates, etc.- and pick up the cell phones, cameras, whatever, that have gone overboard during the year. You can see the floor of the lock 55 feet down, the valves where the water goes in and out, and the crows and gulls feasting on the barnacles that have just been uncovered.

Check back again for more details and photos.

Other Coverage:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friends of the Ballard Locks Meeting Thursday, November 19th

There will be a meeting of the Friends of the Ballard Locks this Thursday!

We meet at the locks at 6:30pm. Parking is free after 6pm in the main locks lot.

If you'd like to join us, please fill out our volunteer form or drop a line to We'll send you directions to the meeting & make sure you can find us!