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

Contact us at

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great Free Concerts at the Locks!

The weather finally cooperated for the concerts at the Ballard Locks last Weekend. On Sunday, The Microsoft Orchestra treated the crowd of over 300 people to a couple of sets playing under the grand red oak trees. The selection included lots of classics, such as Gershwin and Sousa, as well as a new score of music featured in the video game Halo.

Check out next weekend's music schedule for Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, July 3 from 2-4 pm,Dissonance Jazz Combo will play. Sunday, Independence Day, the Seattle Civic Band will play some stirring marching music from 2-3 pm.

There will be lots more free music at the Ballard Locks all summer!

See the previous post or check out the most up-to-date schedule at the USACE events page.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sockeye Swimming Up the Ladder

Just like clockwork the salmon are returning to the fish ladder at the Chittenden Locks.

Of the 3 Pacific salmon species that use the fish ladder, the sockeye are the first to return each year, coming back from the Gulf of Alaska where they have been feeding for the last 2-3 years. The majority of them were hatched on the Cedar River and are returning there to spawn.

When we see them at the Locks they are silver color, called 'ocean phase,' and are easily identified from other salmon species by the lack of spots on their backs. Sockeye will average 6-8 pounds and 24-30 inches long. As they journey through fresh water to the spawning beds their bodies will take on the distinctive red color called 'freshwater phase.'

Moving through the Canal and lakes they will reach the spawning beds in late September/early October. Each female will lay several thousand eggs in the gravel of the riverbed where they remain for 3 months until hatching into tiny fish called alevins. Both male and female salmon die after spawning, thereby becoming an important part of the ecosystem as their decaying bodies return essential nutrients- nitrogen, phosphorus- to the soils along the streams.

The fish ladder viewing gallery is open daily from 7 a.m.-8:45 p.m., there are displays there and in the Visitor Center (10 - 6:00 daily) with additional information on the salmon life cycle.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bagpipes on Sunday

Ballard offered up real Scottish weather for the Elliott Bay Bagpipe Band concert at the Locks last Sunday. A small, hardy audience braved the 'highland mist' to hear the band's annual Father's Day performance.

More free concerts to come!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fish Ladder is Open! Sockeye are Swimming!

A source at the Ballard Locks has informed us that the fish ladder is open and sockeye salmon are swimming upstream.

Pictures and more words coming soon...