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

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Managing water levels - The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Lake Washington, and the Cedar River


Rearched and written by Kyle Stetler
Spillway Dam, looking upstream, under construction. June 19, 1916.



Looking north east at the spillway dam and lock site. Dec. 10, 1920


With spring runoff starting, winter floods behind us, and a record drenching March, as you walk over the locks, some of you may wonder where does all this water come from and how does the Corps of Engineers know how much to release or keep.

The water that leaves through the lock chambers, races under the tainter gates, or gushes through the fish ladder at the Hiram M. Chittenden locks has had a long journey by the time it hits the Puget Sound. Most of the water starts out as snow high in the Cascade Mountains slowly working its way down, over waterfalls, through turbines, meandering down a river, and then hanging out in Seattle before finally meeting the ocean. In this article we will take a brief look at the history of what role the locks has had on the watershed that drains through Salmon Bay and how and who manages the water levels.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Springtime at the Locks

While it's still a little early for viewing the annual salmon migration through the Chittenden Locks, the boating traffic is starting to increase (the small lock has been closed for the regular inspection/maintenance, but will reopen soon), the Carl English Garden has been busier than ever. Spring brings an outburst of new blooms and if you take your time walking through the grounds you can see some new arrivals. These photos were taken by Emily Dunn, a local high school student, who has provided us with many other garden photos while accumulating hours towards her community service. See how many of these flowers you can spot on your next visit.