Presentation Abstract

The Ballard Locks, operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), marked their 100th year of operation in 2017. The Locks allow access for all commercial and recreational vessel traffic between the Salish Sea and Lake Washington Ship Canal, Lake Union, and Lake Washington in Seattle. Annually, over $1.2 billion dollars of maritime commerce and 1 million tons of cargo depends on the Locks, and with over 40,000 vessels passing through each year, the Locks are the busiest in the country. In addition to vessel traffic, all salmon in the greater Lake Washington watershed must pass through the Locks both as ocean bound juveniles and as adults returning to spawn. While adult passage is facilitated through the fish ladder and juvenile passage has improved through smolt flumes and slides, repairs are needed to ensure effective fish passage and reduce salmon mortality. The Corps has identified a list of priority Locks repair projects, which need funding to be implemented. In addition to passage, high temperatures in the Ship Canal upstream of the Locks pose a salmon migratory barrier and mortality hotspot. Without fish passage and water quality improvements at the Locks, the local and regional investment of over $130 million dollars in habitat protection and restoration is at risk. Despite their enormous value to the region, the Locks do not align well with Corps’ criteria for facility maintenance funding, and repairs are not being implemented quickly enough. Fixing the Locks increases fish survival, but also reduces the likelihood of a regional catastrophe. A Locks failure would drop lake levels significantly, which would likely collapse the I-90 floating bridge, cause water quality issues, and effectively shut down the region. Locks repairs and upgrades are immediately necessary to improve conditions for fish and safeguard the people and infrastructure that depend on them.

Session Title

Posters: Habitat Restoration & Protection

Keywords

Fish passage, Salmon recovery, Army Corps of Engineers

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-75

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Improving fish passage and public safety at the Ballard Locks

The Ballard Locks, operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), marked their 100th year of operation in 2017. The Locks allow access for all commercial and recreational vessel traffic between the Salish Sea and Lake Washington Ship Canal, Lake Union, and Lake Washington in Seattle. Annually, over $1.2 billion dollars of maritime commerce and 1 million tons of cargo depends on the Locks, and with over 40,000 vessels passing through each year, the Locks are the busiest in the country. In addition to vessel traffic, all salmon in the greater Lake Washington watershed must pass through the Locks both as ocean bound juveniles and as adults returning to spawn. While adult passage is facilitated through the fish ladder and juvenile passage has improved through smolt flumes and slides, repairs are needed to ensure effective fish passage and reduce salmon mortality. The Corps has identified a list of priority Locks repair projects, which need funding to be implemented. In addition to passage, high temperatures in the Ship Canal upstream of the Locks pose a salmon migratory barrier and mortality hotspot. Without fish passage and water quality improvements at the Locks, the local and regional investment of over $130 million dollars in habitat protection and restoration is at risk. Despite their enormous value to the region, the Locks do not align well with Corps’ criteria for facility maintenance funding, and repairs are not being implemented quickly enough. Fixing the Locks increases fish survival, but also reduces the likelihood of a regional catastrophe. A Locks failure would drop lake levels significantly, which would likely collapse the I-90 floating bridge, cause water quality issues, and effectively shut down the region. Locks repairs and upgrades are immediately necessary to improve conditions for fish and safeguard the people and infrastructure that depend on them.