Ballard Locks

The Ballard Locks form a small, but very important link in the chain. The locks connect the inland water ways to the ocean.

Fish at Ballard Locks

All salmon and steelhead must pass through the facility twice during their lives; first as juveniles when they migrate to the sea, then again as adults returning to spawn. The locks facilities include a number of pathways for migrating fish. Some of these pathways, like the fish ladder, can be relatively fish friendly; others, like the locks filling culverts, can damage and kill fish.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been working with federal, state, tribal and local governments, interest groups and concerned citizens to make a number of improvements in the way the locks facilities are configured and operated. These efforts are already paying off in increased fish survival and a better understanding of what more needs to be done.

The Cedar River Watershed HCP provides approximately $2 million to help pay for fish passage and water use efficiency improvements at the locks including the recent construction of juvenile fish passage flumes. Researchers believe that the fish flumes now provide safe passage for the majority of young fish as they migrate downstream to Puget Sound. The measures provided by the HCP are contributing to a larger collaborative effort, led by the USACE, to further improve conditions at the locks, and throughout the Lake Washington Ship Canal.