New, Lighter Tidegates Hold Promise for
Fish and Farmers
Stillaguamish Flood Control District Commissioner Chuck Hazleton
has been diligently experimenting with solutions that work for fish
and for farmers for the last two years. The Flood Control District,
in partnership with the Stillaguamish Tribe, is harnessing the creativity
and results-focused-energies of both communities. Having built 11
fish passable tidegates, Chuck Hazleton marvels at how much he has
learned. Working in his farm shop, he piled sandbags on top of a
variety of materials to ascertain their strength and see how easy
they would be to repair. He experimented with hinges and high strength
corrosion resistant steel.
After all this experimentation, Chuck and his partners created tidegates
that weigh 80 pounds instead of the usual 400 pounds. These tidegates
are easier to install and maintain—two people can handle the
job so if something goes wrong, it can be fixed relatively quickly.
These lighter tidegates are also more functional. Their lower weight
means that the gate stays open more often allowing increased opportunities
for fish to pass through. At the same time, water also flows out
more frequently keeping farmers’ fields drained.
On the phone Chuck remarked how proud he is that the “Indians
and the settlers” can work together on a project and exceed
their expectations in regard to fish and farming benefits. Part of
the success is recognizing that this solution works well in some
places but is not the right option everywhere tidegates are needed.
The biggest benefit is in ditches and streams where flow is constant.
“This example proves that when people are willing to work
together on areas of common interest,” Chuck said. “They
can get a lot accomplished through experimentation, diligence and
staying focused on mutually beneficial goals.”
For more information please contact Carol MacIlroy 206-447-7626
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.