Shared Strategy for Puget Sound
About Shared Strategy
What's Happening in Your Area?
Salmon Recovery Plan
Stories of Progress

Stories of Progress

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


Shared Strategy for Puget Sound | 1411 4th Avenue, Suite 1015 | Seattle, WA 98101 | 206.447.3336