Army Corps of Engineers
The funds are to be used to renovate and update exhibits for the Fish Ladder exhibit and viewing area.

$400,000 grant awarded for Fish Ladder improvements at Ballard Locks

Improvements are coming to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Fish Ladder thanks to a $400,000 grant awarded to Discover Your Northwest and The Corps Foundation.

The grant was presented to Corps and Discover Your Northwest representatives April 4 at the Ballard Locks.

The funds are to be used to renovate and update exhibits for the Fish Ladder exhibit and viewing area.

Both the Locks and the Fish Ladder are leading tourist attractions in Seattle, however due to lack of funding, both the attractions are in need of some repairs and updates.

For over 100 years the locks have moved recreational and commercial boats from Puget Sound to the Lake Washington Canal. Close to 1.5 million people pass through or visit the Ballard Locks every year, however, only a fraction of the boats pay for the service. Also, viewing the Locks and the Fish Ladder exhibit are free to the public.

The Fish Ladder is a viewing area where spectators can actually see the seasonal migration of salmon through underwater glass chambers. Some problems that rangers have noticed are poor lighting and acoustic challenges, inadequate interpretive signs, non-specified ranger posts and problems with the general organization of the space. The funds from the grant aim to remedy the issues and to also make the space less “dreary.” The grant will start the project that is expected to total $1 million.

The C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust is part of the Seattle Foundation and was established in 2006 as an Area of Interest Fund with a goal of identifying ways to improve the quality of life residents of Puget Sound.

“We are looking for organizations that are working in the arts, horticulture, wildlife, maritime and human service sectors, particularly agencies serving residents in Kitsap, Mason, Thurston and Jefferson Counties in Washington and Columbia County in Oregon,” stated the Trust.

Previous grants made by the Trust average around $220,000 but range from $3,000 to $1,000,000.

In conjunction with the grant, Discover Your Northwest is accepted donations from the public to help with the improvements to the Fish Ladder. Find out more information at

You can also learn more about this opportunity by visiting

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