The Y is for Salmon and Campers

The Y is committed to environmental preservation, including the health of our state’s salmon population. For nearly two years, the Y has been engaged in a collaborative process with key stakeholders to evaluate and propose options for enhanced fish passage at Whiteman Cove. We believe our proposal is a solution that will preserve the cove integrity for continued use by fish, wildlife, campers, and the surrounding community alike.

Partnering with a Proven Leader in Environmental Engineering

Kleinschmidt R2 is an environmental and engineering consulting firm that specializes in aquatic science with a proven history in fish passage and protection. They have partnered with the Y to present an alternative option that involves installing a fish-friendly tide gate to allow for safe passage of salmon while maintaining water levels in the cove and the integrity of the berm. Fish-friendly tide gates have a proven track record as a viable solution across Washington State.

A Fish-Friendly Tide Gate Explained

Hear firsthand from aquatics engineer, Dana Postlewait, P. E., Principal Consultant for Kleinschmidt R2 Consulting Group, explain in simple terms how a fish-friendly tide gate operates to allow free passage for salmon in and out of Whiteman Cove.

What is a Tide Gate?

A tide gate is a water control feature on a water conduit that allows flow in one direction (such as on a flood or incoming tide), and blocks flow in the other direction (such as on an ebb or receding tide). The Y is proposing use of a fish-friendly tide gate versus a traditional tide gate to provide fish access to Whiteman Cove.

A traditional tide gate is simply a top-hinged gate that can be attached to a water channel. A conduit is sometimes buried under a road to enable drainage from or tidal inflow into an estuary. When the tide comes in, the flap is pushed open by the flow enough to open the gate and allow passage of water. Unfortunately, these traditional gates do not typically open wide enough to allow free fish passage. When the tide goes out, the flap shuts by gravity to maintain the water level but does not have a mechanism for fish to continue to pass through. This is not considered fish-friendly as it limits the opportunity for fish to freely come and go, both due to the tide level the gate is set at, and due to the constricted opening.

A fish-friendly tide gate operates the same way except that it has an actuator (a mechanical device) that can fully open the flap as the tide comes in to allow unrestricted fish passage both ways, depending on the velocity and the water levels. Then, as the tide goes out, the actuator closes the tide gate at a preset elevation, so fish can no longer exit through the gate. When the flap is closed, downstream fish still retain mobility through additional openings along the sides of the gate structure. During low tide, a modulated flow rate can create water levels suitable for human use.


Get to Know the Environmental Engineering Group

Kleinschmidt R2 has provided biological and engineering fish passage consulting services for more than 150 projects located throughout the United States and Canada. They are widely respected for conceptual and final design work of fish passage facilities and biological assessments relating to fish passage. Their multidisciplinary team of biologists, engineers, and regulatory specialists have outstanding knowledge and experience in the process of evaluating and developing fisheries protection and restoration plans in the context of fish passage requirements.

Locally, they've partnered with regional Tribes (Yakama Nation Fisheries, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Muckleshoot Tribe, Tulalip & Stillaguamish Tribe), electric utilities (Tacoma Public Utilities, Puget Sound Energy, PacifiCorp), water and conservation districts (Deschutes Valley Water District), and local cities and governmental agencies (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) related to fish passage projects. This experience has earned Kleinschmidt a reputation as one of the most respected fish passage study and design teams in the nation.


The Y in the Community

Camp & Outdoor Leadership

The YMCA has been the leader in Summer Camp for over 130 years. Over this time, we’ve fine-tuned our programs to meet youth and their families wherever they are in their journey with the outdoors.

Our Mission

Building a community where all people, especially the young, are encouraged to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body.

Save Salmon, Save Camp

Whiteman Cove at Camp Colman is in danger of being destroyed by a Department of Natural Resources proposal. We need your help to save “the lagoon” for salmon, campers, and the community alike.