Tide Gate Background
In Oregon, tide gates and associated infrastructure like levees and dikes are commonly used to control water in tidally influenced areas along the coast and lower portions of the Columbia River. A well-designed and managed tide gate strikes the delicate balance of protecting developed land from tidal inundation while managing tidal flows to allow migration of native fish, and maintain water quality and ecological function in the estuary. If tide gates, associated levees, and other infrastructures fail, roads, businesses homes, and agricultural lands become more vulnerable to flooding and intense winter storms. Areas once managed by tide gates are at risk of becoming un-managed wetlands.
The challenge of replacing tide gates is one of cost, limited replacement options, permitting and funding. Because of the large public benefits this infrastructure provides, over the last year, a group of agriculture and conservation organizations, state and federal agencies have begun discussions to address the growing challenge of fixing aging tide gates and associated infrastructure in coastal Oregon.
In 2011 the Lower Nehalem Watershed Council` began its long journey to replace the tide gate at McDonald Slough. The now completed tide gate has a muted tide regulator which enables the gate to be open for longer periods of time, allowing for fish access to important habitat.